More than a football club
In the course of more than a hundred years, “Barça” experienced moments of glorious fame and bitter disappointment, of ups and downs, of excellent victories and drubbings. All these stages contributed to the formation of “Barcelona” – a really great club.
The founder of the Football Club “Barcelona” Hans Gamper was born on November 22, 1877 in Switzerland. He went in for different kinds of sport: cycling, track-and-field athletics, and football. At the age of 20, he arrived in Barcelona and began to search for all those who were interested in sports, especially those who were interested in football. Simultaneously Gamper began to seek money to establish “Barça”, and on October 22, 1899, he put up an advertisement in the local sports magazine about recruiting the first members for the future club. In a month, the meeting of the responded to the call took place and therefore this date: November 29, 1899 is considered the birthday of the club. Gamper became member number one of the football club “Barcelona”, and in 1908, he became President of the club. Gamper familiarized with Catalonia, its culture and learned to speak and write in Catalan. However, in 1925 he was subject to dictator Primo de Rivera’s repression due to the reason that the dictator preferred “Real Madrid”. In 1930, Hans Gamper committed suicide.
“Barça’s” first match was the match against the English immigrants from Bananova (now it is the “Turo Park” team). It happened on Decembe 8, 1899 on tussocky, pitted by mice Bananova Velodrom football ground. The English team, the line-up of which included several players from “Barça”, won the game with the score: 1 – 0.
Since the very day of establishment of the club, the colour of the footballers’ uniform has been blue-cherry-coloured.
The official anthem of “Barcelona” is Canto del Barça (the Song of Barcelona), composed in 1974. The authors of the lyrics are Josep Maria Espinas and Jaume Picas, of music – Manuel Valls I Gorina. The official premiere took place on November 27, 1974, at the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the club in the performance of Sant Jordi Choir (Saint George Choir).
The stadium of the club is called Camp Nou, which in translation means “New Field”. The stadium is one of ten most spacious stadiums in the world and has been ranked by UEFA to five-star stadiums of the highest standards. The stadium was constructed in 1957 and its official name until 2001 was Estadi del FC Barcelona (Stadium of the FC Barcelona), but people called it Camp Nou. Only in 2001, the governing board voted for the name popular among people.
First it was envisaged that the stadium would bear the name of Hans Gamper – the founder of the club, but later it was decided to take a more neutral name: Estadio del Club de Futbol Barcelona (Stadium of the Football Club Barcelona). Nevertheless, among people the stadium was known under the name Camp Nou, because in comparison with the old stadium Les Corts it was new.
Eight years after opening of the stadium, President Enrique Laudet summoned a meeting at which they discussed the adoption of the official name of the stadium. Among the possible variants were Estadi Barça and Estadi Camp Nou, but the majority voted for Estadio del CF Barcelona (Stadium of FC Barcelona). In spite of it, most of the fans and journalists preferred the name Camp Nou and, therefore in 2001, President Joan Gaspartsummoned another meeting, at which most of the members gave their votes for this name.
The stadium, speaking with confidence, may be added to the list of Barcelona’s attractions.
The dimensions of the stadium are impressive. At present, its seating capacity is for 112 000 people.
Besides the football-ground Camp Nou comprises a recreation centre. In addition, since 1971, it has had a sports hall where basketball, volleyball and handball teams are in training. In the premises of the stadium is housed the museum of “Barcelona” Museu Futbol Club Barcelona President Nunes (Museum of the Football Club Barcelona President Nunes).
The museum was open in 1984 and it is the most visited museum in the whole of Catalonia. The rich collection illustrates the glorious history of “Barcelona”, which is rightfully considered the best football museum in the world. The cost of the ticket counts the visit to the stadium and the opportunity to skate on the skating-rink.
Besides football matches Camp Nou is famous for concerts given by celebrated actors in it. Moreover, in 1982 during the World Championship the stadium was visited by the Roman Pope John Paul II, who was admitted as a member to the club under number 108 000.
Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Julio Iglesias, Pablo Domingues, Luciano Pavarotti, and Jose Carreras gave concerts at Camp Nou. Fashion shows also are held at Camp Nou. For sure, in this case a great number of marriages between footballers and top-models play a certain role.
Camp Nou is also a place where they traditionally present new players to the public and celebrate the team after winning the next in turn trophy. When “Barcelona” bought Ronaldinho, 30 000 people came to the stadium to see the presentation of the new star.
In the summer of 2008, the legendary player Josep Guardiola headed the team (now he is the coach of “Barça”).
His progress as a coach was taken notice of and already by the end of May of 2008, the young ambitious professional had become the head of the Catalan club, for which he had played for many years and began a cardinal reorganization of the line-up and the principles of the club. In the very first season he brought the “the blue-cherry-coloured” to the first in the history of the club triple, having won the Championship of Spain, the National Cup and the Champion’s League.
Josep Guardiola is a true patriot of his own favourite club. He has cooperated with the duplicate club “Barcelon B” for six seasons at a stretch. The experienced coach could raise his team to unprecedented heights – “Barcelona B” has become a dominating club in its league.
President of “Barcelona” Sandro Rosell declared that the present chief coach of the team Josep Guardiola is the best tutor of the Catalans in the whole history of the club. The official expressed his hope that the 40-year-old professional would head “Barça” in the stretch of many coming years. While working as coach of the team Guardiola became thrice a champion of Spain and twice won the League of Champions.
“Guardiola is the best coach of “Barcelona” in the whole history of the club. I hope that he will not retire from his position earlier than I retire from my presidency. I would like to hope that he would manage for many years ahead to make the fans happy by the excellent playing of the team”, - cites “Sport.es” Rosell’s words.
“Barcelona” is the best team in Europe, and it goes without any doubt. Now it is in an excellent physical fitness. It is seen in the way how “Barça” conducts the game, and by the fine situations it creates when attacking the opponent goal”, - explained Torres (the forward of the Spanish representative team) in his interview given to “The Liverpool Daily Post”.
“Last season our respect to “Barcelona” was rather strong that is why we are losers”, - quotes “The Sun” the words of Fabergas (halfback of the Spanish representative team, played in “Arsenal”). “We know that at present the Catalans – is the best club in the world. It would be not easy to beat them but possible. Our team is young, but it has already gained much experience and energy”.
The forward of “Madrid Real” Gonzalo Higuain in the interview to the Spanish periodical ‘AS’ announced that in his opinion the Catalan “Barcelona” today is the best team in the world. “However hard it is to acknowledge but today “Barcelona” is the best team on our planet”.
Fernando Gago (an Argentine footballer, the player of the Italian club “Roma” and of the Argentine representative team) in his statements given to the programme “Pura Quimica” of the Argentinian ESPN, collected by the sports Yahoo, surprised all, having admitted “Barcelona’s” priority over his own team: “Barcelona” is the best team. It is the best in the whole history. It, by far, outpaces “Real Madrid”, and the fans think that it is possible to beat them, however, it was impossible to do it this year”.
“I believe that it is the best team in the history of football. Besides Lionell Messi – is the best player that has ever existed”, - said Souness (a Scottish footballer, the captain of the legendary “Liverpool” of the early 80-ies).
“I would like to say that at present the best team in the world is “Barcelona”, - declared Melo (a Brazilian footballer, halfback) in the interview to the official site “Yuve”.
Jose Mourinho (the coach of “Real Madrid”): “Barça” – is the best team in the world in the art to control the ball”.
The ex-forward of the English representative team Harry Linker: “I can say that this “Barcelona” is the best team I had ever seen”.
The defender of “Manchester United” Patrick Evra admitted: “I have lost twice to this team and it is rather bad. Now “Barça” – it is an objective truth – is the best team in the world and for us it is rather hard to admit it because “MU” always aims at being the first one”.
“Barcelona” – is the best team I had ever seen and the best of those with whom I played. The whole team plays at a high tempo, and I think, we will be able to dominate in the home leg”, - said Wenger (the chief coach of “Arsenal”).
