Football Club Barcelona, commonly known as Barcelona and referred by fans as Barça are undoubtedly one of the biggest football clubs in the world. And, rightly so. Why you ask? Well, very few clubs anywhere in the world have won so many titles.
1991-92, 2005-06, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2014-15
Spanish League Championship(24)
1928-29, 1944-45, 1947-48, 1948-49, 1951-52, 1952-53, 1958-59, 1959-60, 1973-74, 1984-85, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1997-98, 1998-99, 2004-05, 2005-06, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2012-13, 2014-15, 2015-16
1909-10, 1911-12, 1912-13, 1919-20, 1921-22, 1924-25, 1925-26, 1927-28, 1941-42, 1950-51, 1951-52, 1952-53, 1956-57, 1958-59, 1962-63, 1967-68, 1970-71, 1977-78, 1980-81, 1982-83, 1987-88, 1989-90, 1996-97, 1997-98, 2008-09, 2011-12, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17
Spanish Super Cup(12)
1983-84, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1994-95, 1996-97, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2013-14, 2016-17
Spanish League Cup(2)
FIFA Club World Cup(3)
2009-10, 2011-12, 2015-16
European Cup Winners’ Cup(4)
1978-79, 1981-82, 1988-89, 1996-97
1957-58, 1959-60, 1965-66 (won outright in 1971)
European Super Cup(5)
1992-93, 1997-98, 2009-10, 2011-12, 2015-16
The list keeps on going forever if their Catalan League Championship and the Catalan Cup stretching back to 1920s are to be included. But, the club’s greatest joy and pride remain the five Champions League victories won in Wembly(1992,2011), Paris(2006), Rome(2009), Berlin(2015).
All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing fan base they have all over the world with millions of them worshipping the club as a way of life. Camp Nou(Barca’s home stadium, capacity:99,354). will always be jam packed with thousands of fans singing and chanting in the honour of their beloved club on any given match day.
Check out one of their chants below:
This is one of the most popular chants the club has. The lyrics state how great it is to be a part of FC Barcelona.
Ole-le, Ola-la, ser del Barça és el millor que hi ha!
Ole-le, Ola-la, being a Barça fan is the best (thing) there is!
Turnover of the club stands at a staggering €648.3 million (£557.1 million or $793.2 million) as of Jan 23, 2018. As they say, with money comes power. And, when you combine money plus power, you attract the absolute best. Evident to that, Barca have always had a tremendous amount of football’s greatest stars in their squad over the years with the likes of Johan Cryuff, Romario and Ronaldinho to Xavi, Andrés Iniesta and Lionel Messi in the modern era.
Such is the magnitude and the stature of the club. Despite all this, the club’s monumental rise as a football superpower is due to the footballing culture stemming from Catalina, northeastern Spain in the form of La Masia(Barca’s Youth academy). The brand of beautiful and swashbuckling football played by them which is a sight to behold for any football lover is all thanks to their academy. This academy holds more than 300 young players, and has been praised since 2002 as one of the best in the world, producing the brightest stars of football such as Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol and of course the man himself, Lionel Messi. The academy was a significant factor in FC Barcelona’s European success as well as the Spanish national team’s success at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and the 2008, 2012 European Championships.
Rivalry with Real Madrid
When you’re set out on a path to conquer the world, you’re bound stumble upon the ones who are set out to do the same. So it is with FC Barcelona and Real Madrid Club de Fútbol. As big as Barcelona are, Real Madrid are equally big if not more. Both the clubs hailing from Spain have been eternal rivals ever since their discovery. The clash between the two top tier heavyweights is deemed as El Clásico, meaning “The Classic”.
The rivalry comes about as Madrid and Barcelona are the two largest cities in Spain, the rivalry is regarded as one of the biggest in world sport. The two clubs are among the richest and most successful football clubs in the world; in 2014 Forbes ranked them the world’s two most valuable sports teams. Both clubs have a global fan base and are the world’s two most followed sports teams on social media. Though the clash promises exciting and nerve wreaking moments for either of the fans, it has had its share of boiling tempers, fights of disgraceful nature involving fans as well as players.
