FC Barcelona

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Full nameFutbol Club Barcelona
Nickname(s)Barça or Blaugrana (team)
Culés or Barcelonistas (supporters)
Blaugranes or Azulgranas (supporters)
Founded29 November 1899; 114 years ago (1899-11-29)
as Foot-Ball Club Barcelona
GroundCamp Nou
Ground Capacity99,786
PresidentJosep Maria Bartomeu
Head CoachGerardo Martino
LeagueLa Liga
2012–13La Liga, 1st
WebsiteClub home page
Home colours
Away colours
Third colours
Current season
Jump to: navigation, search
Full nameFutbol Club Barcelona
Nickname(s)Barça or Blaugrana (team)
Culés or Barcelonistas (supporters)
Blaugranes or Azulgranas (supporters)
Founded29 November 1899; 114 years ago (1899-11-29)
as Foot-Ball Club Barcelona
GroundCamp Nou
Ground Capacity99,786
PresidentJosep Maria Bartomeu
Head CoachGerardo Martino
LeagueLa Liga
2012–13La Liga, 1st
WebsiteClub home page
Home colours
Away colours
Third colours
Current season
Active departments of FC Barcelona
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Rugby unionRugby leagueHandball

Futbol Club Barcelona (Catalan pronunciation: [fubˈbɔɫ ˈkɫub bərsəˈɫonə] ( )), also known as Barcelona and familiarly as Barça,[1] is a professional football club, based in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Founded in 1899 by a group of Swiss, English and Catalan footballers led by Joan Gamper, the club has become a symbol of Catalan culture and Catalanism, hence the motto "Més que un club" (More than a club). Unlike many other football clubs, the supporters own and operate Barcelona. It is the world's second-richest football club in terms of revenue, with an annual turnover of $613 million, and the third most valuable sports team on the globe, worth $2.6 billion.[2][3] The official Barcelona anthem is the "Cant del Barça", written by Jaume Picas and Josep Maria Espinàs.[4]

Barcelona is the most successful club in Spain, in terms of overall official titles won (84). Barcelona was ranked first in the 'All-Time Club World Ranking' by IFFHS, on 31 December 2009,[5] and is also currently placed on top of the UEFA club rankings.[6] It is the current Spanish football champion and has won 22 La Liga, 26 Copa del Rey, 11 Supercopa de España, 3 Copa Eva Duarte[7] and 2 Copa de la Liga trophies, as well as being the record holder for the latter four competitions. In international club football, Barcelona has won four UEFA Champions League, a record four UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, four UEFA Super Cup, a record three Inter-Cities Fairs Cup[8] and a record two FIFA Club World Cup trophies.[9] The club has a long-standing rivalry with Real Madrid; matches between the two teams are referred to as "El Clásico".

Barcelona is one of the most supported teams in the world, and has the largest fan base among all sports teams on all major social networks.[10][11] Barça's players have won a record number of Ballon d'Or awards (10), as well as a record number of FIFA World Player of the Year awards (7). In 2010, the club created history when three players who came through its youth academy (Messi, Iniesta & Xavi) were chosen as the three best players in the world, having bagged the top spots at the FIFA Ballon d'Or, an unprecedented feat for players from the same football school.

Barcelona was one of the founding members of La Liga, and is one of three clubs which have never been relegated from the top division, along with Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid. In 2009, Barcelona became the first Spanish club to win the continental treble consisting of La Liga, Copa del Rey, and the Champions League. That same year, it also became the first football club ever to win six out of six competitions in a calendar year, thus completing the sextuple in two seasons, comprising the aforementioned treble and the Spanish Super Cup, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.[12] In 2011, the Blaugrana again became European champions and won a total of 5 titles, missing out only on the Copa del Rey (in which they finished runners-up). This team, which reached 4 consecutive Champions League semi-finals and racked up 14 trophies in 4 years under Guardiola's charge, is considered by a few managers, players and experts to be one of the great team of all time.[13][14][15]


Birth of FC Barcelona (1899–1922)

Sports Notice: Our friend and companion Hans Gamper ... former Swiss [football] champion, being keen on organising some football games in the city asks anyone who feels enthusiastic enough about the sport to present themselves at the office of this newspaper any Tuesday or Friday evening between the hours of 9 and 11 pm.

Gamper's advertisement in Los Deportes[16]

On 22 October 1899, Hans Kamper placed an advertisement in Los Deportes declaring his wish to form a football club; a positive response resulted in a meeting at the Gimnasio Solé on 29 November. Eleven players attended—Walter Wild (the first director of the club), Lluís d'Ossó, Bartomeu Terradas, Otto Kunzle, Otto Maier, Enric Ducal, Pere Cabot, Carles Pujol, Josep Llobet, John Parsons, and William Parsons—and Foot-Ball Club Barcelona was born.[16]

A formation of FC Barcelona in 1903

FC Barcelona had a successful start in regional and national cups, competing in the Campionat de Catalunya and the Copa del Rey. In 1902, the club won its first trophy, the Copa Macaya, and participated in the first Copa del Rey, losing 1–2 to Bizcaya in the final.[17] Kamper—now known as Joan Gamper—became club president in 1908, finding the club in financial difficulty after not winning a competition since the Campionat de Catalunya in 1905. Club president on five separate occasions between 1908 and 1925, he spent 25 years in total at the helm. One of his main achievements was ensuring Barça acquire its own stadium and thus generate a stable income.[18]

