The adventure of the creation of FC Barcelona in 1899 by a group of young people, foreigners, and Catalans who lived in Barcelona, ​​was the consequence of a process of expansion of the practice of football and other sports of British origin in the European continent. This explains the intercultural nature of the club, its multi-sports vocation, and the desire to take root in a city and a country. Gamper, the club’s founder, was the soul and the promoter during the first 25 years. His commitment to FC Barcelona goes beyond his facets as a player, manager, and president.

Hans Gamper (Winterthur, Switzerland, 1877 – Barcelona, ​​​​1930) arrived in Barcelona in 1898 for professional reasons. In his spare time, he played football with a group of colleagues in the streets of the Catalan capital.

On October 22, 1899, Gamper published an advertisement in the magazine Los Deportes calling for the formation of a soccer team.

On November 29, Gamper and eleven other men (the Swiss Otto Kunzle and Walter Wild, the English John and William Parsons, the German Otto Maier and the Catalans Lluís d’Ossó, Bartomeu Terrades, Enrique Ducay, Pere Cabot, Carles Pujol, and Josep Llobet) meet at Gimnàs Solé to form an association that will bear the city’s name and coat of arms: FC Barcelona.

Gamper, in love with the sport -in addition to football, he was a practitioner of athletics, cycling, rugby, and golf- conceived it as a determining factor in extolling the virtues of human beings.

He wanted an entity open to all, regardless of where people came from. He imagined an inclusive club where everyone could say their own. He opted for a democratic society, freely governed by his associates. And, grateful to the country that had welcomed him, Catalonia, he did not hesitate, starting in 1908, to give FC Barcelona a meaning that would mark it universally: the commitment to Catalan identity.

Catalan, democracy, sportsmanship, universality. From Gamper’s premises, everything makes sense today when talking about Barça.

FC Barcelona used the same shield as Barcelona, signifying its desire to identify with the city that welcomed it and merges.

In 1910 the Board of Directors, who wanted the club to have its symbol, called for competition to change the entity’s logo. The format was adopted that, with more or fewer variations, has survived to this day.

In those first moments, half a shirt was blue, and the other half was maroon, with the sleeves of the opposite color and the pants white. The most probable theory indicates that the blue and maroon colors come from the clothing of the Merchant Taylors’ English school rugby team, where the Witty brothers, one of the first members of the club, had studied in their early youth.

In less than ten years, between 1899 and 1908, FC Barcelona used four different playing fields as its field due to economic instability and the difficulty in finding large open-air spaces amid the city’s urban expansion.

1899-1900 Field of the old Bonanova velodrome (next to the current Turó Parc)

1900-1901 Field of the Casanovas hotel (today, Hospital de Sant Pau)

1901-1905 Horta road camp

1905-1909 Muntaner street field

In 1902, FC Barcelona won the Macaya Cup, the embryo of the Catalan Championship. It was born thanks to the will of Alfonso Macaya, president of Club Hispania. In 1900 made public that he intended to organize a competition between Catalan teams. The trophy is an exceptional modernist work of art. Still, unfortunately, the Macaya Cup disappeared a year later, creating the Catalunya Championship.

In November 1908, the club seemed to hit rock bottom, with 38 members about to let it go. Gamper did not let the entity die, and at the December 2 meeting, he became its president for the first time.

A new stage in the club’s history began, which meant consolidation in the football and social scene of the city and the country. It is a process in which several circumstances came together: firstly, the consolidation as an entity, following a constant increase in the number of members, the reform of the statutes, and the club’s first important playing field. At the same time, a stage of sporting success and the first players recognized by the fans in a phase in which the professionalism of football can be seen.

Social growth was remarkable. From the 201 members in 1909, it grew to 2,973 in just ten years. These are a few years in which Barça laid solid foundations to define what kind of football club it wanted to be, beyond the friend dreams who had founded it in 1899.

The field on Carrer de la Industria (today Carrer de Paris) was inaugurated on March 14, 1909 and was the home of the azulgranas until 1922. In 1916 a two-story grandstand was built, the first on a soccer field—football in Spain, which increased the stadium’s capacity to 6,000 spectators.

Barça fans owe this field the origin of the popular denomination of culés. Everything seems to indicate that this name derives from the row made from outside the field by the spectators sitting on the fence, from which their asses protruded.

In the four seasons from 1909 to 1913, there were three wins in the Spanish Championship, also known as the Copa del Rey, and the four Pyrenees Cups, the first international tournament that the Barça club played. This competition was disputed by Catalan, Basque, and southern French teams.

The successes increased the number of members and led the Barça fans to receive the team after a great victory. The players who had won the 1910 Spanish Championship in Madrid were welcomed as heroes at the Paseo de Gracia station and accompanied the crowd to the venue where the victory was celebrated. From 1909, at the Canaletes drinks kiosk, the team’s results began to be known, and the link between Canaletas and Barça was born.

