(Football news) The distance between the Estadi Olímpic and Estadi Montilivi is approximately 100km and it takes less than 40 minutes on train to travel from Barcelona to Girona. Hence, it is anything but surprising that several players have played for both FC Barcelona and Girona FC over the years. When the two Catalan sides face each other this Sunday, both will have players taking on their former club.
Here, then, comes a look at five of the most interesting footballers who have spent time on the books of both these clubs during their careers.
The talented Girona FC right-back plied his trade at Barça’s La Masia academy before joining Centre d’Esports L’Hospitalet at the age of 13. Two years later, he moved to Girona FC and made his first league start with the seniors in March 2021, when he featured in the starting XI against Albacete Balompié in LALIGA HYPERMOTION.
From that point on, he became an undisputed starter for Girona FC and featured in 36 games in the 2021/22 season to help his team secure promotion to LALIGA EA SPORTS, before catching the eye with his performances in the top flight. Arnau has revealed that, as well as being a former La Masia academy player, he grew up as a supporter of Barça and even used to be a Spotify Camp Nou regular in the past.
Another La Masia product, Romeu joined FC Barcelona’s academy from city rivals RCD Espanyol as a teenager. He debuted with Barça Atlètic, the B team, in 2008/09 and made his first LALIGA EA SPORTS appearance with FC Barcelona in May 2011 under Pep Guardiola. Just a few months later, Romeu joined Chelsea before making a short-lived return to Spain to feature on loan at Valencia CF in 2013/14. Following another one-season loan spell at Stuttgart, Romeu signed for Southampton, where he even wore the captain’s armband, making more than 250 appearances for the English side.
In the summer of 2022, he returned to Spain to become the anchor of the midfield for coach Míchel at Girona FC. His performances were so good that FC Barcelona decided to move for their academy graduate in summer 2023, and he has added experience to Xavi’s midfield.
Currently featuring for Danish side Lyngby, Muniesa made first-team appearances at both FC Barcelona and Girona FC in the past. The Catalan defender came through La Masia and made his official debut for Barça under Guardiola at the age of 17 in a LALIGA EA SPORTS game against CA Osasuna in May 2009. After featuring in just one more game with the seniors over the next four years, he departed FC Barcelona to join Stoke City.
There, he played double-digit games in each of his four seasons at the club before joining Girona FC in the summer of 2017. After featuring in LALIGA EA SPORTS for two seasons, he couldn’t help the team avoid relegation and departed to Qatar in 2019.
Eric García is one of two players in the current Girona FC squad who are on loan from FC Barcelona for the 2023/24 campaign. The 22-year-old centre-back has been a key edition for Los Blanquivermells, as he can defend with intelligence and bring the ball out from the back when his team has possession. García learned these skills in the academies of FC Barcelona and Manchester City, emerging into senior football with the English side before returning to the Catalan club in 2021. He has a bright future ahead of him and is expected to return to Barça following his loan deal.
The other player on loan at Girona FC from FC Barcelona is Pablo Torre, a 20-year-old attacking midfielder who is still learning and developing. Torre signed with FC Barcelona in the summer of 2022 but had limited playing time during his first season in Catalonia. Therefore, it was decided that he should spend the 2023/24 campaign out on loan and there were few better landing spots than Girona FC.