FC Barcelona, one of the best clubs in the world
FC Barcelona has converted into one of the most important sport clubs in the world. Discover the history of a legendary club, with a track record bursting with victories and iconic figures in the sports world.
The creation of the FC Barcelona
In the late nineteenth century, Barcelona, swept up in a process of industrialisation and unprecedented urban growth, experienced a boom in sporting activity, particularly amongst its more affluent classes.
In 1899 a student, Hans Gamper, led by his passion for football, decided to create a club in order to organize matches on a regular basis. After obtaining the support of a large gym and making an appeal through the local sports press, Gamper was able to bring together the people that formed part of the original nucleus of FC Barcelona. The club gradually established itself as one of the main reference models of the nascent Barcelonan sporting world.
The initial period of FC Barcelona was marked by the constant search for a football pitch that would suit their needs. The site of a former velodrome provided the stage for the first matches held by the club, and after using other sites, in 1909 the team opened its own stadium on Carrer Indústria, where it played until 1922.
From the inauguration of the football pitch in 1909, the team began to score victories in the main official competitions of the time, while simultaneously attracting a rising number of followers, a fact that forced the club to change stadium once again in the year 1922. The club’s decision allowed to boost this growth even further. However, the effects of the economic recession originating from the stock market crash of 1929, accompanied by competition from other forms of entertainment were key factors in the decline in the number of club members.
With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and the establishment three years later of the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, FC Barcelona underwent a very dark period that was marked by uncertainty and economic hardship. However, the club showed its ability to cope with adversity and managed to bounce back in the forties, showing its institutional strength and its strong links with Barcelonan society.
After leaving behind the darkest period of the Spanish Civil War and gaining momentum in the late forties with the celebration of its fiftieth anniversary, FC Barcelona took a historic leap in 1950 with the adquisition of Hungarian striker László Kubala. The footballer revolutionized how the team played and contributed decisively to a second golden age that was to reach its peak in the 1951-52 season, where FC Barcelona won all the competitions it participated in.
Kubala and his companions became a legend in the 1951-52 season, when in addition to La Liga and the Spanish Cup, they won the Latin Cup and the trophies Eva Duarte and Martini Rossi, a track record that served to reaffirm the hegemony of FC Barcelona.
In the 1991-92 season, the Dream Team delighted FC Barcelona supporters by winning their first European Cup in club history after beating UC Sampdoria in the final of the tournament. “We’ve had a thorn in the flesh for many years and we’ve finally removed it”, declared Johan Cruyff about the triumph.
In 2009 FC Barcelona changed the history of football by winning six oficial competitions: la Liga, the Champions League, the Spanish Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup, the European Super Cup and the Spanish Super Cup. The team coached by Guardiola reaffirmed its hegemonic position in the 2010-11 season when, in addition to achieving its third consecutive Spanish League and Super Cup of Spain, it reconquered the Champions League.
The Barça coaches and players
Throughout its long history the Barça squad has been comprised of some of the greatest figures in football and well respected coaches. Since the arrival of the iconic Josep Samitier –first as a player and years later as a trainer– it was László Kubala who was the protagonist of the most memorable victories of the club in the 1950’s.
With the traumatic defeat against Benfica of Lisbon in the final of the European Cup of 1961, FC Barcelona concluded the fabulous golden period in sport begun a decade earlier with the addition of Kubala. It was in 1973 with the arrival of Johan Cruyff, one of the best footballers of all time, when there was new optimism in FC Barcelona.
In the eighties FC Barcelona significantly increased its patrimony and membership. Thus, in 1979, La Masia was inaugurated, a residence built and designed for the new young sporting hopes of Barcelona; in 1982 (the year in which the club exceeded a figure of 100,000 members) Camp Nou’s seating capacity was expanded and, in 1984, the Museum was inaugurated, which was testimony of the long history of the FC Barcelona institution.
The club’s good economic situation led to the signing of some of the period’s most sought after football players on the market, which contributed decisively to consolidating the international projection of the team. Figures such as Diego Armando Maradona, Allan Simonsen and Bernd Schuster made the Blaugrana team shine.
In 1988, FC Barcelona was at a critical moment. Supporters had stopped filling the stands of Camp Nou stadium, disappointed with the poor performance of a team that for a long time seemed to have no clear direction, while its players rebelled against the directive due to economic issues. Aware that his position at the club’s helm was at stake, a few months prior to new elections its president Josep Lluís Núñez carried out a surprising manoeuvre in order to remedy the situation: the signing of Johan Cruyff as coach.
In addition to thoroughly reshaping the team, he proposed introducing a new technique based on ball control and attacking play. This new system also had to be adopted by the lower ranks of the football club in order that new generations could rapidly adapt to the style of play employed by the first team players. Henceforth, FC Barcelona became a veritable football school with its own distinctive playing style.
Cruyff was responsible for shaping the so-called Dream Team, a legendary team that skilfully managed to string together four consecutive league titles and a European Cup with hard work and outstanding football. Hristo Stoichkov, Ronald Koeman, Txiki Begiristain, Michael Laudrup, Jose Mari Bakero and Pep Guardiola were some of the key figures in this Dream Team.
The decline of the Dream Team led to the dismissal in 1996 of their coach Johan Cruyff, who left a huge void behind. FC Barcelona faced numerous changes on a sporting and institutional level, until the arrival of the board of directors headed by Joan Laporta sparked a total overhaul of the entity and the creation of a very competitive squad coached by Frank Rijkaard, with Ronaldinho as its great star.
In the year 2008 FC Barcelona’s board of directors entrusted Pep Guardiola with the task of replacing Frank Rijkaard, who in the last two seasons had gotten rather modest results. Making the most of the potential of a generation of unique football players accompanied by Argentine forward Leo Messi, coach Pep Guardiola guided FC Barcelona in their period of maximum splendor.
With only four seasons with him on the bench, the club won no fewer than fourteen titles, including three Spanish League titles, two Champion Leagues and two Club World Cups. In this sense, the contribution of figures such as Leo Messi (converted into the main reference of Barça on the pitch), Xavi Hernández and Andrés Iniesta proved fundamental to the club’s success. These three footballers trained at Barça’s own football school, La Masia, demonstrated the effectiveness of the sports model applied in the club’s youth categories.
In 2014 Luis Enrique arrived, contracted to instigate a new prosperous period. The success of the team was based from the first season on the spectacular goaling efficiency of the forwards formed by Neymar, Messi and Suárez, considered to be the best line of attack in the history of football.
The book on FC Barcelona, for football fans
This book on FC Barcelona provides a visual tour of the history of the legendary football team, from its origins to the present day. Its most emblematic coaches and players, the triumphs that it has accrued over the years, as well as as fascinating facts about the Barça emblem or the construction of Camp Nou.
The book includes more than 400 pictures, exclusive 3D illustrations, thorough information and match statistics, fascinating facts for FC Barcelona, one of the best football clubs in all time.
The reader can enjoy a full visual guide thanks to this book, published by Dosde in a compact and easy-to-use format. The book completes the collection of football books produced by the publishing house.