On 14 March 1909, the team moved into the Camp de la Indústria, a larger stadium with a seating capacity of 8,000 people. From 1910 to 1914 Barcelona participated in the Pyrenees Cup, which consisted of the best teams of Languedoc, Midi, Aquitaine (Southern France), the Basque Country, and Catalonia. At that time it was considered the finest competition open for participation.[19][20] During the same period, the club changed its official language from Castilian to Catalan and gradually evolved into an important symbol of Catalan identity. For many fans, supporting the club had less to do with the game itself and more with being a part of the club's collective identity.[21]

Gamper launched a campaign to recruit more club members, and by 1922 the club had over 20,000 members and was able to finance a new stadium. The club to moved to the new Les Corts, inaugurated the same year.[22] Les Corts had an initial capacity of 22,000, which was later expanded to 60,000.[23] Jack Greenwell was recruited as the first full-time manager, and the club's fortunes began to improve on the field. During the Gamper era, FC Barcelona won eleven Campionat de Catalunya, six Copas del Rey, and four Pyrenees Cups.[17][18]

Rivera, Republic and Civil War (1923–1957)

Black-and-white photo of the city from high above. Smoke from a bomb can be seen
The aerial bombardment of Barcelona in 1938

On 14 June 1925, the crowd in the stadium jeered the Spanish national anthem and then gave ovation to God Save the King in a spontaneous protest against Miguel Primo de Rivera's dictatorship. The ground was closed for six months as a reprisal, and Gamper was forced to relinquish the club presidency.[24] This coincided with the club's transition to professionalism; in 1926 the directors of Barcelona publicly declared Barcelona a professional side for the first time.[22] The club's 1928 victory in the Spanish Cup was celebrated with a poem titled "Oda a Platko", written by a member of the Generation of '27, poet Rafael Alberti, who was inspired by the "heroic performance" of the Barcelona keeper.[25] On 30 July 1930, Gamper committed suicide after a period of depression brought on by personal and financial problems.[18]

Although they continued to have players of the standing of Josep Escolà, the club entered a period of decline in which political conflict overshadowed sport throughout society.[26] Although the team won the Campionat de Catalunya in 1930, 1931, 1932, 1934, 1936, and 1938,[17] success at a national level (with the exception of a disputed title in 1937) evaded them. A month after the Spanish Civil War began in 1936, several players from Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao enlisted in the ranks of those who fought against the military uprising.[27] On 6 August, Josep Sunyol, the club president and representative of a pro-independence political party, was murdered by Falangist soldiers near Guadarrama.[28] Dubbed the martyrdom of barcelonisme, the murder was a defining moment in the history of FC Barcelona.[29] In the summer of 1937, the squad went on tour in Mexico and the United States, where it was received as an ambassador of the Second Spanish Republic. That tour secured the club financially, but also resulted in half the team seeking asylum in Mexico and France. On 16 March 1938, Barcelona came under aerial bombardment, resulting in over 3,000 deaths; one of the bombs hit the club's offices.[30] Catalonia came under occupation a few months later. As a symbol of 'undisciplined' Catalanism, the club, down to just 3,486 members, faced a number of restrictions.[31] After the Civil War, the Catalan flag was banned and football clubs were prohibited from using non-Spanish names. These measures forced the club to change its name to Club de Fútbol Barcelona and to remove the Catalan flag from its club shield.[23]

In 1943, Barcelona faced rivals Real Madrid in the semi-finals of Copa del Generalísimo. Their first match at Les Corts was won by Barcelona 3–0. Before the second leg, Barcelona's players had a changing room visit from Franco's director of state security. He "reminded" them that they were only playing due to the "generosity of the regime". Real Madrid dominated the match, winning 11–1.[32] Despite the difficult political situation, CF Barcelona enjoyed considerable success during the 1940s and 1950s. In 1945, with Josep Samitier as managers and players like César, Ramallets, and Velasco, they won La Liga for the first time since 1929. They added to this total in 1948 and again in 1949. They also won the first Copa Latina that year. In June 1950, Barcelona signed Ladislao Kubala, who was to be an influential figure at the club.

On a rainy Sunday in 1951, the crowd left Les Corts stadium after a 2–1 win against Santander on foot, refusing to catch any trams and surprising the Francoist authorities. A tram strike was taking place in Barcelona, which received the support of blaugrana fans. Events such as this made the club represent much more than just Catalonia; many progressive Spaniards saw the club as a staunch defender of rights and freedoms.[33][34]

Managers Ferdinand Daučík and László Kubala led the team to five different trophies including La Liga, the Copa del Generalísimo (now the Copa del Rey), the Copa Latina, the Copa Eva Duarte, and the Copa Martini Rossi in 1952. In 1953, the club won La Liga and the Copa del Generalísimo again.[23]

Club de Fútbol Barcelona (1957–1978)

Barcelona against Hamburg in 1961

With Helenio Herrera as manager, a young Luis Suárez, the European Footballer of the Year in 1960, and two influential Hungarians recommended by Kubala, Sándor Kocsis and Zoltán Czibor, the team won another national double in 1959 and a La Liga and Inter-Cities Fairs Cup double in 1960. In 1961 they became the first club to beat Real Madrid in European Cup competition, but lost 3–2 to Benfica in the final.[35][36][37]

