FC Barcelona, or Futbol Club Barcelona, is a sports club based in Barcelona, Spain. Though it is primarily known for its football club, FC Barcelona also consists of four other professional sports teams, competing in basketball, handball, futsal, and roller hockey. FC Barcelona, known familiarly by its fans as Barça, has been around for over one hundred years and has been consistently popular throughout.
FC Barcelona was founded in 1899 by Joan Gamper, a Swiss businessman who had relocated to Spain after falling in love with the country. Gamper sought to start a football club and placed an ad in a paper, receiving several responses and quickly assembling a team that went on to emerge as one of the leading teams in their home region of Catalonia and the greater country of Spain. In 1902, the club won the Copa Macaya.
In 1908, Gamper became club president in order to save the club from going under. FC Barcelona had been experiencing hardships due to many of their best players retiring and the fact that they had not won anything since 1905. Gamper was able to get the club its own stadium, formally moving into the Carrer Industria on March 14, 1909. Gamper was also able to recruit top-notch players and managers and get the club back into the business of winning with him at the helm. The club moved yet again in 1922 to an even larger stadium, Las Cortes, which eventually had a capacity of a whopping 60,000.
The mid- 1920s and 30s marked a period of hardship for the club. During this period, a crowd at a Barça game jeered the Royal March as a spontaneous objection to Spain's dictatorship. As a result, the stadium was shut down for three months and Gamper was forced to concede the presidency of the club. The club's founder committed suicide on July 30, 1930 following a bout of depression brought on by personal and financial problems.
After the Spanish Civil War, Dictator Francisco Franco banned football clubs from using non-Spanish names. As a result, FC Barcelona was changed to Club de Futbol Barcelona. During this period, the club was oppressed by Franco's regime, which favored their rivals, Real Madrid. Despite the political climate and oppression, FC Barcelona was able to go on and win many trophies and championships during the 1940s and 50s.
Though they became the first club to beat Real Madrid in a European Cup eliminatory in 1961, the 60s were not a great decade for CF Barcelona. Because the club lacked money to acquire better players after building a new stadium, the league was dominated by Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. The 1970s, however, saw the arrival of the soon-to-be-legendary Johan Cruyff, who led the team to the championship in '74.
Despite winning many championships, the next fourteen years saw the team experience conflicts with their management. Finally, in 1988 Johan Cruyff returned as team manager and assembled the "Dream Team", a group of elite players. Cruyff led the team to many victories and remains their most successful manager to date. After Cruyff's departure in 1994, managers and players came and went, but the team continued having limited successes.
Finally, in 2003 a young new president took over FC Barcelona. Joan Laporta brought in manager Frank Rijkaard and many international stars that led the team to many victories for a few years. In 2008, after many failures Laporta decided to replace Rijkaard with Barça B coach Josep Guardiola.