In February 1910, the club held a contest, and the format of the shield that we all know was chosen. With slight variations has reached the present day, the work of Santiago Femenia. The symbol explains well the signs of identity of the club. It has the Cross of Saint George and the four bars of the flag, Catalonia symbols, the club’s colors, blue and grana, and a ball in the center.

Of Filipino origin, Paulino Alcántara made his debut in the 1911/12 season when he was only fifteen years old. He is the first famous star of Barça, the top scorer in the club’s history until the appearance of Leo Messi, with 395 goals. He had such a powerful shot that he once broke the goal net. He always wore a white scarf tied around his waist.

The 1908/1909 season marked the beginning of FC Barcelona’s dominance in the Catalan Championship. Until 1919, Barça won the championship five times, including the Catalan Championship in the 1909/1910 academic year, in which the team won every game.

In the 1920s, soccer became a mass sport. FC Barcelona continues to attract a good part of the footballing attention thanks to a dream team, made up of figures such as Samitier, Alcántara, Zamora, Sagi, Piera, and Sancho became the first great massive idols of Barcelona fans.

This legendary team made the fans grow and led to the construction of the Les Corts field in 1922, the first stadium owned by the club. In 1923 the club exceeded 10,000 members.

The games against RCD Espanyol, the great rival of the time, were the ones that aroused the most expectation in a crowd that idolized and followed their team parts. In Les Corts, the azulgrana team lived a few years full of success.

Ricardo Zamora, the Divine, although he only played three seasons at Barça, left a deep mark for his interventions under the sticks and is considered one of the best goalkeepers in football history. He made his debut together with Samitier in 1919, and both mark a turning point in the club’s sporting history.

Samitier was Catalan football’s first excellent mass idol, popularly known as a lobsterman for his acrobatics. He became a social phenomenon, and he could often be seen surrounded by artists like Carlos Gardel or Maurice Chevalier.

The Les Corts course, inaugurated on May 20, 1922, is the primary setting for the club’s growth and its first golden age. At that time, it was one of the best football fields in Europe. The work of Santiago Mestres and Josep Alemany, it cost 991,984.05 pesetas. It had an initial capacity of 22,000 spectators, although, in subsequent expansions, it tripled to 48,000. At Les Corts, Barcelona fans experienced more than three decades of illusions and triumphs and some frustrations.

On December 7 and 8, 1924, FC Barcelona celebrated its 25th anniversary with the dispute, at the Les Corts field, of two matches between Barça and the Real Unión de Irún. In addition, the III Challenge Pere Prat athletics race took place and an athletics rally with Spanish and French representatives. Then the club had 12,207 members.

Of all the triumphs of the decade, the most celebrated was the Spanish Championship (Copa del Rey) in 1928. In the final, played in Santander, Barça defeated Real Sociedad (3-1) after having tied the two first matches to one goal. Goalkeeper Plattko, who finished the final seriously injured, was a great hero and was immortalized in an emotional poem by Rafael Alberti. For the first time, the radio let the whole of Barcelona know of the Barcelona triumph, which caused an outburst of incredible joy in Barcelona.

On February 12, 1929, a new competition began, the League, which would become the championship par excellence of Spanish football in a few years. It lasted four and a half months, and FC Barcelona was the first champion, with 25 points, two more than second-placed Real Madrid. Manuel Parera has the honor of being the first Barça goalscorer in the League. That victory, however, did not raise much enthusiasm. Since then, football fans have thought it was a minor tournament behind the Copa del Rey. The balance of that golden decade was extraordinary, with a record of eight Catalan Championships, five Spanish Championships, and the first League.

FC Barcelona was committed to the new social, political and cultural situation supported by the Republican Generalitat since 1931. The club’s official bulletin, in October 1932, made it very clear: “The popularity of our club undeniably includes non-sporting elements.” In 1936, just after the Civil War had begun and faced the threat of FC Barcelona confiscation by anarchist elements, the club’s workers organized themselves into a committee in a transcendental decision that saved the entity. The committee expressed a firm, decisive and explicit will not to break with the Board of Directors existing at the beginning of the war. In fact, in November 1937, once the danger of appropriation had disappeared, the committee ceased, and a new Board of Directors was appointed under the presidency of Francisco Javier Casals.

The 1930s were marked by political instability and a general crisis that inevitably affected FC Barcelona. In these ten years, the death of the founder, a Republic, the Civil War, and the assassination of President Josep Suñol was experienced. In short, a climate of precariousness reduced the number of partners and forced the termination of some players’ contracts.

On July 30, 1930, Barcelona fans received the worst news in its centenary history: Joan Gamper, the club’s founder, had taken his own life due to personal problems. At the age of 52, the dynamic businessman and sportsman who understood and promoted the singularity of FC Barcelona disappeared. The founder’s death was like a fatal harbinger of the years to come.

In the 1930s, the population was more enthusiastic about political rallies than football matches. In any case, Barça is experiencing a time marked by its firm commitment to freedom, democracy, and Catalan identity. In addition, the new Statutes of the Club, approved in May 1932, redefined the meaning and objective. According to the first article, FC Barcelona was “an association of a cultural and sporting nature.” In this sense, in October, the Delegation of Culture was created, which promoted activities of all kinds for the members.

