Since the early nineties, when FC Barcelona was still under the charge of sporting legend Johan Cruyff, journalist Simon Kuper has had an intimate connection with the football club, and unprecedented access to staff and facilities. In this book, Kuper tracks the history of FC Barcelona from Cruyff to Lionel Messi. He analyses the largely unchanging structure of the club (from its Catalan merchant-class directors down to its impressive pool of footballing talent), and reveals the localised, long-term focus that has long guided its workings. He studies how the revolutionary ‘Barcelona Innovation Hub’ is shaping the club’s future, how the football philosophy is built on a cross-pollination of different sports such as waterpolo and basketball, and, crucially, how a nutritional revolution is constantly optimising the fitness of the players.
WINNER OF THE FOOTBALL BOOK OF THE YEAR
‘This is a masterfully written history of the world’s greatest football club. MÃ©s que un book!’ – GARY LINEKER
From the bestselling co-author of Soccernomics comes the story of how FC Barcelona became the most successful football club in the world – and how that envied position now hangs in the balance.
BarÃ§a is not just the world’s most popular sports club, it is simply one of the most influential organisations on the planet. With almost 250 million followers on social media and 4 million visitors to its Camp Nou stadium each year, there’s little wonder its motto is ‘More than a club’. But it was not always so. In the past three decades, Barcelona has transformed from regional team to global powerhouse, becoming a model of sporting excellence and a consistent winner of silverware.
Simon Kuper unravels exactly how these transformations took place. He outlines the organisational structure behind the club’s business decisions, and details the work of its coaches, medics, data analysts and nutritionists who have revolutionised the sporting world. And, of course, he studies the towering influence of the club’s two greatest legends, Johan Cruyff and Lionel Messi.
Like many leading global businesses, FC Barcelona closely guards its secrets, granting few outsiders a view behind the scenes. But, after decades of writing about the sport and the club, Kuper was given unprecedented access to the inner sanctum and to the people who strive daily to keep Barcelona at the top.
Erudite, personal, and capturing all the latest successes and upheavals, his portrait of this incredible institution goes beyond football to understand BarÃ§a as a unique social, cultural, and political phenomenon.
“I began my research thinking I was going to be explaining Barca’s rise to greatness, and I have, but I’ve also ended up charting the decline and fall.”