FC Barcelona have been a fixture of Spanish football for over a century. Founded in 1899 by a group of Swiss, Spanish, English, and Catalan footballers led by Joan Gamper, the club has become a symbol of Catalan culture and Catalanism, hence the motto “Més que un club” (“More than a club”). Unlike many other football clubs, the supporters own and operate Barcelona, similar to the NFL’s Green Bay Packers. It is the fourth-most valuable sports team in the world, worth $4.06 billion, and the world's richest football club in terms of revenue, with an annual turnover of €840 million.
They are still among the top tier of European clubs, having lifted the La Liga trophy 26 times, 10 since 2005. In the same period, the Copa de España has been claimed a record 30 times (six times including the last four), and the Champions League five times. That said, the Catalans have not topped Europe’s premier competition since 2015. But with success comes complacency and with complacency comes inconsistency. In the 2018-19 season Barcelona lost in the Copa de España (Copa del Rey) final against Valencia and were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League thanks to a 4-0 comeback from Liverpool in the Semi-Finals; last season they failed to win another LaLiga title and were slaughtered by a Bayern Munich squad in what the biggest defeat in history in a UEFA Champions League knockout match.
In no less than a year, the squad will be completely scrubbed clean of the old guard that endured so much success under managers such as Frank Rijkaard, Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique. With names like Luis Suárez and Arturo Vidal out the door and Lionel Messi aging, time is ticking on whether Barcelona can lift the Champions League again. The question remains: Can someone take this brilliant squad to one last European crown as a new dawn of Barça football is fast approaching?