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His first game was the inauguration of the José Rico Pérez stadium
He played the full second half of a 4-0 win for Barça
Sunday 3 August marks the 40th anniversary of Johan Neeskens’ debut for FC Barcelona in the match to inaugurate Hercules’ José Rico Pérez stadium in Alicante.
Signed from Ajax, Neeskens was one of the stars of Holland’s spectacular run to the Germany 1974 World Cup Final. Barça, with another Dutchman Marinus Michels on the bench, signed him to team up with his compatriot Johan Cruyff, on the assumption that they’d be able to quickly sort out Spanish nationality for Peruvian Hugo Sotil, which ultimately was not the case.
On August 3 1974, Barça were in Alicante for the inauguration of the José Rico Pérez stadium, which was full to its capacity of 30,000 to see newly promoted Hercules in action against the 73/74 league champions. Barça cruised to a 4-0 win with goals from Rexach, Asensi, Cruyff and Pérez.
Neeskens only played the second half and had a quiet game, having had very little time to adjust to his new team. But he did provide fleeting glimpses of the talent that would serve FCB so well over the next few years.
The Dutchman had a remarkable fighting spirit and always finished matches with his shirt drenched in sweat. He was given a hero’s send-off when he left the club in 1979, with tears in his eyes as the crowds in Plaça Sant Jaume chanted his name the day after winning the Cup Winners Cup in Basel.
Teams representing Barça 2006 and Porto 2004 met at the Do Dragao in honour of one of Portugal’s finest ever players
Leo Messi played in the second half and Deco played one half with each team
The Do Dragao Stadium in Porto was the venue on Friday evening for a testimonial to one of Europe’s most decorated players, Anderson Luis de Souza ‘Deco’. More than 50,000 people were there to enjoy a match between representative teams of the two clubs with which the man with 75 international caps for Portugal won the most honours during his glittering career: Barça and Porto.
It was a historic night as members of Barça’s 2006 Champions League winning squad took on those that won the same title two years earlier with Porto at Gelsenkirchen in 2004. Deco was in both winning teams, and tonight was a reunion for a number of old friends.
Barça well represented
There were representatives of FC Barcelona past and present both on and off the pitch. Leo Messi, who is enjoying the last few days of his vacation, was there to honour his former colleague by playing the second half, and shortly before kick-off the director of the social department, Pau Vilanova, presented Deco with a commemorative plaque in the name of the Club. It was a doubly special night for Messi, because it also marked his return to the stadium where he made his Barça first team debut in a friendly played on November 16, 2003.
Messi and Eto’o back together
The Barça team, managed by former assistant coach Ten Cate, featured (in addition to Messi) the likes of Samuel Eto’o, Juliano Belletti, Gio van Bronckhorst, Ludovic Giuly, Sylvinho, Mark van Bommel, Oleguer Presas, Santiago Ezquerro, Albert Jorquera, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Edgar Davids, while the Porto line-up included Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira, Jorge Costa, Nuno Valente, Benni McCarthy and Dmitri Alenichev. Deco played one half of the game with each team, as did goalkeeper Vitor Baia, who also played for both clubs during his career.
The outcome game mattered much less than the carnival atmosphere created by the 50,000 spectators that packed the Do Dragao. The final result was 4-4, with Deco scoring once for each, and Messi scoring a fine goal from an Eto’o cross. Just like old times! All in all, it was marvellous night to remember some of the heroes of the night that Barça won its second continental title.
“Deco deserved this”
Leo Messi spoke to Porto’s television channel after the match, saying that “Deco deserved this, both as a footballer and as a person … He’s a player I learned a lot from, as did so many other team-mates. There was no way I was going to miss this event”. He added that “it has been lovely to come back to the place where I made my debut eleven years ago.”
Ladislao Kubala was the most famous of the Hungarians that played for FC Barcelona in the 1950s.
This video tells the story of the two other Magyars of the same era that have also gone down in Barça folklore
Hungary produced its finest generation of footballers in the 1950s, known to the world as the Mighty Magyars, and three key members of that team played a huge role in the legendary FC Barcelona team of the 'Five Cups' era.
