Number of the Day: 6

Number of the Day: 6

São Paulo’s Douglas Pereira (24) is set to sign for Barça this weekend, making him the sixth Brazilian full back signed by the Catalan club this century. The full back position has been filled by a Brazilian ever since Juliano Belletti and Sylvinho wore the blaugrana shirts back in 2004. Remarkably, Belletti and Sylvinho were also products of the Brazilian club São Paulo. Culés around the world will never forget Belletti’s winner against Arsenal in the 2006 Champions League final in Paris. Sylvinho also featured both in the 2006 and the 2009 Champions League winning squad.

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The history of Barcelona – Elche

The history of Barcelona – Elche

Before last season, FC Barcelona and Elche CF hadn’t played each other in nearly 25 years. But before that, they were frequent opponents for the Catalans, and not without success: Elche has beaten Barça 8 times at home, and drawn 7 out of their 20 games at Camp Nou. Read more about the history of Barcelona vs Elche encounters after the jump.

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A century since Barça’s first doctor

A century since Barça’s first doctor

In the history of FC Barcelona there have been many important dates. Yet few people will know that today is one of the milestone dates in Barcelona’s route to becoming a fully professional club. Exactly 100 years ago, on August 12th 1914, the club appointed its first official team doctor. Read more…

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In memory of Josep Sunyol

In memory of Josep Sunyol

On August 6, 1936, FC Barcelona president Josep Sunyol was tragically murdered by a squadron of General Francisco Franco’s rebel fascist army during the Spanish Civil War. Today marks the 78th anniversary of his tragic passing and in memory Barça’s captain will wear a black armband in tonight’s match against Napoli.

The legend of his event has grown and is often cited in the eternal Barça-Real Madrid debate, the ultimate encapsulation of good vs bad. Stories have gone so far as it being a planned assassination. Tonight’s news is actually rather interesting as many over the decades have been unimpressed with the club’s effort to keep alive his memory. Those interested in all this and a lot more should invest in Sid Lowe’s terrific Fear and Loathing in La Liga. The chapters dedicated to the Civil War and Sunyol’s fateful last day are impeccably researched and written.

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Ruiz: “I invented the Barça method”

Ruiz: “I invented the Barça method”

The name Laureano Ruiz doesn’t get the instant recognition it should. Johan Cruyff, Pep Guardiola, even Rinus Michels register, but it can be argued the Ruiz got the primordial FC Barcelona/La Masia/tiki-taka ball rolling. Readers can get familiar with Ruiz in this previously published totalBarça piece. After the jump is an exclusive translation of a recent interview, the last carried out by Olé’s Jorge ‘Topo’ López (who passed away in an automobile accident during this summer’s World Cup) with the legendary Ruiz himself.

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On this Day: 40 years since Neeskens’ debut

On this Day: 40 years since Neeskens’ debut

August is generally a month of important dates for FC Barcelona. Following the 25-year anniversary of Ronald Koeman’s debut on the first of August, August 3rd brings yet another landmark date: The debut of another Flying Dutchman, Johan Neeskens. Neeskens was one of Johan Cruyff’s most trusted teammates at Barça and made his debut some 40 years ago, on the day of the official inauguration of the José Rico Pérez stadium in Alicante. The former midfielder played the second half as his team won 4-0 against their hosts Hércules. Read more…

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On this Day: 25 years since Koeman’s debut

On this Day: 25 years since Koeman’s debut

Today marks an important 25-year anniversary in the history of the club. August 1st is the day when one of the best ever Barcelona defenders, Ronald Koeman, made his debut with the club. The Dutchman, who has become deeply embedded in the hearts of culés thanks to his exploits with Barça, first pulled on a blaugrana kit in August 1989 during the club’s training camp in Hungary, in a friendly against amateur team VV Buitenpost. Koeman debut turned out to be a dream one: he scored 2 goals in 45 minutes in a 15-1 win. Read more…

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Barça sign their fifth Golden Boot winner

Barça sign their fifth Golden Boot winner

Luis Suárez became today the fifth Golden Boot winner to sign for FC Barcelona after sharing the award with Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo for the 2013/2014 season, finishing ahead of Lionel Messi, Diego Costa, and Zlatan Ibrahimović. Suárez scored 31 league goals in 33 appearances for Liverpool FC last season as the English club finished in second place in the Premier League and secured qualification for the Champions League. Hans Krankl, Hristo Stoichkov, Henrik Larsson, and Thierry Henry also joined the Catalan club after winning the prestigious award, and they did not disappoint.

