FC Barcelona is a professional soccer team that plays in the Spanish La Liga. They are based in Barcelona and are often referred to as the Catalans.
Barcelona was founded on November 29, 1899. They play their home games at Camp Nou, a stadium with 99,354 seats. The club has been performing at the highest level during the past two decades. The history of the Catalans is one filled with success, which can be reflected in their vast trophy cabinet. They have won 26 La Liga titles, a record 30 Copa del Rey, 5 UEFA Champions League, 4 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, a record 5 UEFA Super Cups, and 3 FIFA Club World Cup. Besides, they have won many other professional trophies.
Barcelona youth academy, La Masia, is also one of the world’s most iconic soccer institutions. The academy has produced some of the world’s most prominent players like Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Puyol and Lionel Messi. Let us dive into the club’s history to see how they became one of the biggest sporting organizations.
|November 29, 1899
Foundation Of FC Barcelona
In 1899, accountant Hans Gamper came up with the idea to create a soccer club. He placed an advert in Los Deportes, and the response was outstanding. Later on November 29, 1899, a meeting regarding the setup of the soccer team got scheduled. Eleven members presented themselves, including Water Wild. FC Barcelona came into existence, and Wild became the first director of the club.
Gamper was chosen as the club captain in 1899. He played for Barcelona for nearly five years. During his time as a Catalan player, Gamper scored over 100 goals in just 48 matches.
FC Barcelona had a great start in the national and regional cups. In 1902, the club got their hands on the first trophy of their history called the Copa Macaya. In their first Copa del Rey, they finished runners-up to Vizcaya.
The club performance started to deteriorate with the retirement of their best players. As they were unable to make proper replacements, the performance of the team dropped further. The impact was inevitable as the club financial status crumbled. To save Barcelona from such downfall, Gamper decided to take over as the club’s President in 1908.
The Hans Gamper Era
Hans Gamper spent 25 years at the club, and during his time, Barça moved to their new stadium, the Carrer Indústria. It could accommodate a capacity crowd of 6,000 soccer fans. To celebrate this occasion, FC Barcelona got their new club logo that Carles Comamala designed.
Moving forward, Gamper decided to recruit more members as part of the club’s staff. By the time 1922 came, the club had recruited as many as twenty thousand partners. With the club members’ support, they moved to the Les Corts, a stadium with 20,000 seats. The pitch size got increased to contain 60,000 fans.
At their new stadium, Barcelona took part in the Pyrenees Cup. This tournament contained some of the best French and Spanish teams across the world. Barcelona won the title for four consecutive years.
Gamper helped Barcelona out of the financial problems. The club was now able to recruit players again. Gamper brought in Paulino Alcántara, one of Barça all-time leading goalscorers. In 1917, Gamper appointed Jack Greenwell as the club manager. The team started to perform well again. Under Hans Gamper, the club won 21 trophies, including 6 Copa del Reys.
Post Gamper And Barça Fall
In 1925, Hans Gamper had to leave his role as the club’s President due to an unfortunate turn of events. The Barcelona home ground got closed for half a year.
In 1929, Barcelona won their first-ever La Liga competition. However, in 1930, their former President Hans Gamper committed suicide. According to his relatives, he was suffering from depression due to the financial problems the club was facing.
In March 1938, FC Barcelona got hit with aerial bombardment resulting in the death of over 3000 people. As per the reports, one of the bombs hit one of the club’s offices. Only 3486 club members remained.
As a result of this bombardment, severe restrictions were imposed on the club. The Catalan banner got removed from the club’s original flag, and the name got changed to Club de Futbol Barcelona.
Second La Liga Title
In 1943, FC Barcelona faced bitter rivals Real Madrid in the Copa Del Rey. Barcelona won the first match 3-0. However, Real Madrid beat Barcelona 11-1 in the return leg, marking one of the most lopsided score lines in history.
Despite the political struggles, Barcelona was able to maintain its dominance in the 1940s and the 1950s. In 1945, they won their first La Liga title in 16 years.
Under Ferdinand Daucik and Laszio Kubala, they won 2 more La Liga titles in 1951 and 1953.
Decline Of FC Barcelona
Under Helenio Herrera, FC Barcelona won the double in 1959. They maintained their winning run by winning the La Liga crown again in 1960. Despite beating Real Madrid in the European Cup playoff, they finished runners-up to Benfica.