In July 1935, Josep Suñol I Garriga, a person with strong Catalanist ideals, became president. With his Sport and Citizenship motto, Suñol accentuated the linking of the social fact with the sport of FC Barcelona.

Football lives behind the political and social events of the moment, and the influx of public in most of the matches played in Les Corts is rather discreet. The team was no longer the same as it had marveled at years ago. FC Barcelona did not win any League or Cup Championships during the decade. The victories in the Catalan Championship remained.

With Suñol as president, the economy experienced a slight improvement, and Barça began a valid sports policy with exciting signings. But the war would break that team with so much future.

On August 6, 1936, Josep Suñol was assassinated near Madrid by Francoist soldiers. As an ERC parliamentarian in the Madrid Parliament, Suñol had traveled by car from Valencia, where he had gone to carry out liaison tasks on behalf of the president of the Parliament of Catalonia, Joan Casanovas. Josep Suñol acted as a political link and did not sign any player. In one of the most challenging moments in the history of the country and Spain, the club was without a visible head. And, at the same time, during a revolution.

In the 1936/37 season, the Catalan Federation held a tournament where the six Catalan teams and four from the Valencian Country participated. The competition replaced the League tournament, suspended due to the war. FC Barcelona was the champion of this Mediterranean League. The Barça title, at the moment, has been wintering since 1939; with the triumph of the Franco dictatorship, it was abolished by decree, and to this day, this wrong has not yet been repaired.

To get out of a country at war and, incidentally, net income for the battered Barça economy, Barça toured America, Mexico, and the United States in 1937. Some footballers would no longer return to Barcelona. The team was received in Mexico as a true ambassador of democracy and freedom. Apart from the prestige achieved in defending republican values, the club obtained economic benefits from the tour of 461,799.10 pesetas, which was deposited in a bank in Paris in October 1937. Later, this money was used to cover the deficit that they had been suffering for a long time; simultaneously, they were the financial base to restart the entity once the war ended in 1939 with the victory of fascism.

The most bitter moments in the history of FC Barcelona were the first years after the war. The club did not disappear for very little, and the dictatorial authorities’ harsh repression and purging carried out distorted the entity.

The purge also affected the players. All those who had participated in the soccer tour in America were suspended for two years. In addition, the club’s shield and name were changed to appear un-Spanish, and the sporting authorities handpicked the club’s presidents until 1946.

However, thanks to the template that would be configured in subsequent years, the 1950s were reached with the team fully revived. For many people, the Barça matches at Les Corts were an oasis of freedom and fun after years of fear, misery, and repression.

After the war, FC Barcelona experienced social, economic, and sporting hardship moments. He had no players to make the team, and a bomb dropped by the fascist aviation in 1938 had collapsed the headquarters. Had to start over. The new dictatorial regime mistrusted Barça, which identified itself as an entity committed to the republican cause and Catalanism.

The Les Corts field was officially reopened at a game held on June 29, 1939. The meeting was presided over by the various military and civil authorities, who, in their speeches, proclaimed that the club was no longer an instrument of subversion and was becoming an icon of Spanish sport under the new regime.

Overcoming the pothole of the war, the team was reinforced with two players who would mark an era: César Rodríguez and Mariano Martín. César was one of the great scorers in the history of Barça, and he played 456 matches and scored 304 goals. His corner goals were very famous, which he used to materialize by entering the plate from behind. Years later, other figures completed the team, such as Estanislau Basora, one of the best wingers that Barça has ever had, and Antonio Ramallets, for some, the best goalkeeper in the club’s history.

Josep Samitier’s contribution was not limited to his fantastic time as a player, and in 1944 he began an essential stage as a Barcelona coach. With his presence on the bench, FC Barcelona was proclaimed champion of the League in the 1944/45 season, a title resisted since 1929.

The Latin Cup was the first European title for FC Barcelona. It was an official competition forerunner of the European Cup. It was disputed by the champion teams of the French League, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. In 1949 the participants were Stade de Reims, Turin, Sporting Lisbon and FC Barcelona. Finally, the azulgranas beat the Portuguese team in the final by 2-1.

The golden anniversary came at a good sporting moment and with the joy of seeing that the club had recovered from the disasters of the war and that it was in full expansion, with 24,893 members. The foundation of the entity was commemorated with a series of events and a football tournament. A triangular match was played between Barça, the Danish Boldklub, and Palmeiras from Brazil. Barça was the winner.

Taking advantage of the celebration, and thanks to the initiative of the member Salvador Grau Mora, the club recovered the four bars on the shield, in an unmistakable sign of wanting to recover -although the constraints of the time- its identity. The massive influx of Barça fans to the events held at the Les Corts pitch highlighted a fact that had been confirmed for some time: the legendary pitch had become too small.

The Uruguayan Enrique Fernández, a Barça player before the war, took charge of the team for three seasons and won two consecutive league titles (1947/48 and 1948/49). Fernández opted for attacking football, which the Barcelona public especially liked.

