FC Barcelona

Barça fans

FC Barcelona is one of the most powerful and best supported clubs in world sport. Renowned for its hugely successful football team, the club also boasts prize-winning squads in other sports including basketball, ice hockey and handball. However it is in football that Barça excels, with the attacking flair of its teams, past and present, winning fans from all around the globe. FC Barcelona play their home matches at the Camp Nou; an imperious fortress that seats almost 99,000 spectators

Closely connected with Catalan identity, Barça’s current slogan is more than a club (més que un club); a slogan which relates to the team’s importance, not just as a sporting organisation, but as a regional institution.

Founded in 1899 by Swiss sports pioneer Hans Gamper, Barça was, initially, a very international team made up of players from Spain, Switzerland and England. Gamper became a defining figure in Barça’s history. After naming himself Club President, he led the blaugranes (‘blue and reds’, named for the team’s strip) to their first Spanish trophy – the King’s Cup (Copa del Rey) – in 1910. Gamper, who later changed his name to Joan (a typical Catalan name) was also instrumental in constructing Barcelona’s first major stadium, a 60,000-capacity ground in the Les Corts neighbourhood.

However the Swiss born sports enthusiast would not be at the helm to witness Barça’s first Spanish League title in 1929, having stepped down a year earlier. In 1930, following several bouts of depression, Joan Gamper committed suicide. It is thought his problems stemmed from various personal and monetary issues.

Following Gamper’s tragic demise, the soaring development of the club halted; Barça won only one league title throughout the Thirties. The Spanish Civil War saw Barça’s then president, Josep Sunyol, murdered by Fascists in 1937 and after Franco’s victory, the club was forced to change its name to the Spanish Fútbol Club de Barcelona. It was a bleak time for both Barça and Catalunya.

Nevertheless repression only ignited the club’s determination to succeed. The signature of Slovak superstar László Kubala in the Fifties sparked a return to form for the blaugranes and he led them to an astonishing five trophies in 1952. Moreover, 1957 saw the opening of Barcelona’s new stadium, the Camp Nou. Not only was it the most impressive stadium in European football, but it became a place where the people of Catalunya could speak their native Catalan language, which had been outlawed by Franco.

The Seventies saw the arrival of one Johann Cruyff to the Camp Nou. Cruyff dazzled fans from Terrassa to Tarragona with his skill, and brought home Barça’s first Spanish league title in 14 years. Cruyff later returned to manage Barcelona, bringing long awaited European glory to his adopted city in 1994. His reign is the most lauded in Barça’s history having developed players such as current boss Josep Guardiola and winning four straight league titles between 1991 and 1994. However it was securing Barcelona’s maiden European Cup that cemented his place in Catalan folklore.

Recent years have seen Barça clinch the European Cup for a second time in 2006 under the guidance of Dutchman Frank Rijaard, and in 2009 the team won a historic triple: the King’s Cup (Spanish national cup), the Spanish League and the Champions League.

As the last remaining teams get ready to battle it out in the Women’s World Cup final in France this Sunday, interest in "futbol femení" is growing, and a company run by Barcelona expats is offering women new opportunities to get a game. Read more



El Camp Nou. Photo by Ayman.antar7 (Wikimedia).

After crashing out of the Champions League and Copa del Rey in quick succession, questions about the soul, identity and future of FC Barcelona are likely to linger over the summer. Read more



© Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Rijksfotoarchief

Outside Camp Nou, a towering bronze statue stands in honour of one of FC Barcelona's greatest players, Ladislau Kubala. Read more


FC Barcelona are crowned champions of La Liga after winning their final match of the season. Read more

In the City

The city pays its respects to Johan Cruyff, the Dutch footballing great who died last week. Read more

In the City

It has definitely been a summer of change at Barça. First they welcomed back an old face in Luis Enrique as the new manager replacing Gerardo Martino, who had already left the club at the start of the summer. Read more


How Irish footballer Paddy O'Connell kept FC Barcelona going through the Spanish Civil War. Read more


Leo Messi

Courtesy FC Barcelona

How would FC Barcelona Bonds trade in the financial markets?

Lluis Consul investigates Barça's investment power Read more

Apr 25, 2013 2:10 PM Guest blogger

The future of Barça in an independent Catalunya. Read more


With La Liga in full swing, Rupert Crookenden gives an insight into one of the greatest sporting rivalries of all time: Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona Read more


Between September and November, there are a whole host of cultural and gastronomic happenings that make this a great time to be in the city. Read more


Camp Nou Stadium and Museum Tour

Explore Europe's largest football stadium and enjoy the history of one of the continent's most decorated football teams, FC Barcelona Read more


Pep Guardiola

Courtesy FC Barcelona

No more Pep talks - Guardiola to step down as Barcelona manager

In today's press conference, Pep Guardiola announced his intentions to leave Barcelona at the end of the season, citing the need to "recharge his batteries." Assistant manager, Tito Vilanova will succeed his tenure. Read more

Apr 27, 2012 4:59 PM Team Talk - sports blog 1 Comments

Barcelona crash out of Europe as Chelsea stage heroic comeback

Barcelona were eliminated from the Champions League semi-final stage last night as 10-man Chelsea recovered from 2-0 down to snatch dramatic 2-2 draw with Lionel Messi missing a vital second-half penalty Read more

Apr 26, 2012 11:27 AM Team Talk - sports blog

Real Madrid close in on La Liga title after Camp Nou victory

Goals from Sami Khedira and Cristiano Ronaldo either side of an Alexis Sanchez equaliser condemned Barcelona to a 2-1 home defeat to their arch-rivals, opening up a seven point gap with four games to play Read more

Apr 22, 2012 9:53 PM Team Talk - sports blog

Barcelona feeling the blues as Chelsea claim invaluable first-leg victory

Despite dominating the game, Pep Guardiola's side suffered a 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge to put their Champions League final hopes in jeopardy Read more

Apr 19, 2012 11:01 PM Team Talk - sports blog

Leo Messi

Courtesy FC Barcelona

Making a Messi of the record books

An eighth hatrick of the season for Lionel Messi against Granada took him above Cesar Rodriguez in Barcelona's all-time goalscoring charts with an astounding 234 goals in under eight seasons with the club Read more

Mar 21, 2012 5:58 PM Team Talk - sports blog 1 Comments

Barcelona News: Monday 19th March

Generalitat studying "point by point" the demands of investor in 'Las Vegas Sands' development - Kings calls on South American countries to advance with Spain - Thousands of people take part in flashmob supporting Catalan independence Read more


Barcelona News: Thursday 1st March

Violent protests on the streets of Barcelona and Valencia - Biggest global mobile conference to date comes to an end - Catalan Socialists present new financial model for the region Read more


Messi on fire as Barcelona thump Valencia 5-1

Lionel Messi scored four goals and set up another as Barcelona thrashed third-place Valencia 5-1 at the Camp Nou Read more

Feb 20, 2012 4:33 PM Team Talk - sports blog

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