FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona – often known simply as Barca, is one of the most famous football clubs in the world. Based, as their name suggests, in the Catalonian city of Barcelona in Spain, it was founded in 1899.

Well known for its passionate fans, the culés, its motto is “El Barca es mes que un club” meaning Barca is more than a club, the team play in one of the football world’s most iconic stadium – Camp Nou, which opened in 1957 and holds an amazing 98,000 fans.

FC Barcelona has a long running and notorious rivalry with Spain’s other most famous club, Real Madrid. This rivalry stems from the opposing views of the two clubs during the Spanish Civil War. The Madrid based club was a representative for Castillian Spanish, the Spanish state of Castille and as Franco himself supported them, represented fascism.

As Barcelona was, and still is, the capital of the strongly independent area of Catalonia, the rivalry runs deep. During these times, the Catalan flag and language were banned by Franco, so the football club became the only outlet for Catalan nationalism. Things came to a head when, in 1941, Barca were told to lose a match to Madrid on purpose. In protest to this, they went on to let Real Madrid win the game 11-1, and Barcelona’s goalkeeper was banned for life.

In 1973, Dutch scoring legend Johan Cruyff signed to Barcelona for a then record amount equivalent to just under £1million (a huge amount of money in those days). His style of play was fast and smart and the fans loved him. After he helped FC Barcelona beat Real Madrid 5-0 in their own stadium and winning the league, the club had over 70,000 members, making it the then, most powerful club in the world.

Other than the Intercontinental Cup, FC Barcelona has won all known football trophies, and is one of only four clubs to have won the three major European trophies. It is also the only team to have taken part in European club competitions since 1955, and has never been relegated from the Spanish First Division since its inception in 1928.

FC Barcelona is also famous for refusing to allow until recently a sponsors logo to appear on their football jerseys unlike other clubs. This refusal is a symbol of Catalonia’s independence – even the mark of the kits manufacturer on the shirts is looked down upon. In 2005, Barcelona, accepted the logo of the main Catalan television channel and a fellow symbol of Catalonia, on the left arm of the shirts. Since the 2006-2007 season, FC Barcelona is paying UNICEF € 2 million per year to display the logo of this institution.

The Barcelona fans are often referred to as “cules”. This is a derivative of the Catalan word “cul” – which means, literally, backside. Although it sounds derogatory, the name comes from the early 20 th century, where, while seated in the highest parts of the football ground stands, those outside could see the backsides of the fans. Even after the ground was restructured, the nickname has stuck with the fans.

Barca has attracted the biggest names in football to come and play for them with legends such as Johan Cruyff, Gary Lineker, Rivaldo, Ronaldhino, Stoitchkov, Laudrup, Figo and Ronaldo, all gracing the hallowed turf of the Camp Nou.

Barcelona has now won the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 league championships in a row and crowned their achievement with the 2005-2006 Champions League. The core of the team has remained unchanged for a number of seasons and most players are still under contract until 2010.