During the fifties, there was considerable growth in the social mass of the club thanks to the Kubala phenomenon and the construction of a new stadium with more than twice the number of seats as the old Les Corts field. From the 26,300 members in 1950, it went to 52,791 in 1961, increasing slightly above 100%.

The arrival of Ladislao Kubala was decisive for the success of Barça, and he became the idol of the Barça fans. The team’s victories and Kubala’s myth were key to retaining the fans. The insertion of Barça in Catalan society advanced.

The club needed a bigger stadium. In 1950, the members had already approved the acquisition of some land to build a new stadium in a referendum. In 1953 the electoral slogan of Francisco Miró-Sans, We need, we want, and we will have a new field, was decisive in making him president of Barça. The construction of the Camp Nou represented a confirmation of the entity’s modernizing capacity.

Led by Samitier, the club’s technical secretary, Ladislao Kubala arrived in Barcelona in 1950, a player who changed the history of Barça and became a mythical figure in Barcelona. The Hungarian crack incorporated technical innovations never seen before, such as the shot with effect—the spectacular game that dominated Spanish football and shone in Europe.

From 1950 to 1953 are years of Barça hegemony. In the 1951/52 season, FC Barcelona brought together a sensational team that won the Five Cups: the League, the Cup, the Latin Cup, the Eva Duarte Cup, and the Martini Rossi Cup. That is all possible titles. The Five Cups team had a legendary forward line. This was his eleven type: Ramallets, Seguer, Biosca, Segarra, Gonzalvo III, Basora, César, Kubala, Moreno, Villa and Manchón.

In 1953, FC Barcelona signed the Argentinian Alfredo Di Stéfano after agreeing with River Plate. This club had the legal rights to the player. At the same time, Real Madrid negotiated with Millonarios, the team Di Stéfano was playing with illegally.

A fraudulent federative maneuver with Franco’s endorsement resolved that Di Stéfano alternately play one season in each club. Disagreeing with the verdict, Barça waived the player. Kubala’s Barça and Di Stéfano’s Madrid competed for many years for the hegemony of state football.

The arrival of Luis Suárez in 1954 would make one of the best teams in history stronger. He was an exceptional player who brought great joy to the club. In 1960, as a player for FC Barcelona, ​​​​Luis Suárez won the Ballon d’Or. The Gallego de Oro is currently the only Spanish footballer to have received this distinction.

Construction work on the Camp Nou began in 1955 and ended two years later. Camp Nou was inaugurated during the presidency of Francisco Miró-Sans on September 24, 1957, the day of La Mercè, patron saint of Barcelona. Festive events and a match against a selection of players from Warsaw were held during the opening. Barça obtained its first victory at the stadium by 4-2. Paraguayan striker Eulogio Martínez scored the first goal at the Camp Nou.

The stadium had an initial capacity of 99,053 people. The total cost of Camp Nou was 288,088,143 pesetas. Today Camp Nou is the stadium with the largest capacity in Europe, with 99,354 spectators.

The arrival of coach Helenio Herrera in 1958 was a revolution in understanding football. Thanks to the author of historic phrases such as “we will win without getting off the bus” and “you play better with ten men than with eleven,” the team became a fearsome group.

Herrera, known as HH, had an extraordinary group, a mixture of foreign and Catalan cracks. The new idols came from Hungary again: Sandor Kocsis and Zoltan Czibor, who joined Eulogio Martínez and Evaristo, together with home players like Gensana, Gracia, Vergés, Tejada, Olivella, Segarra… That formidable team won two leagues in a row and a Copa del Rey and a Fairs Cup.

In the 1960s, FC Barcelona experienced an unstoppable increase in membership that was not accompanied by sporting success. There was also an intense immigration process that brought many newcomers to Catalonia. At this juncture, Barça became a key integrating element of Catalan society.

The irregularity of the sporting dynamics and the economic austerity caused by the construction of the Camp Nou deprived the club of the signing of great players, which affected Barça’s results.

In the 1960s, the Catalan population grew by more than 1,200,000 inhabitants, mainly thanks to the migratory waves from the south of Spain. Many of these people were attracted to Barça because of its democratic, cross-class spirit and opposition to centralism. Barça’s identification with Catalonia was no longer an exclusive issue for members and fans born in the Principality. Barça was consolidating itself as a catalyst for social integration, as had happened with the arrival of Valencians, Murcians, and Aragonese in the 1920s and as would happen, at the end of the 20th century, with the arrival of immigrants from other continents.

Football experienced a new projection through television. In 1959 the first game had already been broadcast. The high cost of this device meant that in the first broadcasts of the Barça matches, many people gathered in front of the shops where televisions were sold and in some bars and restaurants throughout Catalonia.

The curse of the square sticks of Bern, which prevented lifting the European Cup in 1961 against Benfica, was the beginning of a stage of sporting confusion. The final point had been reached in an era marked by the successes of the Cinco Copas team and the stage of Helenio Herrera. At the end of the 1960/61 season, the goodbye of Ladislao Kubala and the transfer of Suárez to Inter made it even more evident that that triumphant Barça had come to an end. Another illustrious casualty was that of the great goalkeeper Antoni Ramallets and the goodbyes of Tejada and Czibor. Segarra’s farewell in 1964 marked the end of a golden generation.