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Belletti: “At Barça, you only have to worry about playing”

Belletti: “At Barça, you only have to worry about playing”

Juliano Belletti, a former FC Barcelona defender and famously known for his winning goal against Arsenal FC in the 2006 Champions League final in Paris, was interviewed by the club and asked about the World Cup experience, his time at Barça, Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr. as well as the undergoing changes at the club. Belletti’s goal marked the start of the club’s European success, winning Barça’s second Champions League trophy at the time, and very few can forget that rainy Parisian night. Continue reading for the full interview.

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On this Day: Rivaldo to the rescue

June 17, 2001. Only a draw would take Barça into the Champions League spots. 2-3 down at Camp Nou with next to no time to play. Then Rivaldo did what will never be forgotten.

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Remembering a special moment

Remembering a special moment

It is almost four years ago that Andrés Iniesta made the winning goal of the 2010 World Cup. With the 2014 World Cup on the horizon, people are looking back at that historic strike and remembering how Iniesta stripped off his jersey to reveal a message written to a fallen player: “Dani Jarque: Always with us.” Jarque played with FC Espanyol and died from a heart attack suffered during pre-season training in 2009 at the age of 26.

Dani Jarque’s wife, Martina, and daughter, Jessica, have written a letter that was published in Mundo Deportivo this weekend, thanking Don Andrés and telling him just what his gesture meant to them.

Full translation of the letter after the jump.

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On this Day: The unthinkable switch

On this Day: The unthinkable switch

On this day, 18 years ago, May 27th 1996, he made the unforgivable switch: Real Madrid to FC Barcelona. Over the course of history, 33 footballers have played for both clubs, but only 21 have made direct moves, and of those just three went from the capital to Catalonia. One of those three, and the last man to do so, was the new Barça boss Luis Enrique Martínez García, also known as Luis Enrique or Lucho.

Lus Enrique initially signed a five year deal, which he fulfilled then played another three seasons before leaving Barcelona and retiring from football is 2004. A decade later, he’s back.

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The eighth captain to coach

The eighth captain to coach

Luis Enrique has been appointed as Barça’s first team coach after he’s served eight years playing in the Blaugrana shirt while holding the captain’s arm brand much of that period. With this announcement, the Asturian becomes the eighth Barça captain to become coach, following very familiar steps as the legendary Pep Guardiola and becoming the only two coaches to have both captained the first team and coached the B team. Check out below the list of former captains that coached the team right after the jump.

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Did You Know?

Did You Know?

Did you know that the current managers of FC Barcelona (Luis Enrique), FC Bayern Munich (Pep Guardiola), Chelsea FC (Jose Mourinho) and Manchester United FC (Louis Van Gaal) all worked together at Barça from 1997 to 2000? A most intriguing fact indeed. During those years, the club won five trophies: one European Super Cup, two La Liga titles, one Spanish Cup and one Catalan Cup.
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A twenty year Barça journey between the sticks

A twenty year Barça journey between the sticks

There is a reason being an FC Barcelona goalkeeper is a famed occupation. Sport ran a piece today with the cover “18 keepers in 20 years,” and though that claim is exaggerated, the overall theme is not. Here is the odyssey between the sticks from Andoni Zubizarreta to Marc-André ter Stegen.

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What do we know about Luis Enrique as a manager?

What do we know about Luis Enrique as a manager?

FC Barcelona have announced the arrival of the team’s former player, Luis Enrique as the first team’s coach. Many have been expecting this announcement for a while, and now that it is official, what do we know about our new coach?

Enrique coached the club’s youth team, Barça B, from 2008 to 2011 and has done an exceptional job developing future Culés. Some of the players that got the chance to learn from the new Barça coach are Martín Montoya, Marc Bartra, Sergi Roberto, Jonathan Soriano (now at FC Red Bull Salzburg), and Thiago Alcântara (now at FC Bayern Munich). The team finished fifth in their group of the third division during Enrique’s first year in charge, but the team was able to clinch promotion to the Segunda División the following year.