This fascinating video looks at the story of Zoltan Czibor and Sandor Kocsis, including interviews with the players' own sons as they explain how they escaped from their homeland following the Soviet invasion, and were brought to Barça by fellow Hungarian Ladislao Kubala.
The 41 year old Brazilian was at Barça from 1997 to 2002, when he scored 136 goals and also won the Ballon d'Or
Rivaldo used social networks to reveal that “with tears in my eyes I’d like to give thanks to God, my family and for all the support I have received in 24 years as a player. Today I’m announcing to my fans around the world that my history as a player has reached its end.”
The now former striker is unquestionably one of the greatest players ever to play for Barça. He excelled here for five years between 1997 and 2002. Rivaldo (Recife, Brazil, 1972) arrived from Deportivo la Coruña for the 1997/98 season, as a direct replacement for his compatriot Ronaldo. Tall and strong, he did so brilliantly with the kind of skill rarely seen before, a tremendous left foot, exquisite dribbling ability, a powerful shot and an outstanding capacity to score from set pieces.
Best in the world 1999
He wasn’t a natural centre forward, but tended instead to play out wide or just behind the attack, but still managed to score an astonishing amount of goals for FC Barcelona: 136 in 253 appearances. He was always a discrete person who preferred to so his talking on the pitch, and was rewarded with the Ballon d’Or in 1999.
Some of the fondest memories of his time at FCB include a famous hat-trick at the San Siro, a brace (with another goal inexplicably disallowed) at the Bernabéu in 2000/01, and most of all his spectacular last-minute overhead kick against Valencia to ensure qualification for the following season’s Champions League. At Barcelona, Rivaldo won two leagues, one cup and one European Supercup.
After winning the 2002 World Cup with Brazil, Rivaldo left Barça to spend two seasons at AC Milan. Since then, he also played for clubs in Brazil, Greece, Uzbekistan and Angola. He is currently president of Brazilian Serie C club Mogi Mirim, where is son Rivaldinho is among the playing squad.
He was in the Barça first team for 14 years and played 470 games, scoring 133 goals
Playing at full back, he was one of the key members of the famous team of the Five Cups
In 1969/70 he acted as caretaker manager between Salvador Artigas and Vic Buckingham
Last night, Josep Seguer Sans passed away at the age of 90. Then former Barça star’s funeral will be on Friday at 12.00 in l'Hospitalet de l'Infant. Born in Parets del Vallès (Barcelona) on May 6, 1923, Seguer dedicated a large part of his life to FC Barcelona after joining the club’s amateur team in 1940 from CF Parets.
After going on loan to Granollers in 1942/43, he returned to FCB, and remained in the first team for fourteen seasons (1943-1957), playing 470 games and scoring 133 goals. He also had four international caps for Spain. He started out as a midfielder, and it was from that position that he helped the team to several titles in the forties. But Seguer was famously versatile, and played in several other positions before eventually settling for full back.
Star of the Five Cups
Seguer was both strong and skilful, and it was never easy for opponents to predict his next move, earning himself the peculiar nickname of 'Diesel' because of the incredible amount of ground he would cover during a game.
In 1951/52, under manager Ferdinand Daucik and alongside the great Ladislau Kubala, Seguer was one of the mainstays of the famous team of the Five Cups, playing in defence next to Biosca and either Martín or Segarra, in that wonderful team of closely-knit friends, most of whom were locally born, and who all used the Catalan language to communicate.
By 1956/57, Seguer was becoming a veteran and struggling to hold his place in the team, which is when he decided to end his long spell at FC Barcelona. At Barça he had won five leagues (1944/45, 1947/48, 1948/49, 1951/52 & 1952/53), four Spanish Cups (1950/51, 1951/52, 1952/53 & 1956/57), two Latin Cups (1948/49 & 1951/52) and two Eva Duarte Cups (1948/49 & 1951/52).