In his inauguration speech on January 17, 1968, President Carreras said: “Barcelona is more than just a football club,” a phrase from which the motto Barça is more than a club. His son Luis remembers that his father had written the speech – which he usually did not – and that the famous phrase had been carefully written. Although it is impossible that the speaker could imagine the subsequent and still current echo of his speech, it is evident that he was aware that its content was special.

April 6, 1968, will be recorded as one of the most painful days for Barcelona fans due to the sudden death of player Julio César Benítez at the age of 27. His death was a tough blow for his teammates and the fans at a time that was already quite complicated in the sporting aspect. It was the day before Barça-Madrid, and the game was suspended. Thousands of people came from all over and identified not only with Barça but with other colors at Benítez’s funeral chapel, installed at the Camp Nou.

The Cup final played at the Santiago Bernabéu against Real Madrid on July 11, 1968, has gone down in history with the popular nickname of the final of the bottles. The incidents a few minutes before the end of the match, when some spectators threw glass bottles at the Barcelona players, are the reason that gives this event its name. Despite the hostile atmosphere, Barça was able to win 0-1 in a heroic triumph.

In 1969 Agustí Montal Costa won the elections for the club’s presidency. His program insisted on the involvement of the partners, with the commitment to try to ensure that everyone saw their opinion reflected through the vote. In 1973 Montal was re-elected president, although due to the restricted system of elections in which only the compromising members could vote.

Throughout his mandate, he was a great defender of the revival of Catalanism and a firm opponent of the football centralism exercised by the Spanish Federation and the National Sports Delegation. Thanks to his encouragement, FC Barcelona was recovering all its symbols, starting with the name, which had been castellanized after the war.

The outburst of corruption in the natives’ case opened up the possibility of hiring foreign players. The Barça dream of signing Johan Cruyff was beginning to be possible.

The golden age of Barça roller hockey began with the signing of Catalan coach Josep Lorente in 1970. In the 1972/73 season, the Villacorta, Pons, Villa, Brasal, Chércoles and Centell team won the first European Cup, beating Sporting de Lisboa in a two-legged final.

To put an end to the sports drought of recent years, there was a player who aroused the fans’ enthusiasm. The chosen one was a Dutch striker who triumphed throughout Europe with Ajax Amsterdam: Johan Cruyff, then the best player in the world.

On August 13, 1973, Cruyff was already a Barça player. He became the leader of a talented team led by Rinus Michels that brought joy back to Camp Nou. Cruyff staged an intelligent game and had superb technique. The Dutchman starred in anthological moments, such as a mythical goal that he scored against Atlético de Madrid on December 23, 1973, after flying in an incredible way to control a Rexach cross in the air and beat goalkeeper Reina.

The victories followed one another, and Barça was proclaimed champion of the League after beating Sporting de Gijón by 2-4. There were still five games, and the League was already decided after 14 years of frustration.

In that vertiginous escalation of the League in the 1973/74 season, the match played at the Santiago Bernabéu on February 17, 1974, stands out with its profile. The Barça team won by a mythical 0-5 with a line-up made up of Mora, Rifé , Costas, De la Cruz, Torres, Juan Carlos, Rexach, Asensi, Cruyff, Sotil and Marcial.

The celebration of the 75th anniversary had a huge echo thanks to the social potential of the club and the climate of sporting euphoria after winning the League. The commemorative acts brought out everything that Barça meant, with the participation of personalities linked to the most dynamic sectors of Catalan society. Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí, Antoni Tàpies, Joan Fuster, Pere Calders, and Tísner contributed their grain of sand in the form of artistic or literary work. On the occasion of this anniversary, Josep M. Espinàs and Jaume Picas wrote a song set to music by Manuel Valls that became the club’s official anthem, the Cant del Barça.

Coinciding with the presidency of Agustí Montal i Costa, FC Barcelona launched a policy of Catalanization of the Club, despite the limits imposed by the Franco dictatorship. In 1972 an attempt was made to make the Catalan language heard again on the loudspeakers of the Camp Nou (an unsuccessful attempt due to threats from the Franco dictatorship). The Club bulletin (where the most outstanding intellectuals collaborated) incorporated Catalan. In 1973 the entity recovered the original name, FC Barcelona, ​​​​and in 1975 Catalan was restored as the official language of the club. Likewise, that year FC Barcelona joined the Congress of Catalan Culture.

The 1975/76 season began in a political context of the crisis in the Franco regime. On December 28, 1975, the Barça-Madrid match was played, in which flags were seen en masse for the first time at the Camp Nou. They had sneaked into the stadium clandestinely. Only a month ago, the dictator Francisco Franco died.

That Barça-Madrid was broadcast on television, so the maximum impact of the thousand flags fluttered around the stadium was sought. The game ended with a Barça victory, with a goal from Rexach in the last minute, making the victory even more brilliant.

