FC Barcelona is a football team based out of Barcelona, Spain. This team, known by its fans simply as Barca, has always been consistently popular ever since its inception in the 1890s. One of its most popular periods was during 1988 when former Barça player Johan Cruyff returned as club manager and assembled the Dream Team.
Cruyff's team, now dubbed the "Dream Team" after the US basketball team (which was composed of professional NBA players) that played at the 1992 Summer Olympics hosted by Barcelona. Cruyff brought in Spaniards Josep Guardiola, Jose Mari Bakero, Txiki Beguiristain, Jon Andoni Goikoetxea, along with Romanian Gheorghe Hagi, Dutchman Ronald Koeman, Dane Michael Laudrup, Brazilian Romario, and Bulgarian Hristo Stoichkov.
Under Cruyff's leadership, the Dream Team won four consecutive La Liga titles (the Spanish league in which they played) from 1991 to 1994. They defeated Sampdoria in the 1989 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final and the final match of the 1992 European Cup at Wembley Stadium with a famous Ronald Koeman free kick goal. In 1990, the Dream Team won a Copa del Rey, followed by the European Super Cup in 1992, and three Supercopa de Espana.
How exactly the Dream Team was able to accomplish what it did is open to speculation. Certainly you have to give credit to the players, none of whom had egos to match their considerable skills (or if they did they kept them in check), but you also have to consider their leader.
Johan Cruyff was a beloved figure in Barcelona due to the time he spent there as an all-star player for FC Barcelona in the 70s, during which he claimed that he had chosen to play for FC Barcelona over Real Madrid (their hated rivals) because he could not play for a club associated with former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco.
He also gave his son a Catalan (the region of Spain in which Barcelona is found) name when he was born, Jordi. Cruyff was named European Footballer of the Year in his first year with FC Barcelona and helped them win La Liga for the first time in fourteen years, defeating Real Madrid 5-0 along the way on their home field at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid.
Cruyff was renowned for his style of play and dynamic ideas on how the game should be played, which he learned during his pre-Barça days with AFC Ajax in Amsterdam. His style was called "Total Football" and consisted of a system in which a player could move out of his position and be replaced by another on the field. This effectively maintained the organization of the team yet allowed all players to play all positions. This inevitably trickled down to his players and allowed them to function as a cohesive, winning unit.
The "Dream Team Era" was one of many golden ages for FC Barcelona, and one that they would love to recapture. As with all sports teams, these eras come and go, and although the recovered some of its former glory under Frank Rijkaard, his team never lived up to the hopes of many Barcelona supporters.