Caretaker between Artigas and Buckingham
But Seguer did not leave football after FCB. He signed for Betis, where he became player-manager in 1958/59. He then did the same at Manresa, before coaching the FC Barcelona amateur team for three years from 1961/62. From November 1961, he was assistant first team manager to Ladislau Kubala, and remained in the post until the 1963/64 season, where he was also assistant to Josep Gonzalvo and Cèsar, while also coaching the amateur side. In 1964, he left to manage Lleida, and after that Terrassa, before returning to Barça in 1969 to coach the reserves, known at the time as El Condal. But just five games into the season, following the dismissal of first team manager Salvador Artigas, Seguer stepped in as caretaker manager until the arrival of Vic Buckingham in January 1970, under whom Seguer served as assistant.
In 1970, he became the first manager of Barça Atlètic, the new FCB reserve team following the merger of El Condal and Atlètic Catalunya. He remained in the job until the 1971/72 season
Anderson Luis de Souza played for FC Barcelona for four seasons. In that time he won two league titles, two Super Cups and the Champions League
Anderson Luis de Souza announced this Monday that he’s officially retiring from football. Deco is hanging up his boots after 17 successful years as a professional footballer. The player, born in Brazil but of Portuguese nationality, played for Barça for four seasons, where he won two Ligas, tow Spanish Super Cups and the Champions League. Under the tutelage of Frank Rijkaard, and team-mates with Ronaldinho, Eto’o and company, Deco was one of the leaders of the Barça side that regained its winning mentality, a mentality that still persists today.
Deco signed with FC Barcelona in the summer of 2004, after being named the best player of the Euro Championship played in Portugal. The player featured 124 times for Barça, he scored 35 goals and he was named the best player of the Champions League in 2006.
In the summer of 2008 he signed with Chelsea. He played two seasons in London, where he won the Premier League, two FC Cups and the Community Shield. He also made 75 appearances for Portugal and scored 5 goals in his international career. In 2010 he returned to Brazil, where he concluded his successful 17-year career as a professional footballer.
Barça legend Antoni Ramallets passes away
Ronaldinho legendary goals
From 2003 through 2008, the Brazilian dazzled football fans with magical and almost unbelievable goals. Review the best goals with this two videos:
RONALDINHO 1ST PART
RONALDINHO 2ND PART
The Argentinian and the Brazilian will pair up to lead Barça's attack next season
Before them, Kubala and César, Cruyff and Sotil, Kluivert and Rivaldo or Ronaldinho and Eto'o left their mark on the Club
Leo Messi and Neymar Jr will feature for the same team next season. The two footballers, who recently played against each other in a charity match, will form an attacking duo that could very well mark an era in Blaugrana football.
Deluge of goals at Les Corts
Barça’s first great attacking duo was formed by Césat Rodríguez (1942-55) and Ladislao Kubala (1951-61), two players who devoured defences at Les Corts Stadium for four years. The Hungarian revolutionised Barça in the 1950s with his tremendous skill and César played his 'Number 9' role to perfection. The two of them scored a total of 571 goals for the Blaugrana (291 for César and 280 for Kubala).
Another legendary pair in FC Barcelona history was Johan Cruyff (1973-78) and Hugo Sotil (19733-76). The two players started their Barça careers in the summer of '73, and the Dutchman’s magic, combined with Sotil’s mobility, allowed Barça to win the league title that season. The two players continued on at Barça for two additional seasons, until 1976, when Sotil returned to Peru.
Heroes of the 1982 Cup Winners Cup
Three years later, in 1979, the Dane Allan Simonsen (1979-82) arrived to Can Barça where he paired up with Quini (1980-84). The two players shared the same team for only two seasons, but in that time they won the Copa del Rey and the Cup Winners Cup. Simonsen and Quini both scored in the final against Standard Liège (2-1).
Nearly two dreamlike seasons
The most devastating duo of the 90s was made up by Hristo Stoitxkov (1990-95 and 1996-98) and Romario (1993-95). In addition Laudrup’s creative contribution, the Bulgarian and the Brazilian were the embodiment of attitude, power, accuracy and imagination on the pitch, a lethal combination that carried FC Barcelona to its fourth consecutive Liga title and to the final of the Champions League. The two footballers went on to seduce the world with their football in the 1994 World Cup.
Patrick Kluivert (1998-04) and Rivaldo (1997-02) led FC Barcelona into the 21st century. The combination of the Dutchman’s elegant right foot with the Brazilian’s left proved lethal to Barça’s opponents. They carried the team to a 1998/99 Liga title, and that same year, despite playing on the wing under Van Gaal’s orders, the Brazilian claimed the Ballon d’Or award.