“Lionell Messi utterly deserves the title of the best player in the world, and today’s “Barça” is the best team in the whole history of football. Messi has honestly deserved everything. He is a wonderful player of a wonderful team. Lionell is attributed to such type of footballers that the public likes: he scores, feints, and can foresee the development of the game earlier than his opponents”, - thinks the ex-forward of “Barcelona” Allan Simonsen.
Even to those who do not like football, who have never been to a football match and do not understand the rules of the football game, it is necessary to see, at least once in their life, the stadium Camp Nou and the play of the legendary “Barça”.
A huge stream of fans dressed in blue cherry-coloured football-shirts of the club, fathers and mothers with their children, grandmothers and grandfathers with their grandchildren, big companies of merry girls and boys, companies of friends – all in a long line go towards the entrance of the stadium to see once again their idles. Already on the eve of the match the fans are in happy, exultant mood, they are overwhelmed by the sensation of the coming holiday and look forward to the victory of their favourite team.
The play of this team, whoever its opponent be, - is like a theatre performance and demonstration of great skillfulness.
The atmosphere in the biggest in Europe stadium, the unique illumination, the anthem, the solemnity of the whole activity – surprise by their unusual tension against the background of culture and unison of stands with the playground.
The stadium is simply smart and surprisingly quiet, if we can call quietness the wish of thousands of fans the game to be won by their favourite team, and the warm encouragement coming from the stands that love their footballers and take close to heart each nuance of the game, watch attentively and fan wholeheartedly for the team.
The line-up of today’s “Barça” – consists of the most experienced footballers, whose playing is not only well coordinated, their playing is analogical to a thought over cooperation, imperceptible mutual understanding, virtuosity combined both with softness and non-aggressive manner to defeat the opponent playfully.
Messi’s goals are like fabulous child’s smiles, non-offending and persistent, sometimes it seems that the footballer pays no attention to the opponent, and at times with a slight irony winds the opponent round his little finger and unexpectedly sends the ball right into the opposing goal.
Messi’s cosmic talent charms the stadium and the fans sing: “Messiiiiii, Messiiiii, Messiiiii!” – It does not sound like chanting of some phrases or rhymes, but that is a demonstration of reserved, respectful admiration of the playing of the genius sportsman. The fabulous chorus of thousands of fans, spectators, worshipers expresses admiration.
“At the moment football player number one in the world – is Messi. It is beyond any doubt. It is a mere pleasure to watch his playing in “Barcelona”. The style of his playing and his control of the ball are exquisite”, - Pele, from the interview given to the journalists of AS.
“Messi – is a phenomenon. He plays without looking backwards, always goes only forward. Lionell is the last rebel. He is afraid of nobody and nothing, no matter who stands before him. He is one of my favourite footballers. Of course, he deserves to be compared to me”, - shared his opinion Diego Maradona.
“We all know who Lio Messi is. He has once again proved that he can solve situations alone, even though he has not had much training this summer. To win such a pile of trophies within these years, one should posses a great variety of different qualities. Among our players, he is the one, who is able to pull all the others after him. We have Lio. Having attached all the rest to him, we will get a wonderful collective”, - quotes Guardiola’s words the official web site of UEFA.
The character of the team is vividly demonstrated in the matches with “Barça’s” main opponent Madrid “Real”, at which the king’s club play rather hard and always try to cut Messi out of the game, but “Barça” does not challenge aggression with aggression. Messi’s conduct surprises and delights the whole stadium; he is cheered as well as the other players of the team after each beautifully performed dribbling feint or action, even if they could not net a goal.
Surprises the wave, produced by the jumping up from their seats audience, which moves across the stadium several times! The sea of arms going up and down remind of the sea of rapture and unanimous support.
“Barça’s” playing is art of the highest professionalism, a theatrical performance, and something else that is unaccountable and enchanting. Perhaps it is the very thing that people are used to call genius and inexplicable beauty.
Author: Catherine Shutova
Translator: Nicholas Zamyatkin