The 1960s were less successful for the club, with Real Madrid monopolising La Liga. The building of the Camp Nou, completed in 1957, meant the club had little money to spend on new players.[37] On the positive side, the decade saw the emergence of Josep Maria Fusté and Carles Rexach, and the club won the Copa del Generalísimo in 1963 and the Fairs Cup in 1966. Barça restored some of its former pride by beating Real Madrid 1–0 in the 1968 Copa del Generalísimo final at the Bernabéu, in front of Franco, with former republican pilot Salvador Artigas as manager. The end of Franco's dictatorship in 1974 saw the club changing its official name back to Futbol Club Barcelona and reverting the crest to its original design, again including the original letters.[38]

The 1973–74 season saw the arrival of Johan Cruyff, who was bought for a world record £920,000 from Ajax.[39] Already an established player in the Netherlands, Cruyff quickly won over the Barça fans when he told the European press he chose Barça over Real Madrid because he could not play for a club associated with Franco. He further endeared himself when he chose the Catalan name Jordi, after the local saint, for his son.[40] Next to players of quality like Juan Manuel Asensi, Carles Rexach, and Hugo Sotil, he helped the club win the La Liga title in 1973–74 for the first time since 1960,[17] defeating Real Madrid 5–0 at the Bernabéu along the way.[41] He was crowned European Footballer of the Year in 1973 during his first season with Barcelona (his second Ballon d'Or win; he won his first while playing for Ajax in 1971). Cruyff received this prestigious award a third time (the first player ever to do so) in 1974 while he was still with Barcelona.[42]

Núñez and the stabilisation years (1978–2000)

Beginning with Josep Lluís Núñez in 1978, the president of FC Barcelona has been elected by the club members. This decision was closely tied to Spain's transition to democracy in 1974 and the end of Franco's dictatorship. Núñez's main objective was to develop Barça into a world-class club by giving it stability both on and off the pitch. On recommendation from Cruyff, Núñez inaugurated La Masia as Barcelona's youth academy on 20 October 1979.[43] His presidency was to last for 22 years and it deeply affected the image of Barcelona, as Núñez held to a strict policy regarding wages and discipline, letting players such as Diego Maradona, Romário and Ronaldo go rather than meeting their demands.[44][45]

On 16 May 1979, the club won its first UEFA Cup Winners' Cup by beating Fortuna Düsseldorf 4–3 in Basel in a final that was watched by more than 30,000 travelling blaugrana fans. In June 1982 Maradona was signed for a then-world record fee of £5 million from Boca Juniors.[46] In the following season, under manager Menotti, Barcelona won the Copa del Rey, beating Real Madrid. Maradona's time with Barça was short-lived; he soon left for Napoli. At the start of the 1984–85 season Terry Venables was hired as manager, and he won La Liga with notable displays by German midfielder Bernd Schuster. The next season Venables took the team to their second European Cup final, only to lose on penalties to Steaua Bucureşti during a dramatic evening in Seville.[44]

After the 1986 FIFA World Cup, English top scorer Gary Lineker was signed along with goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta, but the team could not achieve success as Schuster was excluded from the team. Venables was fired at the beginning of the 1987–88 season and replaced with Luis Aragonés. The players rebelled against president Núñez in an event that became known as the Hesperia mutiny, and ended the season with a 1–0 victory in the Copa del Rey final against Real Sociedad.[44]

Dream Team

Johan Cruyff won four consecutive La Liga titles as manager of Barcelona

In 1988, Johan Cruyff returned to the club as manager and he assembled the so-called Dream Team. He used a mix of Spanish players like Pep Guardiola, José Mari Bakero, and Txiki Begiristain while signing international stars such as Ronald Koeman, Michael Laudrup, Romário, and Hristo Stoichkov.[47] Under his guidance, Barcelona won four consecutive La Liga titles from 1991 to 1994. They beat Sampdoria in both the 1989 Cup Winners' Cup final and the 1992 European Cup final at Wembley. They also won a Copa del Rey in 1990, the European Super Cup in 1992, and three Supercopa de España. With 11 trophies, Cruyff became the club's most successful manager, until being overtaken by Guardiola in 2011.[48] He also became the club's longest consecutive serving manager, serving 8 years.[49] Cruyff's fortune changed in his final two seasons, when he failed to win any trophies and fell out with president Núñez, resulting in his departure.[44]

Cruyff was briefly replaced by Bobby Robson, who took charge of the club for a single season in 1996–97. The club signed Ronaldo and delivered a cup treble, winning the Copa del Rey, Cup Winners' Cup, and the Supercopa de España, and finished runner-up in La Liga by two points. Despite his success Robson was only ever seen as a short-term solution while the club waited for Louis van Gaal to become available.[50] Barça won the UEFA Super Cup against Borussia Dortmund and won a Copa del Rey and La Liga double in 1998. In 1999, the club celebrated its 'centenari', winning the Primera División title. Rivaldo became the fourth Barça player to be awarded European Footballer of the Year. Despite this domestic success, the failure to extend that success to the Champions League led to Van Gaal and Núñez resigning in 2000.[50]

Exit Núñez, enter Laporta (2000–2008)

Plaque commemorating the 100 years of FC Barcelona (1899–1999)

The departures of Núñez and van Gaal were nothing compared to that of Luís Figo. As well as club vice-captain, Figo had become a cult hero and was considered by Catalans to be one of their own. Barça fans were distraught by Figo's decision to join arch-rivals Real Madrid, and during subsequent visits to the Camp Nou, he was given an extremely hostile reception. Upon his first return a piglet's head and a full bottle of whiskey were thrown at him from the crowd.[51] President Núñez was replaced by Joan Gaspart in 2000, and the three years he was in charge saw the club decline and managers came and went; van Gaal served a second term. Gaspart did not inspire confidence off the field either and in 2003, he and van Gaal resigned.[52]

