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27.06.2007 13:00

Gio leaves behind a successful legacy

Sandra Sarmiento

Giovanni Van Bronckhorst has announced he is leaving Barça after being one of the club’s most regular performers in recent years, and takes with him two League, one Champions league and two Spanish Super Cup medals.

Van Bronckhorst told a press conference a few months ago that if ever he left Barça, it would be to return to his hometown club in Rotterdam, Feyenoord. And as his career now returns to the place it started, he can look back of four very successful years in Catalonia.

Signed in 2003

15-10-03_Van_Bronckhorst_07.jpgGiovanni van Bronckhorst arrived at the Camp Nou at the same time as incoming manager Frank Rijkaard. He had previously starred for RKC Waalwijk, Feyenoord, Glasgow Rangers and Arsenal, and the left back made his debut at San Mamés and went on to appear in 34 games in the 2003-04 season, plus 5 UEFA Cup appearances and 5 in the Cup. He scored his first ever goal for Barça in the local derby with Espanyol, a game his side won 4-1.

First league title

FCB-Betis.jpgThe following 2004-05 season, Sylvinho joined the club, and Gio had serious competition for a first team place. But with the Brazilian injured, Gio seized the opportunity to convince Rijkaard who should be the regular left sided defender in the team.

He played 29 league matches, plus 8 in the Champions league and one in the Copa del Rey. Van Bronckhorst scored five goals that year, the most important against Real Madrid on November 20, as well as a crucial late equaliser against Betis to make it 3-3, and help his side towards the first league title of the Rijkaard era.

Ever present in 2006 Champions League

In the Liga, Gio and Sylvinho competed for a regular place, but the Dutchman played all 13 Champions League matches, only missing 21 minutes of the game with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge through injury. That season he played 14 league games, 13 in Europe and 4 in the Cup, where he scored his only goal of the season against Zamora.

Gio and Zambrotta at the back

24-05-07_WEB_02.jpgThe Italian and the Dutchman were Rijkaard’s preferred full backs last season. They appeared together in 15 matches and were one of the main reasons for the team’s excellent defensive record. In his final season in a Barcelona shirt, Gio played 23 League matches, 6 in the Cup, 4 in the Champions League and was also involved in two Super Cups and the World Clubs Cup in Japan.
Gio leaves behind a successful legacy
Two injuries in 4 years
Giovanni van Bronckhorst has been reasonably lucky with injuries. In his four seasons at Barça, he only suffered two minor injuries. In his first season here he was out for a month with damaged knee ligaments and in the 2005-06 season he had some trouble with his right ankle. In his final season, he has not been troubled by any injuries at all.

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