Futbol Club Barcelona (also known as Barcelona and familiarly as Barça,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 second most valuable sports team in the world, worth $3.2 billion, and the world’s fourth richest football club in terms of revenue, with an annual turnover of €484.6 million.The official Barcelona anthem is the “Cant del Barça”, written by Jaume Picas and Josep Maria Espinàs.
Domestically, Barcelona has won 23 La Liga, 27 Copa del Rey, 11 Supercopa de España, 3 Copa Eva Duarte 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 five UEFA Champions League titles, a record four UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, a shared record five UEFA Super Cup, a record three Inter-Cities Fairs Cup and a record three FIFA Club World Cup trophies.Barcelona was ranked first in the IFFHS Club World Ranking for 1997, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2015 and currently occupies the second position on the UEFA club rankings.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 social media following in the world among sports teams.Barcelona’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 made history when three players who came through its youth academy (Messi, Iniesta and Xavi) were chosen as the three best players in the world in the FIFA Ballon d’Or awards, an unprecedented feat for players from the same football school.
Barcelona is one of three founding members of the Primera División that 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 UEFA Champions League, and also became the first football club to win six out of six competitions in a single year, completing the sextuple in also winning the Spanish Super Cup, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.In 2011, the club became European champions again and won five trophies. This Barcelona team, which reached a record six consecutive Champions League semi-finals and won 14 trophies in just four years under Pep Guardiola, is considered by some in the sport to be the greatest team of all time.In June 2015, Barcelona became the first European club in history to achieve the continental treble twice.
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.
During the dictatorships of Miguel Primo de Rivera (1923-1930) 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. 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.During Franco’s regime, however, the blaugrana team was granted profit due to its good relationship with the dictator at management level, even giving two awards to him.
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 their stadium is named, fought on the Nationalist side during the Spanish Civil War.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. The 1960s saw the rivalry reach the European stage when they met twice in a controversial knock-out round of the European Cup, with Madrid receiving unfavourable treatment from the referee. In 2002, the European encounter between the clubs was dubbed the “Match of The Century” by Spanish media, and Madrid’s win was watched by more than 500 million people.
Barcelona goalkeeper, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, is a proposed January transfer target for Liverpool.
The German international moved to the Nou Camp from Bundesliga side, Borussia Monchengladbach in May 2014 – however, he is currently unhappy with the Spanish, and European champions.
Having initially signed for the club has their number one choice prior to the start of last season, the 23-year-old has been reduced to just 12 appearances so far this season, as Claudio Bravo has been preferred in-between the sticks.
In another bitter blow to his chances, ter Stegen had subsequently been left out of the party for the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan.
Manager Jurgen Klopp is keen to add a new goalkeeper to his playing squad after the struggles of both Simon Mignolet and Hungarian Adam Bogdan.
Former Bolton Wanderers man, Bogdan, who made his top-flight bow for the Reds in Sunday’s defeat at Watford – made an error leading to the first-goal, in the 3-0 defeat at Vicarage Road.