Things only went downhill after that. Real Madrid had monopolized the League. The restructuring of the home stadium meant that the club could not flex its muscles in the transfer windows.
Despite these struggles, the club somehow showed competitiveness under Josep Maria Fuste. FC Barcelona clinched the Copa del Generalisimo in 1963. They repeated the feat by beating Real Madrid in the final of 1968.
Once the Franco dictatorship ended, the club reverted its name to Futbol Club Barcelona and brought the crest back (as it was before the aerial bombardment).
In 1974, Barcelona won the La Liga title, dispatching bitter rivals Real Madrid 5-0 in the process.
Stability Under Nunez
In 1978, Josep Luis Nunez took over the club presidency. Nunez had a strict policy regarding the club’s soccer heritage and wages. He aimed to make Barcelona one of the most exciting soccer teams in the world.
In 1979, the words of Nunez bore fruit as the club won the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup by beating FC Basel 4-3. In the same year, Nunez also created a roadmap for the club’s academy (La Masia). He invested in various scouts so the most considerable talents can come to their academy and show their potential.
In 1982, one of the world’s greatest players, Diego Maradona, signed for the club. He played for only two seasons scoring a total of 22 goals in La Liga. He eventually left for Napoli in 1984.
In 1985, FC Barcelona won the La Liga title under Terry Venables. They reached their second European Cup final the following year. However, they lost a close final to FCSB.
Venables was eventually sacked in 1987 due to his inability to produce results on the pitch. Furthermore, there was uncertainty regarding Nunez as the players rebelled against him the following season. These rumours did not last for long. Barcelona played against Real Sociedad in the Copa del Rey final in 1988. The Catalans won the trophy by winning 1-0.
Johan Cruyff Is Barcelona Coach
In 1988, Johan Cruyff returned as the manager of the club. Through the La Masia youth program and his signings, he created one of the most exciting teams of all time.
Under his management, FC Barcelona won 4 La Liga titles in a row from 1991 till 1994. In 1992, they won the European Cup by beating Sampdoria. With Cruyff in charge, Barcelona was able to win 11 trophies, making him the most successful manager of Barcelona’s history at that time.
However, it did not end well for Cruyff as he fell out with Nunez and left his role in 1996. He got replaced by Bobby Robson for a season, who got replaced by Louis Van Gaal.
Louis Van Gaal And The Catalans
Under Van Gaal, FC Barcelona won the double in 1998. However, the club could not match their rivals, Real Madrid, on the European stage. Therefore, both Van Gaal and Nunez respectively left their roles by 2000.
After Louis van Gaal, the club went into another phase of decline. FC Barcelona became one of the most volatile clubs as managerial sackings became common at the club.
Van Gaal returned to the club in 2002 to bring some stability. Instead, the club suffered another decline and sat in the 15th position on the La Liga table in February 2003. It resulted in Van Gaal’s sacking. FC Barcelona finished that season in 6th place.
Joan Laporta And Frank Rijkaard
A few months later, Joan Gaspert also left his role as the club president as the club was going through its worst spell. However, things were about to change after the appointment of Joan Laporta as the club president.
He appointed Frank Rijkaard as the manager. The newly appointed manager brought in some of the most exciting players, such as Ronaldinho and Andres Iniesta. Rijkaard also spoke massively about Lionel Messi, saying he could be the greatest player to have ever played the game.
Barcelona won two consecutive La Liga titles in 2005 and 2006. The Catalans also clinched their second Champions League trophy in 2016. In the final, they defeated Arsenal by 2-1. Arsen Wenger men were leading by one goal in the first half. Goals from Samuel Eto’o and Juliano Haus Belletti secured the trophy for Barcelona. The final was played at Stade de France.
Barça was unable to retain their La Liga title the following season. They finished runners-up to Real Madrid. They also lost to Internacionale in the FIFA Club World Cup final. In the Champions League, they lost to Liverpool in the Round of 16.
In Rijkaard’s final season, Barcelona finished third in the La Liga. Their Champions League campaign was put to an end by Manchester United in the semi-final. The Red Devils went on the win the trophy by defeating Chelsea in the final on penalties.