Ronaldinho, 2005 Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player

After the disappointment of the Gaspart era, the club bounced back with the combination of a new young president, Joan Laporta, and a young new manager, former Dutch player Frank Rijkaard. On the field, an influx of international players combined with home-grown Spanish players led to the club's return to success. Barça won La Liga and the Supercopa de España in 2004–05, and the team's midfielder, Ronaldinho, won the FIFA World Player of the Year award.[53]

In the 2005–06 season, Barcelona repeated their league and Supercup successes.[54] In the Champions League, Barça beat English club Arsenal 2–1 in the final. Trailing 1–0 to a 10-man Arsenal and with less than 15 minutes left, they came back to win 2–1 for the club's first European Cup victory in 14 years.[55]

Despite being the favourites and starting strongly, Barcelona finished the 2006–07 season without trophies apart from the 2006 Supercopa de España victory against local rivals RCD Espanyol. They took part in the 2006 FIFA Club World Cup, but were beaten by a late goal in the final against Brazilian side Internacional.[56] A pre-season US tour and open feud between the player Samuel Eto'o and Rijkaard was later blamed for the lack of trophies.[57][58] In La Liga, Barça were in first place for much of the season, but their inconsistency in the new year caused them to be overtaken by Real Madrid on 12 May 2007; Barça tied Madrid on points but lost the title on head-to-head superiority. In the Champions League, Barça narrowly managed to advance from Group A by winning 2–0 over SV Werder Bremen, but they were eliminated in the round of 16 by 2005 winners Liverpool F.C. on away goals.

The 2007–08 season ended without any titles, as Barça finished third in La Liga and were defeated in the Champions League semi-finals 1–0 by eventual winners Manchester United.

Guardiola era (2008–2012)

FC Barcelona B youth manager Pep Guardiola took over Frank Rijkaard's duties at the conclusion of the season.[59] Guardiola brought with him the now famous tiki-taka style of play he had been taught during his time in the Barcelona youth teams. In the process Guardiola sold Ronaldinho and Deco, and started building the Barcelona team around Xavi, Iniesta and Messi.

Lionel Messi, four-time FIFA/Ballon d'Or winner, in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, and FC Barcelona's top goalscorer in official competitions with 348 goals[60]

Barça beat Athletic Bilbao 4–1 in the 2009 Copa del Rey Final, winning the competition for a record-breaking 25th time. A historic 2–6 victory against Real Madrid followed three days later and ensured that Barcelona became La Liga champions for the 2008–09 season. Barça finished the season by beating the previous year's Champions League winners Manchester United 2–0 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome to win their third Champions League title and completed the first ever treble won by a Spanish side.[61][62][63] The team went on to win the 2009 Supercopa de España against Athletic Bilbao[64] and the 2009 UEFA Super Cup against Shakhtar Donetsk,[65] becoming the first European club to win both domestic and European Super Cups following a treble. In December 2009, Barcelona won the 2009 FIFA Club World Cup,[66] and became the first football club ever to accomplish the sextuple.[67] Barcelona accomplished two new records in Spanish football in 2010 as they retained the La Liga trophy with 99 points and won the Spanish Super Cup trophy for a ninth time.[68][69]

After Laporta's departure from the club in June 2010, Sandro Rosell was soon elected as the new president. The elections were held on 13 June, where he got 61.35% (57,088 votes, a record) of total votes.[70] Rosell signed David Villa from Valencia for €40 million.[71] and Javier Mascherano from Liverpool for €19 million.[72] In November 2010, Barcelona defeated their main rival, Real Madrid 5–0 in El Clásico. In the 2010–11 season, Barcelona retained the La Liga trophy, their third title in succession, finishing with 96 points.[73] In April 2011, the club reached the Copa del Rey final, losing 1–0 to Real Madrid at the Mestalla in Valencia.[74] In May, Barcelona defeated Manchester United in the 2011 Champions League Final 3–1 held at Wembley Stadium, a repeat of the 2009 final, winning their fourth European Cup.[75] In August 2011, La Masia graduate Cesc Fàbregas was bought from Arsenal and he would help Barcelona defend the Spanish Supercup against Real Madrid. The Supercup victory brought the total number of official trophies to 73, matching the number of titles won by Real Madrid.[76]

Later the same month, Barcelona won the UEFA Super Cup after defeating Porto 2–0 thanks to goals from Lionel Messi and Cesc Fàbregas. This extended the club's overall number of official trophies to 74, surpassing Real Madrid's total amount of official trophies.[77] The UEFA Super Cup victory also marked another impressive achievement as Josep Guardiola won his 12th trophy out of 15 possible in only three years at the helm of the club, becoming the all-time record holder of most titles won as a coach at FC Barcelona.[78]

FC Barcelona against Bayer Leverkusen in the UEFA Champions League

In December, Barcelona won the FIFA Club World Cup for a record second time since its establishment, by beating the Brazilian 2011 Copa Libertadores holders, Santos, 4–0 in the final thanks to two goals from Lionel Messi and goals from Xavi and Fàbregas.[79] As a result, the overall trophy haul during the reign of Guardiola was further extended and saw Barcelona win their 13th trophy out of 24 possible in 4 years, continuing their high-quality performance in recent world football competitions.[80][81]

In the 2011–12 season, Barcelona lost the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League against Chelsea. Right afterward, coach Pep Guardiola, who had been on a rolling contract and had faced criticism over his recent tactics and squad selections,[82][83] announced that he would step down as manager on 30 June and be succeeded by assistant Tito Vilanova.[84][85] Guardiola finished his tenure with Barça winning the Copa del Rey final 3–0, bringing the tally to 14 trophies that Barça had won under his stewardship.

