What makes FC Barcelona such a special club? After living in Barcelona for a number of years, you get to appreciate what the club is all about. The Catalan people are very proud of their club and that pride is a mixture of culture along with the Catalan language. The saying; Barcelona, més que un club or Barcelona, more than a club is how the people feel about it.
You won’t go very far in the city of Barcelona without seeing a youngster in the club’s colours. Even older people show their pride by wearing the Barça shirt walking down the street.
Spain is very passionate as a whole regarding football but cities like Barcelona and Spain’s capital Madrid, take this to a whole new level. The Camp Nou has a capacity for 98,787 fans and it’s one of the best stadiums in the world. This is an all-seater stadium where fathers take their wives, sons and daughters to watch a great game of football. Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu stadium holds 81,044 fans and is also a great stadium to watch the game in.
FC Barcelona has had some of the best players in the world pass through its doors. Johann Cruyff, Maradona, Romario, Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, commonly known as Ronaldinho and now Neymar, Luis Suárez and the great Lionel Messi are just a few of its notable players to grace the green grass of the Camp Nou.
The club also has one of the best footballing academies on the planet. It’s commonly known as La Masia and some of the club’s greatest players have emerged from it. Players like Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta, Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets and recently retired captain Carles Puyol have all come through La Masia to prove themselves worthy of wearing the famous Barça shirt.
But not everybody gets a chance to prove themselves at the highest level and lots of players are either loaned out to some of the top European clubs or sold. The quality of player that this academy provides is nothing short of awe-inspiring. If the players do make it to the top, they will fit into the starting lineup like a fish takes to water. These young players instinctively know what to do and how to play Barcelona’s system.
Current manager Luis Enrique has managed to get away from Barça’s famous Tiki Taka style of play which we could say was invented by Johann Cruyff and then carried on by the great Pep Guardiola who won so much in his few years at the club before moving on to Bayern Munich.
For years in Spain, La Liga has been a two horse race for the title but now and then a new contender appears and gives the top two teams a run for its money. Lately, Atlético Madrid under the watchful eye of Argentine Diego Simeone has been a force to be reckoned with. Last season (2013/2014/ he guided Los Colchoneros to a league win which surprised both Barça and Real Madrid. Simeone has built a competitive side with very few resources – something of a feat these days in top flight football.
At the moment Barcelona has one of the most prolific attack forces in the world with Leo Messi, Neymar and Luis Suárez at the front. Not many teams can contain an attacking trio such as this and the 2014/15 season looks set to be one of the clubs best seasons for a few years. With Leo Messi firing on all four cylinders, Barcelona seem to be an unstoppable force and the little man is proving his worth as he inspire the whole team to greatness.
A lot of top players hang their boots up at Barcelona and the fans expect Messi to do the same. Football is a fickle game these days and no one knows what the future holds for a player. One day you are on top and the next minute you have fallen down the pecking order. A lot of fans would love to see Messi in another league, maybe to see if he can produce the same magic for FC Barcelona. However, if he does hang his boots up at the Camp Nou, he will retire as one of Barça’s true legends – something that could never be taken away.