FC Barcelona: More than a club? Barça has long since only mocked its motto

Once FC Barcelona was an expression of freedom through football, today it is synonymous with scandal and self-destruction.

For the fans of FC Barcelona, ​​who will almost certainly be angry after these lines, let me say one thing straight away: I was once a fan of this club too. I fell in love with the club as a kid and obviously was very lucky with the time I was growing up.

I remember trying to imitate Ronald Koeman’s Wembley-winning goal with my friends on the street outside my house. Then there was Hristo Stoichkov and Romario who wet Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister and inflicted a painful defeat on Manchester United. I was excited!

Like Bobby Robson, I threw up my hands in disbelief when Ronaldo turned away to celebrate THE goal against Compostela. I still get goosebumps when I think about it.

And “nevertheless” Barça always stood for much more than phenomenal players and magical moments…

FC Barcelona: Mes que un club

And it was once more than just a club. At least that’s what it looked like and felt like. And not just for me, but for millions of people around the world.

Like most football fans born before the internet era, my father taught me the history of football. Of course, he also taught me a lot about FC Barcelona, ​​from Ireland’s Patrick O’Connell to Johan Cruyff, arguably the most influential figure football has ever seen.

But more importantly, he taught me how the Catalans were persecuted in Spain. How they were prevented from speaking their own language or waving their own flag.

I was just a kid and definitely not Catalan, but I grew up in an Ireland still plagued by the ‘Trouble’. It would have been hard not to fall for the myth that surrounds Barcelona. The similarities between Ireland and Catalonia just seemed so obvious.

Even more so when I read Jimmy Burns’ book ‘Barca: A people’s passion’. That gave me the validation I needed: I may be from Dublin but I could be a Barca fan.

However, almost everything the iconic blue and red jersey once stood for has been hollowed out.

Since 2006, a name has been emblazoned on the jersey and the deal with UNICEF has not only been condoned but praised as Barca have been promoting it and even paying the organization to raise awareness for their work on children’s rights around the world.

Barça: Impeccable images dragged through the mud

And a grossly misguided one at that.

Barcelona are now synonymous with recklessness, self-destruction and disastrous deals in the transfer market. The club has lurched from one scandal to another, from the resignation of Sandro Rosell over the aftermath of the Neymar transfer to the resignation of Josep Maria Bartomeu which left the club on the brink of bankruptcy.

Bartomeu’s premature departure should obviously herald the end of a scouring era of corruption – and yet Barca’s once-proud name continues to be slandered.

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