Guardiola's four-year trophy-laden tenure has inspired British director Paul Greengrass to make a documentary about the Catalan giants. Entitled Barça, the film will examine the process and legacy of one of the world's most famous sports franchises, focusing primarily on the four years in which Guardiola guided the club to 14 trophies. The movie is expected to be finished ahead of the 2014 World Cup, when public attention will begin focusing on the international event in Rio de Janeiro.[86]

Last years (2012–)

FC Barcelona against Bayern Munich in the 2013 UEFA Champions League

It was announced in summer of 2012 that Tito Vilanova, assistant manager at FC Barcelona, would take over from Pep Guardiola as manager. Following his appointment, Barcelona went on an incredible run that saw them hold the top spot on the league table for the entire season, recording only 2 losses and amassing 100 points. Their top scorer once again was Lionel Messi, who scored 46 goals in the League, including two hat-tricks. On 11 May 2013 Barcelona were crowned as the Spanish football champions for the 22nd time, still with 4 games left to play. Ultimately Barcelona ended the season 15 points clear of rivals Real Madrid, despite losing 2–1 to them at the beginning of March.[87] They reached the semifinal stage of both the Copa del Rey and the Champions League, going out to Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively. On 19 July, it had been announced that Vilanova will resign as Barcelona manager after his throat cancer returned, and will be receiving treatment again, after he took a three-month medical leave in December 2012.[88]

On 22 July 2013, Gerardo 'Tata' Martino was confirmed as manager of FC Barcelona for the 2013-14 season.[89] Barcelona's first official games under Martino were the home and away legs of the 2013 Spanish Supercup, which Barça won 1-1 on away goals. On 23 January 2014, Sandro Rosell resigned as president by the admissibility of the complaint for alleged misappropriation following the transfer of Neymar. Josep Maria Bartomeu replaced him to finish the term in 2016.

On 2 April 2014, FIFA banned the club from buying players for the next two transfer windows following the violation of the FIFA's rules about the transfer of footballers aged under 18.[90] A statement on FIFA's website read "With regard to the case in question, FC Barcelona has been found to be in breach of art. 19 of the Regulations in the case of ten minor players and to have committed several other concurrent infringements in the context of other players, including under Annexe 2 of the Regulations. The Disciplinary Committee regarded the infringements as serious and decided to sanction the club with a transfer ban at both national and international level for two complete and consecutive transfer periods, together with a fine of CHF 450,000. Additionally, the club was granted a period of 90 days in which to regularise the situation of all minor players concerned."[91]


The nickname culé for a Barcelona supporter is derived from the Catalan cul (English: arse), as the spectators at the first stadium, Camp de la Indústria, sat with their culs over the stand. In Spain, about 25% of the population is said to be Barça sympathisers, second behind Real Madrid, supported by 32% of the population.[92] Throughout Europe, Barcelona is the favourite second-choice club.[93] The club's membership figures have seen a significant increase from 100,000 in the 2003–04 season to 170,000 in September 2009,[94] the sharp rise being attributed to the influence of Ronaldinho and then-president Joan Laporta's media strategy that focused on Spanish and English online media.[95][96]

In addition to membership, as of June 2010 there are 1,335 officially registered fan clubs, called penyes, around the world. The fan clubs promote Barcelona in their locality and receive beneficial offers when visiting Barcelona.[97] The club has had many prominent persons among its supporters, including Pope John Paul II, who was an honorary member, and former prime minister of Spain José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.[98][99] FC Barcelona has the second highest average attendance of European football clubs only behind Borussia Dortmund.[100][101]

Club rivalries

El Clásico

There is often a fierce rivalry between the two strongest teams in a national league, and this is particularly the case in La Liga, where the game between Barça and Real Madrid is known as El Clásico. From the start of national competitions the clubs were seen as representatives of two rival regions in Spain: Catalonia and Castile, as well as of the two cities. The rivalry reflects what many regard as the political and cultural tensions felt between Catalans and the Castilians, seen by one author as a re-enactment of the Spanish Civil War.[102]

During the dictatorships of Primo de Rivera and especially of Francisco Franco (1939–1975), all regional cultures were suppressed. All of the languages spoken in Spanish territory, except Spanish (Castilian) itself, were officially banned.[103][104] Symbolising the Catalan people's desire for freedom, Barça became 'More than a club' (Més que un club) for the Catalans. According to Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, the best way for the Catalans to demonstrate their identity was by joining Barça. It was less risky than joining a clandestine anti-Franco movement, and allowed them to express their dissidence.[105]

On the other hand, Real Madrid was widely seen as the embodiment of the sovereign oppressive centralism and the fascist regime at management level and beyond (Santiago Bernabeu, the former club president for whom the Merengues stadium is named, fought with los nacionales).[106][107] However, during the Spanish Civil War, members of both clubs such as Josep Sunyol and Rafael Sánchez Guerra suffered at the hands of Franco supporters.