FC Barcelona’s commitment to the Catalan identity was made clear on April 13, 1977, when the Assembly of Delegates requested the Statute of Autonomy for Catalonia.

The historic victory in Basel in May 1979, in which Barça won the European Cup Winners’ Cup for the first time, marked the return of FC Barcelona to the top of the big world clubs. It was the first great triumph of the presidential era of Josep Lluís Núñez.

During the 1980s, FC Barcelona alternated joys and disappointments, feelings marked by sporting results, the performance of the great signings, and other non-sporting issues.

They were years of arrivals of dream footballers (Maradona, Schuster, Alexanco, Quini, Julio Alberto, Urruti, Marcos, etc.) and coaches with different ways of seeing football (Helenio Herrera, Lattek, Menotti, Venables, etc.).

They were also the years of the first multi-million dollar contracts and the appearance of television rights as an element to understand the economic dynamics of the club. The entity grows with the expansion of the Camp Nou and the spectacular increase in the number of members, exceeding the mythical figure of one hundred thousand.

The end of Francoism and the new political climate of transition in the country allowed the recovery of democracy in the club. On May 6, 1978, the first elections of the new democratic stage were held, and all partners could freely choose their president. Josep Lluís Núñez, with the Abrimos el Barça campaign, was chosen. Núñez strongly influences the purpose of renewing the club and the need to straighten it out financially.

On May 16, 1979, in an epic match resolved in extra time, Barça was proclaimed champion of the European Cup Winners’ Cup against Fortuna Düsseldorf (4-3). This triumph was accompanied by an impressive expedition of nearly 30,000 Barcelona fans who paraded Barça flags and banners through the Swiss city of Basel. The European title deserved an unprecedented celebration in the streets of Barcelona and other Catalan towns. The champions’ arrival was tremendous, with particular attention to Johan Neeskens, who was leaving the entity, and Migueli, who had played in the final with a broken collarbone.

On March 1, 1981, the team’s top scorer, Enrique Castro Quini, was kidnapped at the door of his house. The captivity lasted 25 days, during which the wardrobe was a pineapple. Barça, with the squad emotionally affected and without their goalscorer, was forced to continue playing League games and lost all options for the title. Supporters demonstrated en masse to demand his release, which did not occur until the 25th of that month.

On May 12, 1982, Barça won the second European Cup Winners’ Cup, in the final played at the Camp Nou against Standard de Liège (2-1), with goals from Simonsen and Quini. The 1981/82 League, on the other hand, was lost in the last days, when everything was blowing in favor of Barça.

One of the most complex and expensive operations that FC Barcelona has carried out is the signing, in the summer of 1982, of Diego Armando Maradona, considered the number one in world football. Pelusa starred in unforgettable plays and goals. The Argentine striker was a prodigy with a golden left leg, change of pace, speed, and dribbling. But his time at Barça was marked by bad luck. In two years, he had hepatitis and a serious injury. These imponderables caused the fans not to enjoy his immense class continuously. Maradona left the club in 1984.

On March 24, 1985, the victory in the League took place four days from the end in Valladolid (1-2). A penalty against Barça in the 88th minute could delay the title. Urruti stopped the launch of Mágico González, and Barça was proclaimed champion eleven years after the last victory. The Basque goalkeeper became part of the mythical history of Barcelona. Puyal’s success in the radio broadcast of Catalunya Radio in narrating the goalkeeper’s stop repeating the phrase “Urruti, t’estimo” has remained as the culminating moment of a highly desired League.

Unfortunately, that extraordinary team from the 1984/85 season coached by Terry Venables had no continuity, and in 1986 they suffered a serious setback with the final of the European Cup in Seville, lost to Steaua Bucharest. Two years later, the sports crisis was quite evident, and the need for a thorough team renovation became urgent.

From 1988, good football and sporting success returned with Johan Cruyff as a coach. The board, chaired by Joep Lliís Núñez, opted for a series of footballers who brought enthusiasm and spectacle and who once again filled the Camp Nou.

FC Barcelona managed to get four consecutive league championships on track between 1990 and 1994. The conquest of the European Cup in 1992 marked the culminating point of this stage, remembered for the play of touch, the offensive desire, and the winning spirit of the players of Cruyff.

Baptized as the Dream Team of European football, it was a team with unique names, names that have made history: Zubizarreta, Bakero, Begiristain, Laudrup, Koeman, Stoichkov, Romario, Eusebio, Navidad, Guardiola, Amor, Juan Carlos, Ferrer, Nando, Julio Salinas, Serna, Alexanco and Goikoetxea.

With the Cruyff-Rexach duo on the bench, all of them made old ghosts of the past vanish and made Barça a world reference.

“I know the club, and I don’t want history to repeat itself. If we want to change things, we have to change history.” With these words, the Cruyff era began, marked by a change in philosophy, both in the team’s play, the total football of Rinus Michels’ Holland, and the locker room management, which fell exclusively to the coach. With Cruyff, Barça football experienced a glorious era. One European Cup, four League championships, one Cup Winners’ Cup, one Super Cup of Spain, one Cup, and three Super Cups of Spain is the impressive track record of the coach who imported rondos to training.