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Nine leagues won on the last matchday

FC Barcelona will play for the title against Atlético Madrid on Saturday in the Liga’s final match of the season, in match that will decide the title. However, this is not the first time Barça have been in such a position. Nine times in the past, the club secured the Liga in the final Matchday. Read more after the jump…

Barcelona always responds well when it comes to securing the league title in the final Matchday. The first occasion came in 1929, when Barça beat Arenas de Getxo 2-0 away from home to seal the title.

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On this Day: It all began 5 years ago

On this Day: It all began 5 years ago

May 13th 2009 has gone down as a very important day on the Blaugrana calendar. Many culés regard it as the start point of the majesty of Pep Guardiola’s Barça. On that day, Barcelona won its first final under Guardiola, a 4-1 win against Bilbao in the Copa del Rey, and in the coming months, the club went on to make an unprecedented trophy haul including the Champions League, La Liga, the Supercopa, the European Supercup and FIFA Club World Cup. Read more after the jump…

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Picture of the Day: On this day five years ago

Picture of the Day: On this day five years ago

FC Barcelona’s Andrés Iniesta and Samuel Eto’o celebrate a goal against Chelsea FC during the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg match at Stamford Bridge May 6, 2009. Iniestas 93rd-minute goal sent ten-man Barcelona into the final against Manchester United FC on a night of incredible drama in London.

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Video of the Day: Iniestazo

On this day, five years ago, Andrés Iniesta scored one of FC Barcelona most important goals ever. He said he struck it with his soul, and one can believe it. Here’s a video of that great goal, with a poorly orchestrated attempt by Barça TV to recreate it. Iniesta took the recreation about as seriously as the intention.

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Video of the Day: On this day, 5 years ago

Five years ago today, Barça played a match that highlighted the start of a historic era for the club. That match was the 6-2 clásico in Santiago Bernabéu during Pep Guardiola’s debut season as Barça coach. A brace from both Thierry Henry and Lionel Messi, with a goal added from both defenders Gerard Piqué and Carles Puyol canceled out a mediocre Real Madrid. And a goal from Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Ramos was barely enough to match the beasts the club’s most decorated coach had created.

On this day, five years ago… we were unstoppable!

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On this Day: Pep and Tito debut

On this Day: Pep and Tito debut

Alright, not quite on this day, but due to technical difficulties we will take some liberty. So, on this day yesterday, May 1st, 1989, both Tito Vilanova and Pep Guardiola made their FC Barcelona debuts. In a friendly celebratory match for the club’s 75th anniversary, Barça defeated CD Banyoles 6-2 and because it was leading to the Cup Winners Cup final, then-manager Johan Cruyff used a contingent of B team players to give the first team some rest. A 25-years-younger Pep started the match and was substituted at half time for his friend Tito. Despite Cruyff telling Guardiola he was “slower than [his] grandmother,” Pep would go on to legendary status for the club whereas Tito left the club soon after and played at seven clubs in his eleven year career before working as a coach, academy director and director of football at several Catalan clubs. Of course, the two would reunite many years later and together take Barça to previously unimaginable heights.

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On this Day: 14 years of waiting ends

On this Day: 14 years of waiting ends

On this day, April 7th 1974, the La Liga crown returned to FC Barcelona after a 14 year absence. Inspired by the signing of Johan Cruyff from Ajax in the summer of 1973, including the original Real Madrid manita, and under the guidance of legendary manager Rinus Michels, a 3-1 victory at Sporting Gijon saw culés rejoice. It had been a difficult time for the fans of Barcelona and all Catalonians under the dictatorship of General Franco, and during this 14 year draught, Real Madrid had won nine league crowns as well as established themselves as Europe’s top dogs. Incredibly, this would be Cruyff’s one and only league title as a player for Barça. But of course, it was only the beginning of his Catalan story.

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Number of the Day: 50

Number of the Day: 50

Gerardo Martino didn’t get the “W” versus Atlético Madrid, and thereby did not genuinely best Pep Guardiola’s first 50 games in charge. Tata’s half-century reads 37 wins, eight draws and five defeats, scoring 136 and conceding 37. Guardiola has the exact same game record, but his 2008/9 side scored 133 and conceded 42.

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Stat of the Day: Better than Pep?