During the 1950s the rivalry was exacerbated further when there was a controversy surrounding the transfer of Alfredo di Stéfano, who finally played for Real Madrid and was key to their subsequent success.[108] The 1960s saw the rivalry reach the European stage when they met twice at the knock-out rounds of the European Cup.[17]

El derbi Barceloní

Barça's local rival has always been Espanyol. Blanc-i-blaus, being one of the clubs granted royal patronage, was founded exclusively by Spanish football fans, unlike the multinational nature of Barça's primary board. The founding message of the club was clearly anti-Barcelona, and they disapprovingly saw FC Barcelona as a team of foreigners.[109] The rivalry was strengthened by what Catalonians saw as a provocative representative of Madrid.[110] Their original ground was in the affluent district of Sarrià.[111][112]

Traditionally, especially during the Franco regime, Espanyol was seen by the vast majority of Barcelona's citizens as a club which cultivated a kind of compliance to the central authority, in stark contrast to Barça's revolutionary spirit.[113] In 1918 Espanyol started a counter-petition against autonomy, which at that time had become a pertinent issue.[109] Later on, an Espanyol supporter group would join the Falangists in the Spanish civil war, siding with the fascists. Despite these differences in ideology, the derbi has always been more relevant to Espanyol supporters than Barcelona ones due to the difference in objectives. In recent years the rivalry has become less political, as Espanyol translated its official name and anthem from Spanish to Catalan.[109]

Though it is the most played local derby in the history of La Liga, it is also the most unbalanced, with Barcelona overwhelmingly dominant. In the league table, Espanyol has only managed to end above Barça on three occasions in almost 70 years and the only all-Catalan Copa del Rey final was won by Barça in 1957. Espanyol has the consolation of achieving the largest margin win with a 6–0 in 1951. Espanyol achieved a 2–1 win against Barça during the 2008–09 season, becoming the first team to defeat Barcelona at Camp Nou in their treble-winning season.[114]

Finances and ownership

In 2010, Forbes evaluated Barcelona's worth to be around €752 million (USD $1 billion), ranking them fourth after Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Arsenal, based on figures from the 2008–09 season.[115][116] According to Deloitte, Barcelona had a recorded revenue of €366 million in the same period, ranking second to Real Madrid, who generated €401 million in revenue.[117] In 2013, Forbes magazine ranked Barcelona the third most valuable sports team in the world, behind Real Madrid and Manchester United, with a value of $2.6 billion.[2]

Along with Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, and Osasuna, Barcelona is organised as a registered association. Unlike a limited company, it is not possible to purchase shares in the club, but only membership.[118] The members of Barcelona, called socis, form an assembly of delegates which is the highest governing body of the club.[119] As of 2010 the club has 170,000 socis.[94]

An audit by Deloitte in July 2010 showed that Barcelona had a net debt of €442 million, currently 58% of net worth as evaluated by Forbes. The new management of Barcelona, which had ordered the audit, cited "structural problems" as the cause of the debt.[120] News had emerged that the club had recorded a loss of approximately €79 million over the course of the year, despite having defended their La Liga title.[121]

For 2011, Barcelona's gross debt stands at around €483m and the net debt is at €364m.[122] Barcelona was found to have the highest average salary per player of all professional sports teams in the world, just ahead of rival Real Madrid.[123]


Xavi presently holds the team record for number of total games played (713) and the record number of La Liga appearances (467), surpassing the previous record holder Migueli (391).[124]

FC Barcelona's all-time highest goalscorer in all competitions (including friendlies) is Lionel Messi with 375 goals.[124][125] The all-time highest goalscorer for Barcelona in all official competitions, excluding friendlies, is Lionel Messi with 348 goals. He is also the record goalscorer for Barcelona in European (68 goals) and international club competitions (72 goals),[126] and the record league scorer with 237 goals in La Liga. Four people have managed to score over 100 league goals at Barcelona: Lionel Messi (237), César Rodríguez (192), Ladislao Kubala (131) and Samuel Eto'o (108) .

On 2 February 2009, Barcelona reached a total of 5,000 La Liga goals. The goal was converted by Messi in a game against Racing Santander, which Barça won 2–1.[127] On 18 December 2009 Barcelona beat Estudiantes 2–1 to win their sixth title in a year and became the first ever football team to complete the sextuple.[128]

Barcelona's highest home attendance was 120,000, for a European Cup quarter-final against Juventus on 3 March 1986.[129] The modernisation of Camp Nou during the 1990s and the introduction of all-seater stands means the record will not be broken for the foreseeable future as the current capacity of the stadium is 99,354.[130]

Crest and shirt

Since its foundation the club has played with a crest. The club's original crest was a quartered diamond-shaped crest topped by the Crown of Aragon and the bat of King James, and surrounded by two branches, one of a laurel tree and the other a palm.[131] In 1910 the club held a competition among its members to design a new crest. The winner was Carles Comamala, who at the time played for the club. Comamala's suggestion became the crest that the club wears today, with some minor variations. The crest consists of the St George Cross in the upper-left corner with the Catalan flag beside it, and the team colours at the bottom.[131]

The blue and red colours of the shirt were first worn in a match against Hispania in 1900.[132] Several competing theories have been put forth for the blue and red design of the Barcelona shirt. The son of the first president, Arthur Witty, claimed it was the idea of his father as the colours were the same as the Merchant Taylor's School team. Another explanation, according to author Toni Strubell, is that the colours are from Robespierre's First Republic. In Catalonia the common perception is that the colours were chosen by Joan Gamper and are those of his home team, FC Basel.[133] The club's most frequently used change colours have been yellow and orange. The team's current away kit features the red and yellow stripes of the flag of Catalonia.