Magic and character
The most recent duo to grace the Camp Nou’s pitch was made up by Ronaldinho (2003-08) and Samuel Eto’o (2004-09). They helped the team to back-to-back league titles in 2005 and 2006, as well as the Champions League crown. The two players combined for a total of 263 goals. Ronaldinho led the team with his creativity and Eto’o stood out for this pace, hunger in front of goal and character.
Enjoy our selection of the best goals scored by FC Barcelona legends
Today’s Legendary Goals chapter is the perfect episode to bring the video series to a close. Barça TV has selected some of the best goals scored by Amor, Bakero, Begiristain, Eto’o, Guardiola, Henry, Kluivert, Koeman, Laudrup, Luis Enrique, Rivaldo, Romario, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Stoichkov and brought them together for the final epidose. Enjoy!
Guillermo Amor was one of FC Barcelona's first modern-day legends. He featured for the Blaugrana from 1988 through 1998
Guillermo Amor, born in Benidorm (Alicante) on December 4 of 1967, played for Barça’s first team from 1988 through 1998. The midfielder was one of the first La Masia graduates to make a lasting impact on the first team and throughout his Barça career he scored some unforgettable goals.
The second part of Barça TV’s look back at some of Patrick Kluivert’s best goals, scored between the 2001/02 and 2003/04 seasons
Barça TV looks back at some of the Barça striker’s best goals between 1998 and 2004. This time, the episode focuses on the goals he scored between the 2001/02 and 2003/04 seasons. The former Dutch international netted some truly beautiful efforts.
Patrick Kluivert was the Barça striker between 1998 and 2004. Six seasons in which scored some magnificent goals thanks to his exquisite talent
Patrick Kluivert, born in Amsterdam on July 1, 1976, joined FC Barcelona from AC Milan. He was tall, strong forward with plenty of European experience. For six seasons, he assisted Barça with its outstanding ability and excellence. This is the first part of Barça TV’s look back at some of Kluivert’s finest goals, a veritable delight for any Barça member or supporter.
The FC Barcelona Players Association and the Club paid tribute to two of the team's most storied players
Antoni Ramallets and Josep Seguer, two FC Barcelona legends, were given a warm and emotional welcome this Saturday afternoon by the Barça Players Association and the Club. Many of the players’ friends were present at the ceremony, in addition to President Sandro Rosell, who noted: “because of my age I wasn’t able to see you play, but my father, who is here, told me about you. I tip my hat to the both of you, José and Antonio.”
One of the most moving moments of the event was when a pre-recorded video of Ramallets, who couldn’t attend due to health reasons, showed on the main screen. “I would have liked to attend because I only get to see my friend Seguer, who is one year older than me, once in a while,” said Ramallets. “I would have liked to share this dedicatory event with all of you.”
“He’s still ‘Don Antonio’”
“I fell three times in just a couple of days and I can’t go anywhere without my walker. I can’t complain about my life and from what I see you love me,” said Josep Seguer when he took to the stage. The ex-Barça player wasn’t the only one to give a speech to the attendees, Ángeles, Ramallets’ daughter, said the following about her father: “he’s still the same. He has a lot of character, that’s the way he is. He’s called ‘Don Antonio’ at home.”
Ramallets featured for FC Barcelona for 15 seasons (1946 through 1961) and in that time he won five Zamora trophies. Seguer played for the Club for 14 seasons (1943 through 1957). Both players were crucial to the famous team known as the ‘Barça of the Five Cups.’ President Rosell, making note of the accomplishments of both players, said: “you show that Barça are a team with history and tradition. We’re doing only what you deserve. This is a tribute to the team of the Five Cups. We’re here to show our gratitude and we thank you for everything you have done for this Club.”
Michael Laudrup was one of the most elegant football players ever to grace the game. Between 1989 and 1994 he made his mark on FC Barcelona
The Dane was one of the biggest names in the Dream Team. He made 288 appearances for FC Barcelona and scored 93 goals. He had an astounding ability to read the game and exquisite ball skills that he used to score some tremendous goals. Here Barça TV remembers some of these in this latest chapter of ‘Legendary Players'. One European Cup, four Ligas and one Copa del Rey were Laudrup’s major honours as a Barça player.