Bern, the scene of the fateful final of the European Cup in 1961, would now bring luck to Barcelona. On May 10, 1989, accompanied by 25,000 fans who had traveled to Switzerland, Salinas and López Rekarte sealed a 2-0 win against Sampdoria in Genoa. Cruyff’s new Barça raised the entity’s third Cup Winners’ Cup. After many years of disappointment, the fans returned to Canaletes and to the Plaza de Santiago to celebrate the success of the first football team.

Migueli occupies a privileged place in the club’s history for having been one of the men who has defended the Barça shirt the most times (668). He is also remembered for being one of the best central defenders who have passed through FC Barcelona. On September 5, 1989, his farewell was in a match in which Barça defeated the Bulgarian team. Migueli wore the colors he had defended for the last time for 16 seasons with two legends like Cruyff -who scored a goal- and Rexach.

Barça handball, coached by Valero Rivera, won the first European Cup on May 19, 1991, against Serbian Proleter, who fell 20-17 in a Palau packed to the brim, thus drying up the two-goal disadvantage he had from the first leg. The combination of veterans like Rico, Grado Sagalés, and Serrano, young promises like Masip and Barrufet, and the best player in the world, Vesselin Vujovic, obtained the most desired result. Thus began the European dominance of the Barça team, a team that, year after year, is among the top favorites to win everything.

On May 20, 1992, the dream came true in London, at Wembley Stadium, against Sampdoria Genoa. And the course of the history of FC Barcelona would change. Moments before jumping onto the pitch, Johan Cruyff gave the final instructions to his men: “Go out and enjoy yourself.” Extra time was reached with a scoreless draw. In the 111th minute of the match, a very powerful shot by Ronald Koeman from a direct free kick gave the first European Cup. 25,000 fans accompanied the team at Wembley. A million people took to the streets of Barcelona to welcome the European champions.

The League was the pending issue for Cruyff’s team, which had already won a European Cup Winners’ Cup (1989) and a Copa del Rey (1990). And Barça complied. Not only did a League come, but they chained four in a row (1991, 1992, 1993, and 1994), the last three won in the last game. The images of the footballers on the pitch waiting for the outcome of their direct rivals’ matches are part of the Dream Team’s golden album. Unfortunately, the triumphant cycle was broken for the next two seasons.

Few entities manage to become centenarians, and few achieve this constancy and continuity. The Centennial wanted to be the link between a glorious past and a future full of dreams.

The commemorative events were an outburst of Barcelona fans, an emotional journey through the club’s history celebrated throughout the year. Several prominent personalities from Catalan culture participated, and entities and the media were involved. The renowned artist Antoni Tàpies made the official poster for the Centenary, thus joining the work of other artists and writers of international prestige who have collaborated to enlarge the symbolic universe of FC Barcelona.

The 1998/99 season, coinciding with the Centennial celebration, also became historic due to its sporting successes: the four professional sections of the club – football, basketball, handball, and roller hockey – won the League title.

In 2003, with the election of Joan Laporta as president, a generation of young and dynamic leaders arrived who generated a real upheaval in the club. The priority of his government action was to make possible a sportingly winning team that feeds back the social dimension of the entity.

With this new stage, spectacular years begin from many points of view: sporting successes, exponential increase in the social mass, an economic dimension that places the club among the world elite, and commitment to the solidarity of unprecedented proportions until then materialized in the collaboration agreement that Barça signed with UNICEF in 2006 and projected Barça’s image of solidarity everywhere and definitively globalized more than a club.

After 39 years without achieving it, with Louis van Gaal, Barça did the double again (League and Cup). Dutch coach’s second season (1998/99) at FC Barcelona was also rewarded with the League championship. They thus won two titles in a row.

The club wanted the FC Barcelona Centenary celebration to last a whole year. Fans and athletes participated in a vast collective party from November 28, 1998, to November 29, 1999.

The acts began with a big party at the stadium. The moment Joan Manuel Serrat sang the Cant del Barça from the center of the game rectangle, before more than one hundred thousand spectators, is mainly remembered. Later, on April 28, 1999, one of the most emotional acts was the recognition of the hundreds of footballers who had defended the Barça shirt until then. All the surviving players who had passed through the ranks of FC Barcelona gave a lap of honor at the Camp Nou.

On May 11, 2003, Barça basketball broke the European curse and won the long-awaited Euroleague, formerly called the European Cup. After five defeats, the team trained by Svetislav Pesic and led by Dejan Bodiroga, Sarunas Jasikevicius, and Juan Carlos Navarro lifted the dream trophy by defeating Benetton Treviso 76-65 in a Palau Sant Jordi packed to the brim. Dejan Bodiroga was chosen MVP of the Final Four played in Barcelona.