Stat of the Day: Better than Pep?

Tonight versus Atlético Madrid, Gerardo Martino reaches 50 games in charge of FC Barcelona. Despite all the many pages of criticism and debates about style and its abandonment, if the side win the game for Tata, he will have a half-century of matches statistically superior to Pep Guardiola, even if by only a hair.

Thus far Martino’s record reads played 49, won 37 (75.5%), drawn seven (14.3%) and lost five (10.2%).  That has been done with 135 goals scored and 36 conceded. Guardiola’s first 49 read exactly the same, but with three less goals scored (132) and five more conceded (41). The only manager in Barça’s illustrious history with a better record after 50 games is the late, great and controversial Helenio Herrera, who after his first 50 could boast 40 wins, five draws and five defeats.

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On this Day, Camp Nou began

On this Day, Camp Nou began

On this day, March 28th, 60 years ago (1954), the symbolic “first stone” was carried in a parade from the former Les Corts stadium to the site where work on Camp Nou broke ground. This was the second time the stone was carried to a stadium site, but now a days, it resides in the official FC Barcelona museum. As we know, the members voted to remain at Camp Nou, so the stone need not be removed from its display case. Seeing as the big referendum is just around the corner, it’s fitting to remember that just 10 years after the biggest war the world has ever seen, visionaries had the ambition and foresight to create a stadium like Camp Nou. The stadium became our home, and we all hope the remodeling project does every culé proud and will be the venue for many more historic moments.

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Esteemed company

Esteemed company

Gerardo Martino joins a rather esteemed group of FC Barcelona managers with a win at the Santiago Bernabéu in his debut season. This has only happened previously under four managers: Pep Guardiola (2-6, 2008/9), Frank Rijkaard (1-2, 2003/4), Louis van Gaal (2-3, 1997/8) and Terry Venables (0-3, 1984/85). Tata is also only the fourth manager to take the Real Madrid scalp both home and away in his first season, which Guardiola also managed with a 2-0 win, Van Gaal won 3-0 and Venables oversaw a 3-2 win at Camp Nou.

Not to jinx anything, but in each of those seasons Barça finished ahead of Real Madrid, winning the title on each occasion except Rijkaard’s.

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Messi: “I was formed with the values of La Masia”

Messi: “I was formed with the values of La Masia”

On the tenth anniversary of the BarçaTV show, Promeses, Lionel Messi sat down for an interview and talked about growing up blaugrana.  Leo made very clear what FC Barcelona has meant in his life. “Barça has given me everything. I was formed with the values of La Masia. I am what I am because of the values of the cantera.”

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Messi: FC Barcelona’s all-time highest goalscorer!

Messi: FC Barcelona’s all-time highest goalscorer!

Lionel Messi has surpassed Paulino Alcántara to become FC Barcelona’s all-time goalscorer in both official competitions and in friendlies. At the tender age of 26, the Argentine has broken Paulino’s record of 369 goals for the Catalan club, a record that stood for 87 years since 1927. A hat-trick against Osasuna puts Messi at 371 goals since his debut 10 glorious years ago in 2004.

All hail the king!

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La Remuntada anniversary

La Remuntada anniversary

On this day last year, FC Barcelona was heading into a clash against AC Milan after a series of disappointing results including the first leg of the tie along with two Clasico losses. Many people called it the end of an era, but the fans didn’t think so and neither did the team. Barça went on to demolish the Rosseneri 4-0 in a historic Champions clash thanks to two goals from Lionel Messi, and a goal for David Villa and Jordi Alba.

A year has passed now, and we’ve all witnessed moments of pride and joy along with moments of sadness and frustration. But one year ago when the team needed the fans the most, the Blaugrana faithful delivered. Now we head on to the match against Manchester City, at the same stage of the competition, at the same stadium most culés consider home. And just like last year, we head on to the match after a series of disappointing results. But Barça is much more than just a few matches. It’s bigger than Neymar and the board of directors. It’s bigger than Xavi, Iniesta, Messi and the entire team. It’s bigger than Tata Martino. Barça is the club we love and support, not just the Pep Guardiola era. So tonight we support our team regardless of the result, because if there’s one thing we’ve learned last year, is that neither Barça nor its fans like to give up on a challenge.