Pep Guardiola And The Tiki-Taka
In 2008, Pep Guardiola got appointed as FC Barcelona manager. He was previously coaching the Barcelona B team. He brought the tiki-taka style of play with him. His methodologies and pattern brought positivity on the pitch as FC Barcelona demolished Athletic Bilbao 4-1 in the 2009 Copa Del Rey Final.
They regained their La Liga title in 2009, beating Real Madrid 6-2 in the process. They also defeated defending champions Manchester United 2-0 in the Champions League final, winning their third European crown.
Their 2009 season did not end there as they won the Spanish Super Cup, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup. By doing that, Barcelona had become the first team to win six trophies in a calendar year, called the ‘sextuple’.
More Success Under Guardiola
In the 2009-10 season, Guardiola’s men repeated their domestic performances by defending their Copa del Rey and La Liga crowns. However, they lost to Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan in the Champions League semi-finals.
In the 2010-11 campaign, Guardiola’s team won their third La Liga title in a row. They gained their revenge over the Portuguese coach by beating his Real Madrid side 5-0 in the home La Liga game. They also qualified for the Champions League final, where they faced Manchester United.
The final was played at the Wembley Stadium. Barcelona produced a remarkable performance to win the match by 3-1. Pedro, Lionel Messi and David Villa were on the scoresheet for The Catalans. Wayne Rooney scored a consolation goal for Manchester United.
In the Copa del Rey final, Barcelona was opposed to their rivals Real Madrid. The match took place at the Estadio Mestalla Stadium. Fifty-five thousand fans were present in the stadium as the game ended 0-0 after 90 minutes. A superb goal from Cristiano Ronaldo in the 103rd minute of the extra time sealed the 18th Copa del Rey trophy for the Los Blancos.
Pep Guardiola Says Goodbye To FC Barcelona
In Guardiola’s final season, FC Barcelona was able to regain their Copa del Rey title. However, they finished runners-up to Real Madrid in the La Liga. Furthermore, they lost to Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals.
In 2012, Tito Vilanova replaced Guardiola. Barcelona was able to regain its La Liga title. However, they got embarrassed 7-0 by Bayern Munich over two legs in the Champions League semi-finals.
Luis Enrique As Guardiola Successor
In 2013, Gerardo Martino got appointed as the manager. He was unable to bring any silverware to the club and eventually left his role after one season. He got replaced by Luis Enrique.
Under Enrique, Barcelona became the first club to win multiple trebles in 2015. They beat Real Madrid to the La Liga title, Athletic Bilbao to the Copa del Rey title, and Juventus to their 5th Champions League title.
In the 2015-16 season, they were able to defend their La Liga and Copa del Rey crowns. They also lost to Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final.
In Enrique’s final season, they defended their Copa del Rey crown. However, they finished runners-up to Real Madrid in the La Liga standings. Despite their unbelievable comeback from four goals down against PSG, they crashed out of the Champions League quarter-finals against Juventus.
In 2017, Ernesto Valverde replaced Luis Enrique as the manager. In 2018, Barcelona was able to win the La Liga title. However, they exited the Champions League quarter-final stage again, letting a three-goal lead slip against AS Roma.
In the following season, despite retaining the La Liga title, Barcelona lost to Liverpool in the Champions League semi-final. They bottled a 3-0 home advantage to lose 4-0 at Anfield in the second leg.
2020 And The Future
The year 2020 proved to be a year of managerial merry go round for FC Barcelona. Ernesto Valverde got sacked in January after losing against Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Supercup. He got replaced by Quique Setien.
Barcelona finished runners-up to Real Madrid in the La Liga race. They were knocked out by Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-finals. It resulted in Setien getting sacked only seven months after becoming the Barcelona manager. Eric Abidal also left his role as Barcelona’s director of soccer. Ronald Koeman became the new manager.
After a chaotic summer in which their superstar, Lionel Messi, handed in the transfer request, there were questions over the club’s direction. It increased the pressure on Bartomeu. However, Messi stayed. In October, Josep Bartomeu announced his resignation as the club President.
March 7, 2021, FC Barcelona Presidential Election
The FC Barcelona 42nd Presidential Election took place on March 7, 2021. Nine candidates showed their interest in the position, including former club President Joan Laporta.
Laporta was declared the winner after amassing a total of 54.28% of the votes. The newly elected President said that he aims to bring back joy to Barcelona fans.
The past decade has been horrible for FC Barcelona. However, there is optimism within the supporters that the club under stable management can return to its glory days.