In June 2003, the Barcelona partner gave his trust to a new Board of Directors headed by Joan Laporta. The new board signed Rijkaard as coach and Ronaldinho as the main icon on the pitch. The club came from four blank seasons. The arrival of the Brazilian generated a collective illusion in Barcelona that had not been seen for years.

Rijkaard’s team won the 2004/05 League with authority, a title he revalidated the following season. It was the confirmation of that powerful team led by Ronaldinho, with a squad reinforced by Edmilson, Giuly, Belletti, Sylvinho, and, above all, Deco and Eto’o, and with the decisive participation of homegrown players like Valdés, Oleguer, Puyol, Xavi, and Iniesta.

On May 17, 2006, Barça won the second European Cup, in Paris, against Arsenal, which they won 2-1. Goals from Eto’o and Belletti lit up the Saint-Denis stadium. The triumph of happy football, the so-called Jogo bonito, was a bold and daring play that was praised everywhere. Thousands of members and fans celebrated the victory in Paris. At the same time, millions did so in Barcelona and other cities inside and outside Catalonia.

In 2006, a historic agreement was signed with UNICEF whereby the club undertook to collaborate financially with the association for the protection of children and, in addition, to wear its logo on the first team football shirt. The first game with the shirt with the UNICE logo.

From the 2008/09 season, under the direction of Josep Guardiola, the team took on new energies. Following the style that Cruyff had initiated, Guardiola was a firm defender of the sporting model of the academy and counted on these young players from the beginning to form his team, which turned out to be the best in Barça’s history.

The triple nomination for the 2010 FIFA Ballon d’Or for Xavi, Iniesta, and Messi, three players trained at La Masia, brought international recognition to this sporting model that consists of educating, training, and promoting young players in all the club’s categories.

With this team, a model of success is consolidated that leads FC Barcelona to experience the best years of its history, with the achievement, among other titles, of two Champions Leagues and three League championships, as well as the long-awaited Club World Cup, culminating in a year, in 2009, in which the team won six titles, an unprecedented milestone in the history of world football.

Barça had broken historical records, had played memorable games, and had won the most outstanding titles. But the highlight of Guardiola’s team came in the Wembley final on May 28, 2011, where he mesmerized with his game and dazzled the world with dream football. The world press praised the game of this Barça. It surrendered to the excellence of a team, writing one of the most brilliant pages in football history. The Guardiola stage ended in 2012, but Barça continued to have successes with Tito Vilanova (2012/13 League), with Luis Enrique, who in 2015 touched on football glory with the conquest of the triplet: League, Cup, and Champions, and with Ernesto Valverde and his League-Cup double in the 2017/18 season.

To the successes of football were added those of the professional sections. The basketball, handball, roller hockey, and futsal teams became European champions several times. In addition, 2011/12, 2014/15, 2017/18, and 2018/19 seasons closed with a record figure: the Barça professional teams had 19 titles. Never in its 121-year history has FC Barcelona lifted so many trophies in a single season.

In 2008 Josep Guardiola accepted the difficult challenge of replacing Frank Rijkaard on the bench and forgetting two years without lifting a title. He applies the same game scheme he had tried at Barça as a player, with an attacking, possession, and association style of football. And he wins.

In his debut season, Guardiola gets the three titles at stake. And then the 2009/10 campaign began adding more victories to make Barça the team of the Six Cups (Cup, League, Champions, Spanish Super Cup, European Super Cup, and Club World Cup), achieved in the calendar year of 2009. And he continues to win. The successes follow each other until he achieves an impressive track record: he won 14 titles out of the 19 to which the team aspired in four seasons as a coach. Guardiola has become an absolute reference in world football. His Barça goes beyond the strictly sporting field and is observed from other social spheres.

FC Barcelona arrived at the Olympico in Rome with the possibility of winning the third title of the 2008/09 season after winning the Copa del Rey and the League. Guardiola faced the final with numerous casualties in defense. Manchester United started dominating, but Eto’o’s goal changed the game. Barça was far superior, and in the second half, Messi scored the final 2-0. On May 27, 2009, Barça won its third Champions League against the current champion and became the first Spanish team to achieve the triplet: Cup, League, and Champions League.

Under the direction of Josep Guardiola, the team sealed a dream year in which they won all possible official trophies. Six titles were won with authority and unanimous recognition of the team’s superiority on the pitch. At the end of the season, the escalation of joys was vertiginous, and the titles followed one another until the end of the year.

  • May 13 – King’s Cup
  • May 16 – League
  • May 27 – Champions League
  • August 23 – Spanish Super Cup
  • August 28 – European Super Cup
  • December 19 – Club World Cup

FC Barcelona made history with the nomination of Xavi, Iniesta, and Messi as finalists for the 2010 FIFA Ballon d’Or. Three footballers trained at La Masia occupied a podium that would be Barça’s. Journalists, coaches, and captains worldwide, the elite of world football, surrendered to the Barça style. For the first time, the three finalists came from the grassroots of the same club. It was a recognition of the work done at La Masia. Three cracks forged at home, educated in effort, humility, sportsmanship, and enthusiasm, were selected.