Prior to the 2011–2012 season, Barcelona had a long history of avoiding corporate sponsorship on the playing shirts. On 14 July 2006, the club announced a five-year agreement with UNICEF, which includes having the UNICEF logo on their shirts. The agreement has the club donate €1.5 million per year to UNICEF (0.7 percent of its ordinary income, equal to the UN International Aid Target, cf. ODA) via the FC Barcelona Foundation.[134] The FC Barcelona Foundation is an entity set up in 1994 on the suggestion of then-chairman of the Economical-Statutory Committee, Jaime Gil-Aluja. The idea was to set up a foundation that could attract financial sponsorships to support a non-profit sport company.[135] In 2004, a company could become one of 25 "Honorary members" by contributing between £40,000–60,000 (£52,000–78,000)[136] per year. There are also 48 associate memberships available for an annual fee of £14,000 (£18,200)[136] and an unlimited number of "patronages" for the cost of £4,000 per year (£5,200).[136] It is unclear whether the honorary members have any formal say in club policy, but according to the author Anthony King, it is "unlikely that Honorary Membership would not involve at least some informal influence over the club".[137]

Barcelona ended their refusal of corporate sponsorship prior to the commencement of the 2011–12 season, signing a five-year €150m deal with Qatar Sports Investments, that meant the Qatar Foundation[138] was on the club's shirt for the 11/12 and 12/13 seasons, then replaced by Qatar Airways for the 13/14 season, the deal allowing for a commercial sponsor logo to replace the charity logo, two years into the six-year deal.[139]

PeriodKit manufacturerShirt partner
2011–2013Qatar Foundation / UNICEF
2013–Qatar Airways / Intel / UNICEF


an elevated view of the stadium at night
An elevated view of a full Camp Nou

Barcelona initially played in the Camp de la Indústria. The capacity was about 6,000, and club officials deemed the facilities inadequate for a club with growing membership.[140]

In 1922, the number of supporters had surpassed 20,000 and by lending money to the club, Barça was able to build the larger Camp de Les Corts, which had an initial capacity of 20,000 spectators. After the Spanish Civil War the club started attracting more members and a larger number of spectators at matches. This led to several expansion projects: the grandstand in 1944, the southern stand in 1946, and finally the northern stand in 1950. After the last expansion, Les Corts could hold 60,000 spectators.[141]

After the construction was complete there was no further room for expansion at Les Corts. Back-to-back La Liga titles in 1948 and 1949 and the signing of in June 1950 of László Kubala, who would later go on to score 196 goals in 256 matches, drew larger crowds to the games.[141][142][143] The club began to make plans for a new stadium.[141] The building of Camp Nou commenced on 28 March 1954, before a crowd of 60,000 Barça fans. The first stone of the future stadium was laid in place under the auspices of Governor Felipe Acedo Colunga and with the blessing of Archbishop of Barcelona Gregorio Modrego. Construction took three years and ended on 24 September 1957 with a final cost of 288 million pesetas, 336% over budget.[141]

One of the stands displaying Barcelona's motto, "Més que un club", meaning 'More than a club'

In 1980, when the stadium was in need of redesign to meet UEFA criteria, the club raised money by offering supporters the opportunity to inscribe their name on the bricks for a small fee. The idea was popular with supporters, and thousands of people paid the fee. Later this became the centre of controversy when media in Madrid picked up reports that one of the stones was inscribed with the name of long-time Real Madrid chairman and Franco supporter Santiago Bernabéu.[144][145][146] In preparation for the 1992 Summer Games two tiers of seating were installed above the previous roofline.[147] It has a current capacity of 99,354 making it the largest stadium in Europe.

There are also other facilities, which include:[148]


Barcelona celebrating their FIFA Club World Cup 2011 win against Santos FC

As of 28 August 2013, Barcelona has won 22 La Liga, 26 Copa del Rey, 11 Supercopa de España, 3 Copa Eva Duarte[149] and 2 Copa de la Liga trophies, as well as being the record holder for the latter four competitions. They have also won 4 UEFA Champions League, a record 4 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, 4 UEFA Super Cup and a record 2 FIFA Club World Cup trophies.[9][150] They also won a record 3 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup trophies, considered the predecessor to the UEFA Cup-Europa League.

Barcelona is the only European club to have played continental football every season since 1955, and one of three clubs to have never been relegated from La Liga, along with Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid. In 2009, Barcelona became the first club in Spain to win the treble consisting of La Liga, Copa del Rey, and the Champions League. That same year, it also became the first football club ever to win six out of six competitions in a single year, thus completing the sextuple, comprising the aforementioned treble and the Spanish Super Cup, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.[12]

Domestic competitions

Winners (22): 1928–1929, 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
Runners-up (23): 1929–30, 1945–46, 1953–54, 1954–55, 1955–56, 1961–62, 1963–64, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1970–71, 1972–73, 1975–76, 1976–77, 1977–78, 1981–82, 1985–86, 1986–87, 1988–89, 1996–97, 1999–00, 2003–04, 2006–07, 2011–12
Winners (26) (record): 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
Runners-up (11): 1901–02, 1918–19, 1931–32, 1935–36, 1953–54, 1973–74, 1983–84, 1985–86, 1995–96, 2010–11, 2013–14
Winners (11) (record): 1983, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013
Runners-up (8): 1985, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2012
Winners (3) (record): 1948, 1952, 1953[7]
Runners-up (2): 1949, 1951
Winners (2) (record): 1982–83, 1985–86

European competitions

Winners (4): 1991–92, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2010–11
Runners-up (3): 1960–61, 1985–86, 1993–94
Winners (4) (record): 1978–79, 1981–82, 1988–89, 1996–97
Runners-up (2): 1968–69, 1990–91
Winners (3) (record): 1955–58, 1958–60, 1965–66
Runners-up (1): 1961–62
Winners (4): 1992, 1997, 2009, 2011
Runners-up (4): 1979, 1982, 1989, 2006

Worldwide competitions

Winners (2) (record): 2009, 2011
Runners-up (1): 2006
Runners-up (1): 1992


Spanish teams are limited to three players without EU citizenship. The squad list includes only the principal nationality of each player; several non-European players on the squad have dual citizenship with an EU country. Also, players from the ACP countries—countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific that are signatories to the Cotonou Agreement—are not counted against non-EU quotas due to the Kolpak ruling.

