One of the biggest football clubs in the world, FC Barcelona or more commonly known as ‘Barça’ by fans, is also one of the most successful clubs in the history of football. Since its establishment, Barcelona has been a major symbol of Catalonia and its culture, as evidenced by its motto, which says “More than a club”. Let us know about the astonishing history and the legacy it’s carrying forward to the future.
It all started in 1899 when Swiss executive Hans Gamper published a local advertisement that he wanted to make a football club based out of Barcelona and called interested people for a meet. After some months, 11 people attended this meet and this is how FC Barcelona came into existence. Walter Wild became the first official president of the club for a period from 1899 to 1901. In the initial years, the performance of the club was quite average, and in 1902 they won their first trophy in the form of Copa Macaya.
In 1908, Hans Gamper who was then known as Joan Gamper, the founder of Barca, himself took over the Presidentship from 1908-1925, as the club was suffering from financial instability.
In 1909, Barcelona moved to Camp de la Indústria stadium whose capacity was 8000 people to celebrate this achievement they held a people’s contest where contestants submitted their logo designs for the club representation. Carles Comamala became the winner of this logo contest and even today his logo design is used by Barcelona as its crest with only mild variations.
After the inauguration of the new stadium, a new tournament too came into existence called the Pioneers Cup which was played amongst some teams from Southern France and Catalonia. This Cup was won by Barcelona four consecutive times from 1910 to 1913 under the management of Carles Comamala, the same person who created the logo design for the club. After 1917, we see Joan Gamper very successfully mobilized the local crowd and more than 20,000 members became a part of Barcelona and the club reached financial stability to some extent. In 1922, the club moved to another stadium, Camp de Les Corts. Gamper made Jack Greenwell the first full-time coach of the club and the club began to slowly thrive.
During Gamper’s era of Presidentship, Barcelona won 6 Copa del Rey going through their first golden age. Following 1925, Barcelona and its people went through a very turbulent time, due to different factors mainly related to politics like the Spanish Civil War, internal conflict etc. In 1925, a royal March of the then Spanish dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera was jeered by the Barcelona crowd and as a result, the dictator punished the club and their ground was closed for about 6 months. This led to Joan Gamper’s resignation from the club’s President post but still, the performances of the club didn’t get hampered very much and they even won the inaugural Spanish league title in 1929. However, the financial condition of the club was really bad at the time and due to the political tension, the club members were also harassed in many cases.
Unfortunately, these situations led to the suicide of Joan Gamper in 1930 which was a very dark period in the history of FC Barcelona. When the Civil War started in 1936, many Barcelona players enlisted themselves against the military uprising. During this uprising Josep Sunyol the then President of the club was murdered by the Francoist regime in 1938. The Barcelona team in 1937 went on a USA and Mexican tour where they were received nicely and due to political motives they were given financial support too but they faced many difficulties in playing for local Spanish tournaments because of the uprising and half of the players took asylum in France and Mexico.
It all got worse when the Italian air force caused an aerial bombardment in Barcelona where more than 3000 people and life under Franco was becoming difficult from a political point of view as the club was forced to change its name to the less Catalonian and Anglian sounding Barcelona Club de Futbol and the Catalan colours were removed from the crest. Despite these troubles, Barcelona enjoyed average success during the 1940s and 1950s.
Josep Samitier the then coach of the club made the team win the La Liga title in 1945 after a long gap from 1929. Following this, they won two La Liga titles in 1948 and 1949 too. In 1950, László Kubala was signed under coach Ferdinand Daučík and they won 5 cups including the 1953 La Liga and Copa del Rey titles.
The financial condition and team performance began to grow during these periods. In 1978, Josep Lluís Núñez came as the president of the club and the first and foremost thing he did was to establish La Masia, FC Barcelona’s youth academy by buying a farmer’s plot. One important policy of Núñez was that the high-wage demanding footballers should be released without meeting their demands as the club’s financial stability was the priority and for this reason itself, the club let go of many popular players like Diego Maradona, Ronaldo, Romário etc.
In 1988 Johan Cruyff came back to the club as its manager and assembled a dream team that consisted of excellent players like Pep Guardiola, José Mari Bakero, Ronald Koeman, Hristo Stoichkov etc, which a mix of players from La Masia and International signings. Pep Guardiola was one of the first graduates of La Masia and he went on to become very successful and is one of the best coaches in world football right now.
