From 1988 on, with Cruyff as manager, Barça came to be associated once more with excellent football and sporting success. The board of directors presided over by Josep Lluís Nuñez focused on building up a team of footballers that would spark enthusiasm and perform well. The Camp Nou began to fill up once again.
FC Barcelona managed to secure four consecutive Spanish League championships, between 1990 and 1994. Winning the European Cup in 1992 was the pinnacle of this period, which was characterised by the team’s one touch play and attacking style and the winning mentality of Cruyff’s players.
Known as the 'Dream Team' of European football, the following unforgettable players went down in the Club’s history: Zubizarreta, Bakero, Begiristain, Laudrup, Koeman, Stoichkov, Romário, Eusebio, Nadal, Guardiola, Amor, Juan Carlos, Ferrer, Nando, Julio Salinas, Serna, Alexanko and Goikoetxea.
Led by the Cruyff-Rexach duo, the team finally drew a line under its troubled past; Barça became one of the biggest names in world football.
THE RETURN OF CRUYFF
“I know the Club and I don’t want history to repeat itself. If we want things to change, we must change history”. These words set the Cruyff era in motion, marked by a change of philosophy. The team’s tactics were modified to incorporate the Dutch coach Rinus Michels’s “total football”. Team management also changed, becoming the exclusive responsibility of the manager. With Cruyff, Barça experienced a glorious era. Cruyff’s track record includes one European Cup, four Spanish League championships, one Cup Winners’ Cup, one Copa del Rey and four Spanish Supercups. He was also responsible for introducing “rondos” (a circle of players pass the ball to each other, while one in the centre tries to catch it) into the team’s training sessions.
THIRD EUROPEAN CUP WINNERS' CUP
On 10 May 1989, goals from Salinas and López Rekarte led FC Barcelona to a 2-0 victory against UC Sampdoria of Genoa. Over 25,000 supporters travelled to Switzerland to support the team. Cruyff’s new Barça took home the Club’s third Cup Winners’ Cup. After years of disillusionment, fans returned to Canaletes and Plaça Sant Jaume to celebrate the top football team’s victory.
Migueli holds a privileged place in the history of the club, being the second player who has worn the Barça shirt most times (553), only beaten by Xavi. He was also one of the best centre backs to have ever played for FC Barcelona. On 5 September 1989, 'Migueli' wore the Barça colours for the last time in a match when Barça beat the Bulgarian national football team. Migueli played for FC Barcelona for the final time after sixteen seasons, alongside legendary figures like Cruyff (who scored a goal) and Rexach.
FIRST EUROPEAN CUP IN HANDBALL...
Barça’s handball team won its first EHF Champions League while under Valero Rivera’s management. FC Barcelona beat FK Proleter Zrenjanin 20-17 before a capacity crowd at the Palau. The combination of veteran players, like Rico, Sagalés and Serrano, and promising young players, such as Masip, Urdangarín and Barrufet, alongside the best player in the world, Veselin Vujović, brought the desired results. Barça’s European domination began here, with a team that is one of the main favourites to win titles, year after year.
... AND IN FOOTBALL
The dream became a reality on 20 May 1992 at Wembley Stadium in London, when Barça beat UC Sampdoria of Genoa. The course of FC Barcelona’s history changed forever. Johan Cruyff’s last instruction to his players before they stepped onto the pitch was: “Go out and enjoy it”. The match went to extra time after a scoreless draw. In the 111th minute, Ronald Koeman’s brilliant free kick clinched Barça’s first European Cup victory. 25,000 supporters accompanied the team to Wembley. One million people turned out on the streets of Barcelona to welcome the European champions home.
FOUR CONSECUTIVE LEAGUE TITLES
The Spanish League was the only title Cruyff had left to win, having already won the Cup Winners’ Cup (1989) and the Copa del Rey (1990). Barça rose to the occasion. Not only did it win the League — it won four Leagues in a row (1991, 1992, 1993, 1994). The last three were won in the last match of the season. To this day, one of the abiding images of the 'Dream Team' is that of the footballers on the pitch awaiting the outcomes of their rivals’ matches. Unfortunately, run of league title wins came to an end over the next two seasons.