Current squad

As of 31 January 2014''[160]

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

1SpainGKVíctor Valdés (3rd captain)
2SpainDFMartín Montoya
3SpainDFGerard Piqué
4SpainMFCesc Fàbregas
5SpainDFCarles Puyol (captain)
6SpainMFXavi Hernández (vice-captain)
7SpainFWPedro Rodríguez
8SpainMFAndrés Iniesta (4th captain)
9ChileFWAlexis Sánchez
10ArgentinaFWLionel Messi
12MexicoMFJonathan dos Santos
13SpainGKJosé Manuel Pinto
14ArgentinaMFJavier Mascherano
15SpainDFMarc Bartra
16SpainMFSergio Busquets
17CameroonMFAlex Song
18SpainDFJordi Alba
19NetherlandsMFIbrahim Afellay
20SpainFWCristian Tello
22BrazilDFDani Alves
23SpainFWIsaac Cuenca
24SpainMFSergi Roberto
25SpainGKOier Olazábal

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

BrazilMFRafinha (at Celta until 30 June 2014)
SpainFWGerard Deulofeu (at Everton until 30 June 2014)
SpainFWBojan Krkić (at Ajax until 30 June 2014)
BrazilFWKeirrison (at Coritiba until 30 June 2014)


Current technical staff

Head coachGerardo "Tata" Martino
Assistant coachJorge Pautasso
AssistantJordi Roura
Adrián Coria
Raúl Marcovich
Joan Francesc Ferrer "Rubi"
Fitness coachElvio Paolorosso
Aureli Altimira
Eduardo Pons
Francesc Cos
Paco Seiruŀlo
Goalkeeping coachJosé Ramón de la Fuente
ScoutingsÀlex García
Jordi Melero
Jaume Torras
PhysiotherapistJaume Minull
Juanjo Brau
Roger Gironès
DoctorRamón Canal
Ricard Pruna
Daniel Medina
Team liaisonCarles Naval
Director of footballAndoni Zubizarreta
Academy directorGuillermo Amor
B team coachEusebio Sacristán

Last updated: 05 September 2013
Source: FC Barcelona


Board members

PresidentJosep Maria Bartomeu
Vice-president of economic and strategic areaJavier Faus
Vice-president of social areaJordi Cardoner
Vice-president of institutional areaCarles Vilarrubí
Vice-president of sports areaJordi Mestre
Vice-president of media and communication areaManel Arroyo
TreasurerSusana Monje
Board secretaryAntoni Freixa
Director of sports area (Medical area)Jordi Monés
Director of sports area (Football)Josep Ramon Vidal
Director of sports area (Basketball)Joan Bladé
Director of sports area (Futsal)Javier Bordas
Director of sports area (Youth football)Ramon Cierco Noguer
Director of social area and sports area (Handball)Eduard Coll
Director of social areaRamon Pont
Director of social areaPilar Guinovart
Director of economic and strategic areaJordi Moix
Director of economic and strategic areaSilvio Elías
Director of technology areaDídac Lee

Last updated: 23 January 2014
Source: FC Barcelona

See also


Former team(s)



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  147. ^ Snyder, John. pp. 81–2.
  148. ^ "El proyecto Barça Parc, adelante" (in Spanish). FC Barcelona. 2009. Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  149. ^ The Copa Eva Duarte was only recognised and organised with that name by the RFEF from 1947 until 1953, and therefore Barcelona's "Copa de Oro Argentina" win of 1945 is not included in this count, i.e. only the 1948, 1952 and 1953 trophies are.
  150. ^ "Football Europe: FC Barcelona". Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). Retrieved 4 May 2009. 
  151. ^ "Evolution 1929–10". Liga de Fútbol Profesional. Retrieved 6 August 2010. 
  152. ^ "Palmarés en" (in Spanish). MARCA. Retrieved 22 June 2010. [dead link]
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  154. ^ "List of Super Cup Finals". RSSF. Retrieved 18 March 2011. 
  155. ^ Torre, Raúl (29 January 2009). "Spain – List of League Cup Finals". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation (RSSSF). Retrieved 22 June 2010. 
  156. ^ "Champions League history". Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). Retrieved 22 June 2010. 
  157. ^ "UEFA Cup Winners' Cup". UEFA. Retrieved 22 June 2010. 
  158. ^ "UEFA Super Cup". UEFA. Retrieved 22 June 2010. 
  159. ^ "Tournaments". FIFA. Retrieved 22 June 2010. 
  160. ^ "Primer equipo" [First team] (in Spanish). FC Barcelona. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 

Further reading


External links

Preceded by
Spain Spain national football team
Laureus World Team of the Year
Succeeded by
European Union European Ryder Cup Team