The ex-FC Barcelona player scored a total of 102 goals for Barça, an incredible mark considering he played in the full back position
Ronald Koeman was one of the leaders of FC Barcelona’s legendary Dream Team. He played a total of 345 matches for Barça from 1989 through 1995 and he scored 102 goals, an extraordinary feat considering he was a full back.
The Frenchman was part of the team that won the treble in 2009, and he then went on to make it 6 for 6 with the Club World Cup title, and the Spanish and European Super Cups
Thierry Henry signed for FC Barcelona from Arsenal in the 2007/08 season. He played for the Blaugrana for three seasons, through 2009/10. He won two Liga titles, one Champions League, one Club World Cup, one Copa del Rey, one Spanish Super Cup, and one European Super Cup with FC Barcelona.
Henry, one of the classiest players to ever set foot on the pitch of the Camp Nou, scored 49 goals from 121 official appearances. He’s especially remembered for his goals in Barça's rout of Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu (2-6) in the 2008/09 season.
The Asturian footballer was one of the most charismatic players to ever feature for the Blaugrana. He netted 123 goals in his 354 appearances for FC Barcelona
Luis Enrique Martínez played for FC Barcelona from 1996 to 2004. In that time he won two Ligas, two Copas del Rey, one Cup Winners Cup, one European Super Cup and the Spanish Super Cup. The Asturian is probably one of the most charismatic players to feature for the Blaugrana in recent history. Barça TV takes a look at some Lucho’s best goals in the latest edition of the FC Barcelona Legends series.
‘Txiki’ Begiristain was a key fixture in the Dream Team that claimed the European Cup. Intelligent and skillful like few others on the pitch, he scored many fantastic goals for FC Barcelona.
Aitor Begiristain, also known as ‘Txiki,’ played for the Balugrana from 1988 through 1995. Intelligent and skillful like few others on the pitch, he scored many fantastic goals for FC Barcelona. He was a crucial fixture in the Dream Team that claimed the European Cup. He also won four Ligas and one Copa del Rey, among other titles. Here’s a look back at a few of his 121 goals.
Here's a look at the goals the Brazilian scored from 2005 through 2008
The second installment of Barça Legends: Ronaldinho starts off with a bang: the two goals he scored at the Santiago Bernabéu to cap off the 0-3 rout in the 2005/06 season. From 2003 through 2008, the Brazilian dazzled football fans with magical and almost unbelievable goals.
Ronaldo de Assis Moreira is considered one of the best players to ever play for FC Barcelona. The Brazilian scored 110 goals for the Club and his skills on the ball mesmerized millions
Ronaldinho played for FC Barcelona from 2003 to 2008. The Brazilian led the Rijkaard’s team for five seasons with imaginative and stunning football. Ronaldinho scored 110 goals in 250 appearances and he was the key player in Barça’s Champions League conquest, as well as two Liga titles and two Spanish Super Cups. Here (above) is a look back at the legendary player.
All details about the Champions League Match at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium
Josep Guardiola was FC Barcelona's leader throughout the 1990s. He was known for laser-guided assists and his tremendous ability to rally and motivate his teammates
Guardiola defended the Blaugrana colours from 1990 through 2001. He won one European Cup, one Cup Winners Cup, two Copas del Rey, two European Super Cups and four Spanish Super Cups. The Masia graduate was the linchpin in Barça’s midfield throughout the 90s. Guardiola gave superb assists to the likes of Romario, Laudrup, Bakero, Ronaldo, Rivaldo and company.
Ronaldo Luiz Nazário da Lima takes centre stage in Barça TV's newest installement of ‘Jugadors de Llegenda’. The Brazilian forward netted 47 goals in 51 matches for the Blaugrana
Ronaldo only needed only season with FC Barcelona to leave a long-lasting mark on the Club. The Brazilian forward donned the Blaugrana strip in the 1996/97 season. That year he netted 47 goals in 51 matches. He led the team to the Cup Winners Cup title, the Copa del Rey title and the Spanish Super Cup.
