Things you need to know about barcelona's championship

Updated: 2013-05-13 07:20

(China Daily)

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Early days

Founded in 1899 by Swiss businessman Hans Gamper, Barca won Spain's inaugural 10-club league championship three decades later with 25 points, two more than Real Madrid.

The victorious team included Barca legend Josep Samitier, a center forward whose acrobatics earned him the nickname "lobster man", and was coached by Englishman James Bellamy and Spaniard Roma Forns.

Civil War and revival

Barca went into steep decline during the political turmoil of the 1930s - club president Josep Sunyol, a member of parliament for a pro-Catalan independence party, was shot dead by Francoist forces in August 1936 - and did not win a second league title until 1945.

The Hungarian connection

The arrival of Hungarians Ladislao Kubala, Sandor Kocsis and Zoltan Czibor in the 1950s, as well as Spaniard Luis Suarez, transformed the club. Although i was competing against Alfredo Di Stefano's magnificent Real side, it won consecutive titles in 1959 and 1960 under coach Helenio Herrera.

New home pays off, after a while

To cement its status as a European force, Barca built the massive Nou Camp stadium, finished in 1957, but the 1960s was a depressing time for its fans, with Real dominating Spanish and continental soccer.

However, success was again short-lived and it had to wait 11 years before its next triumph in 1985 under another Englishman, Terry Venables.

Dream Team

The hiring of Johan Cruyff as coach in 1988 sparked a golden age and his hugely entertaining side became known as the "Dream Team", winning four straight league titles between 1991 and 1994 and Barca's first European crown in 1992.

After Cruyff's departure, a couple of titles under his Dutch compatriot Louis van Gaal, including in the club's centenary year of 1999, took their tally to 16 overall.

Pep gets promoted

When coach Frank Rijkaard's project turned sour, president Joan Laporta looked within the club for a replacement, promoting Pep Guardiola, one of the stalwarts of the Dream Team, from reserve team coach in what proved one of the most momentous decisions in the club's history.

Helped by the incredible goal-scoring exploits of Argentine Lionel Messi, the club won 14 trophies under the former midfielder.

An exhausted Guardiola, wearied by his battles with Real coach Jose Mourinho, stepped aside and was replaced by his assistant and close friend Tito Vilanova.


(China Daily 05/13/2013 page24)