Happy birthday, FC Barcelona: 120 years of a truly special football club

  • Kat Lucas

Barcelona celebrate their 120th anniversary at a curious moment in their history.

Off the pitch, the club remain the symbol of Catalan independence and resistance at the most pertinent time. They are ‘més que un club’, in fact.

On it, there are rumblings they are not quite the force they were. 

A strange statement, perhaps, for a team top of their domestic league and into the knockout stages of the Champions League. 

Yet with his unimaginative and unbefitting tactics, Ernesto Valverde continues to limbo well below that tremendously high bar that his predecessors have set. 

The Blaugrana are statistically the sixth most successful club in the history of football. In reality, they are so much more than that. 

With 91 trophies, only Celtic, Atletico Penarol, Club Nacional de Football, Rangers, and Al Ahly have lifted more silverware. 

Barca’s achievements have eclipsed all of those. Perhaps most proudly, they outweigh Real Madrid’s trophies by one, courtesy of their 26 La Liga titles, 30 Copas del Rey and five Champions Leagues. 

No other club has won two trebles, the first coming in 2008/09 and the second in 2014/15. 

Nor has one Academy produced so many sensations as the famed La Masia; Lionel Messi, Xavi, Pep Guardiola, Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol, Guillermo Amor, Sergio Busquets. 

Football is one part of the Barca identity. At the same time, the Barca identity is football. 

Since the turn of the century alone, in MSN we have witnessed arguably the greatest front three of all time. We have thrilled at the skill of Ronaldinho and utterly failed to comprehend the genius of Messi. 

The subtle touches of Busquets and Xavi have mesmerised students of the game. 

The greats of the modern era have walked boldly in the footsteps of Johann Cruyff, the Dutch traditions of total football still embodied at Camp Nou. From Ronald Koeman’s European Cup final free-kick to Messi’s header, the whole continent has been in awe. 

Entire generations will recall watching one of the greatest teams ever. 

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