José Mari Bakero takes centre stage in Barça TV's ‘Jugadors de Llegenda’ programme. The midfielder donned the Blaugrana strip from 1988 through 1996
Barça TV turns its focus on the legendary FC Barcelona midfielder, José Mari Bakero. The player arrived at FC Barcelona in 1988 from Real Sociedad and he stayed at Can Barça through 1996. He claimed the European Cup, four Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, one European Super Cup and four Spanish Super Cups.
The second installment of the collection of 152 goals scored by Eto'o during his time at FC Barcelona between 2004 and 2009
All goals about the Bulgarian star of 'Dream Team'. Hristo Stoichkov was born in Plovdiv (Bulgaria) in 1966. He left CSKA Sofia to join Barça in 1990 and stayed until 1998, although for one season, 1995-96, he was at Parma in Italy
Hristo Stoichkov was one of the stars of the Dream Team and one of the fans’ most popular players of the 1990s, both for his football and his extraordinary fighting spirit. He was versatile, and could play either on the left or in the middle, making him a highly efficient forward player, with great speed and a goalscoring instinct. He was considered one of the best players in the world for his time, and is the only Barça player to have won the European Cup (1992), the Golden Boot (1990) and the Balon d’Or (1995)
He was a charismatic person both on and off the pitch, and sincerely felt the Barcelona colours, which he was always ready to bravely and intensely defend.
Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development hosted Ramón Alfonseda, a former FC Barcelona player and President of the European Former Football Players Association (EFPA)
Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development hosted Ramón Alfonseda, a former FC Barcelona player and President of the European Former Football Players Association (EFPA), earlier today.
Mr Alfonseda, who is also president of the Barça Players Association, listened intently to a presentation outlining the vision and mission of Qatar Foundation. He was introduced to the many educational initiatives, community development projects and scientific research programmes undertaken by Qatar Foundation.
Alfonseda came through FC Barcelona’s youth ranks and went on to make 117 appearances for the club between 1969 and 1973, scoring 27 goals.
He is best remembered for his performance in the 1971 Copa del Rey (Spanish Cup Final) against Valencia, when he scored the winning goal in a game that ended 4-3 to FC Barcelona.
His experiences in the youth side have stayed with him, and he said, “When you are a young player you receive a lot from the coaches and you learn respect, to work as a team and that means you must listen and take care of others. You learn punctuality, to think with others. There are some values that you can transfer very easily with football.”
Commenting on Qatar Foundation’s partnership with FC Barcelona, Mr Alfonseda said, “We must learn from one another. If you can implement something from Barcelona here and we, as Barcelona Football Club, can implement something from you in our country, in our institution, as a club, and in our children. I think when you get a kind of cooperation like this, both sides must see what is possible to get as values from one side to another. I think it is the kind of cooperation that can support and help the world.”
This is the first installment of Barça TV's new series 'Barça Legends." The series will focus on the players that made an impact on FC Barcelona's recent history. First up, Romario
Barça TV will highlight Barça players that marked FC Barcelona’s recent history in the new programme called “Barça Legends.” Players like Schuster, Eto’o, Koeman, Guardiola, Luis Enrique, Kluivert, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho are but a few of men that will feature in the new programme. Barça Legends will first take a look at Romario da Souza Faria, who played for Barça from 1993 through 1995. The Brazilian forward scored unforgettable goals for the Club and was key in Barça’s Liga and Spanish Super Cup campaigns.
The ex-Barça player and assistant manager returns to the city where he managed at the end of the 90s
“I have great affection for the Yokohama Marinos and FC Barcelona,” said De la Cruz
One of FC Barcelona’s expedition members that travelled to Japan knows the country very well, Yokohama to be precise, where the Club World Cup will be played. It’s Toño de la Cruz, Barça player in the 70s, manager of Barça’s youth squads in the 80s and assistant to the first team at the beginning of this century. De la Curz’s only experience as manager away from FC Barcelona was when he was with the Yokohama Marinos, at the end of the 90s.