Yet, the clash has never failed to deliver with fans always tuning in to watch this specific battle between two powerhouses every time they meet. Few years ago, it attracted 400 million viewers(according to Financial Sports), now it has climbed to 650 million and one US-based broadcaster even claimed that 1 billion people watch worldwide.
The Success Ladder
There exists a fine line between building a successful football club and becoming the best there is. Yes, an injection of money is definitely required for constructing anything and everything in the football world. But, that is not all. More than money, you need stability. And, that is where Barca’s strength lies. In a time where managers are getting sacked by the minute, Barca have always stuck by their managers looking into the recent history books. It has proved to be shewed and an acute vision when you look at the amount of success they’ve tasted over the years.
Joan Gamper was the first ever manager of FC Barcelona. He took in charge of the club from 1902 to 1917. In his reign of 15 years, Barca won 3 Copa del Rey, 1 Copa Macaya, 1 Copa Barcelona and 7 Campionat de Catalunya. John Barrow was the second person that took over the club in a disappointing trophy less spell that didn’t last long. Barca then looked towards Jack Greenwell. He lasted for six years(1917-1923) having led Barca to six trophies(2 Copa del Rey, 4 Campionat de Catalunya). Even though Barca were successful with their fair share of managers from England, Italy and dutch, they have resorted to only Spanish managers since more than a decade now. Frank Rijkaard(Dutch) was the last manager outside Spain to manage Barcelona.
The Rijkaard(2003-2008) era began in the summer of 2003, replacing Radomir Antic. FC Barcelona became world renowned and was headed towards becoming a European giant under Rijkaard.
The club had four barren seasons before Rijkaard took over. He helped barca lift 2 La Liga, 2 Supercopa de España and 1 UEFA Champions League. In spite of the success under Rijkaard. On 8 May 2008 the club announced a change of coach: Frank Rijkaard was to be replaced by Josep Guardiola; if only the world knew what a fairy tale it would turn out to be.
Guardiola was the mastermind of a transcending change. Under his tactical approach, Barcelona became the most feared side in the entire world. He implemented a system widely know as Tiki-taka( a style of play in football characterised by short passing and movement, working the ball through various channels, and maintaining possession). The football masterclass they produced with Tiki-taka approach week in week out was truly astounding and unparalleled. Here’s a glimpse:
In Guardiola’s very first season, the team went on an undefeated streak for over 20 matches to move to the top of the league. Barça maintained their spot atop La Liga’s table, securing their first league title since 2006 when rivals Real Madrid lost at Villarreal on 16 May 2009. The most important match, however, was on 2 May when they defeated Real Madrid 6–2 at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium(Real madrid’s home stadium). The catalysts of making this system work were three players, Xavi, Iniesta and Messi. Guardiola, also known as the philosopher, left Barcelona in June 2012 after four successful years. Winning a startling fourteen trophies with the club.
Barcelona appointed Tito Vilanova as the successor of Josep Guardiola, but it didn’t bring them much success. On 19 December 2012, Barcelona announced that Vilanova was suffering from parotid gland cancer for the second time. Tito then resigned from the managerial position citing health as the reason. Gerardo Martino was the next person in line to take over. But, he resigned after only a year since taking over in a trophy less season.
The next person to try his mettle was Luis Enrique. Under Enrique, the Barca dominance emerged breaking through the shackles of the past two years. He went onto lift an astounding nine trophies(2 La Liga, 3 Copa del Rey, 1 Supercopa de España, 1 UEFA Champions League, 1 UEFA Super Cup, 1 FIFA Club World Cup) in his spell of three years.
Fast forward to now, Ernesto Valverde is the current manager of Barcelona after taking over from Enrique in may 2017. Can Valverde continue the successful barca legacy or will someone else dethrone him? Only time will tell. But, Barca are presently on a record 27 games unbeaten streak this season in the league. Well, judging by that, the pointer of success is looking at only one direction.