The Modern Era:
After an unstable period again during the early 2000s, Joan Laporta became the president of Barcelona and then the club bought Ronaldinho from PSG, and this signing changed the course of the club’s fate. Laporta also appointed a young manager for the club, Frank Rijkaard and made a very strong team for the upcoming tournaments.
In the 2004-2005 season, Barca won the La Liga title as well as the Spanish Super Cup. Barcelona achieved another huge success in 2005-2006 when they won their second Champions League title against Arsenal scoring 2-1 and for this performance, Ronaldinho won the Ballon D’or title in 2006. In the same season, Barca defeated Real Madrid by 3-0 in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in the La Liga. But the following two seasons the club remained trophy-less and therefore Rijkaard was sacked. This is the time when Pep Guardiola was promoted to the main team’s manager status and the club was about to taste great success for a long time.
During Frank Rijkaard’s last two seasons a young player emerged whose name is Lionel Messi who takes the football world by storm and is ultimately today’s G.O.A.T. Under Pep Guardiola, a magnificent team was created consisting of some signings and the majority of La Masia graduates. The 2008-09 season was very successful for the club, they won the treble in the very first season of Pep Guardiola, along with victories in La Liga and Copa del Rey and not to mention they won the Champions League title by defeating Manchester United in the finals and this is the time Lionel Messi won his first of many Ballon D’or and continued to win 4 Ballon D’or for 4 consecutive years from 2009-12.
In 2010 we saw that Barca won the La Liga title again and then also won the 2010-11 season’s Champions League defeating Manchester United once again. Then we witnessed the beast form of Messi in 2011-12, wherein in the 2012 season he broke the goalscoring record of Gerd Müller in a calendar year scoring 91 goals.
Barcelona’s domination started to fade in the 2011-12 season. They got out in the semifinals of the Champions League, however, they won Copa del Rey but lost in the race for the La Liga title to Real Madrid. Later we see the arrival of Neymar from Santos which was a big signing at that time, however, they were not able to win the 2013-14 season but then Luis Suarez was signed by Barca from Liverpool and Josep Maria Bartomeu became the club president along with Luis Enrique was the manager then and after that, the club won the next treble and the world witnessed the lethal partnership of Messi, Suarez and Neymar (MSN) which led the team to perform extraordinarily and Barcelona started dominating the world football scenario with ease.
After Luis Enrique, Ernesto Valverde became the club manager. Barcelona has been failing to gain any major European success as Barcelona’s last Champions League title win was in 2015. Ernesto Valverde was eventually sacked by the club in January of 2020 and was replaced by Quique Setien but the situation was not that good and the humiliation of Barca against Bayern Munich by 8:2 is still a nightmare for many Barcelona fans.
Again, many scandals started to show up dragging the name of Bartomeu and the club drained out of financial resources. And after years of dedication to the Barcelona team, in 2021, Lionel Messi departed from the club which was absolutely heartbreaking news for Barca fans from all over the world. Even the signing of Antoine Griezmann backfired. After Setien, Ronald Koeman became the club’s manager who somehow managed one season for Barcelona and in 2021 Barca won the Copa del Rey title.
If we analyze this current season, it has not been going well for Barca and right now Xavi Hernandez who is a La Masia graduate is the current coach of Barcelona and it seems like the club is looking to rebuild itself from scratch.
Barcelona is a club that is known for gifting the football world with great talents. La Masia is the most reputed youth academy in the whole world bringing talents that have a great mind such as Pep to exceptional talents like Messi. The future also looks promising with the addition of great young talents such as Eric Garcia, Gavi, Araujo and Ansu Fati.
The club may have been through bankruptcy but that does not mean the end for them and still, they are able to make big signings. The future is promising for FC Barcelona.
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, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2017–18, 2018–19
Copa del Rey:
1910, 1912, 1913, 1920, 1922, 1925, 1926, 1928, 1942, 1951, 1952, 1952–53, 1957, 1958–59, 1962–63, 1967–68, 1970–71, 1977–78, 1980–81, 1982–83, 1987–88, 1989–90, 1996–97, 1997–98, 2008–09, 2011–12, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18, 2020–21
Supercopa de España:
1983, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2018
Copa Eva Duarte:
1948, 1952, 1953
Copa de la Liga:
UEFA Champions League:
1991–92, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2010–11, 2014–15
UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup:
1978–79, 1981–82, 1988–89, 1996–97
UEFA Super Cup;
1992, 1997, 2009, 2011, 2015
Inter-Cities Fairs Cup;
1955–58, 1958–60, 1965–66
FIFA Club World Cup;
2009, 2011, 2015