An emotional return
“I spent three years managing in Japan, this team precisely, the Yokohama Marinos. It was a thrilling, extraordinary and unforgettable experience,” said De la Cruz. For this reason it was an emotional return for him: “It was an emotional experience reuniting with people that I had worked with previously and, despite my time away, we still have affection for one another.” He continued: “I have great memories and affection for this club and for Japanese football.”
Barça’s philosophy in Japan
On his time with the Marinos, during which the team managed to maintain good form and regular appearances at the top half of the table, the now Barça TV and Radio Barça pundit admits: “I applied a few things that I had learned with Barça’s youth squads to Yokohama.” After his Japanese adventure, De la Cruz returned to be Barça’s assistant coach: “The experience I got here helped me to make important decisions at FC Barcelona,” he said.
Profile of the legendary Barça keeper through a series of curious, and sometimes humorous, stories
Antoni Ramallets left us this Tuesday at the age of 89. Here’s a series of stories about the man who was known as “The cat with wings:”
On various occasions he mentioned why he decided to be a keeper: “I was fat when I was young and I didn’t like to run. One day I had to play football with my friends and everyone was in agreement: ‘This guy, he doesn’t like to run, he should be the keeper. Besides, he’s fat, that way he’ll cover more of the goal.’”
Ramallets might have been a bit conceited. Legend has it that he kept a mirror fixed to his right goal post. After a play, he would check to see if his hair had become uncombed.
A Barcelona journalist once wrote: “Ramallets, he missed them all.” The opposing team had only shot on goal once, and it had gone in. It is true, however, that Ramallets had the most thankless and difficult job in the world of football ... being Barça’s goalkeeper.
His fame soon extended beyond the borders of Spain and Catalonia. He once received an overseas letter that only read “Ramallets-España” accompanied by a sketch of the keeper in goal.
He always repeated the same ritual before a match: he went to his goal, lifted his hand gesturing a greeting, and then threw his gloves and hat into the back of the net.
In 1954, when he was in his prime, he featured in a film alongside Josep Samitier named “Eleven pairs of boots” directed by Francisco Rovira-Veleta.
One of the first things the controversial manager Helenio Herrera said to Ramallets when he arrived in Barcelona in 1958 was: “Some directors who know nothing about football told me that we need to find a keeper, that you’re getting old. What should I tell them?” Ramallets responded: “It’s true, they know nothing.” Then Herrera pulled out a list with the names of four goalkeepers on it and ripped it up.
A couple of days before he retired, he was given a letter signed by “the Blaugrana family.” Alone in the dressing room, Ramallets read the letter which simply said: “Without you Barça will never be the same.” The letter touched Ramallets deeply.
In the 1970s, after he had retired from football, he was an officer in a bank until he retired. It often was the case that Barça fans would go to the bank under the guise of requesting a small loan to engage the Barça legend in conversation.
President Rosell and a number of ex-teammates, like Messi and Puyol, talk about the extent to which Ronaldinho left his mark on the Club
10 years of a magic number 10. This Sunday marks the tenth anniversary of the Club’s signing of Ronaldinho. Coming to the side after a four year lean spell, Ronaldinho lit up the Camp Nou and with his infectious smile and lovely skills he won the hearts of football fans all over the world and led the team to two consecutive league titles and that wonderful Champions League victory in Paris.
To mark the anniversary, Barça TV will show a documentary called ‘Quan el Barça va recuperar el somriure’ – “When Barça got their smile back” – which includes contributions from Club President Sandro Rosell, ex-teammates like Messi, Carles Puyol, Deco and Sylvinho, coaching assistant to Frank Rijkaard, Eusebio Sacristán and the head of sports at El Pais, Ramon Besa.
An end to a negative spiral
Sandro Rosell, who was Sporting Vice President in 2003, stresses the complete turnaround that Ronaldinho brought to the Club: “he is the person who changed the negative spiral into the positive one which continues to this day”. An opinion echoed by Messi who explains: “he changed the whole situation at the Club not just in the sporting arena, but really in every aspect”.
Puyol admits the pessimism that was in the Club at the time of Ronaldinho’s arrival: “ we were coming out of a very tough period in which we were not only winning titles, we weren’t even competing”. Sylvinho reckons: “Ronaldinho brought the great Barça back.