From the season 2008/09 under Josep Guardiola, the team improved even further. Playing with the same style that Cruyff had introduced, Guardiola was a firm supporter of basing his team around the club's own youth system and promoted several young talents to the first team, and the result was the greatest Barça team ever.
The greatest international recognition of this came when the FIFA Ballon d'Or nominations in 2010 shortlisted Xavi, Iniesta and Messi for the honour, all three of whom had grown up at La Masia, the residence where young sportspeople of all ages are trained and educated.
This team was the culmination of everything that FC Barcelona stands for, and produced an amazing string of major titles, including two Champions Leagues and three Spanish Leagues, plus the long-awaited Clubs World Cup, which was finally won in 2009, that extraordinary year when Barcelona won all six major trophies, something unprecedented in the history of European football. Barça broke all kinds of records, played memorable matches and won just about every title on offer. But the finest hour for Guardiola's side came at Wembley on 28 May, 2011, when the world was enchanted by the kind of football that dreams are made of. The world's press bestowed praise on this extraordinary side that had written one of the most incredible chapters in the history of the game. The Guardiola era ended in 2012 but Barça continued their success under Tito Vilanova (the league in 2012/13) and Luis Enrique who in 2015 won the Champions League, the League and the Copa del Rey in another historic treble winning season.
But it wasn't just the football team that was collecting honours. The basketball, handball, futsal and roller hockey teams also won further European titles. Furthermore, the season 2011/12 and 2014/15 ended with a new record by winning 17 professional titles. Never before had FC Barcelona won so much silverware in a single season during its 118 year history.
THE RETURN OF GUARDIOLA
In 2008, Josep Guardiola accepted the difficult job of replacing Frank Rijkaard as coach and end a run of two seasons without a trophy. To do so, he applied the same style of play that was used when he was a player at the Club, an attacking philosophy based on passing and it turned out to be a great success.
In his debut season, Guardiola won all three trophies available. After a winning start to the following campaign in 2009/10, Barça became the team of the Six Trophies, all won in the calendar year of 2009. The run of success continued with Guardiola claiming 14 titles of a possible 19 as coach in his four seasons in charge. Guardiola became a reference point in football and his Barça side went beyond the strictly footballing field.
BARÇA WIN THEIR THIRD CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
FC Barcelona went to the Olympic Stadium looking to claim their third title of the season after having won the Copa del Rey and the league. Guardiola went into the final against Manchester United with several players missing in defence. The Premier League side started strongly but Eto’o’s goal changed the game and from then on Barça dominated with Messi adding a second to make the final score 2-0. On 27 May 2009 Barça claimed their third Champions League title thanks to victory over the holders, becoming the first Spanish side to claim the treble of the Copa del Rey, the league and the Champions League.
2009, A MAGICAL YEAR
Under the direction of Josep Guardiola, the team had a dream 12 months, winning every trophy possible. Six titles that they claimed with authority, Barça on the field were untouchable. At the end of the season there were celebrations and the trophies kept coming for the rest of the year.
13 May – Copa del Rey
16 May – League
27 May – Champions League
23 August – Spanish Super Cup
28 August – European Super Cup
19 December – FIFA World Club Cup
SANDRO ROSELL, NEW PRESIDENT
Sandro Rosell rose to the presidency of FC Barcelona with an extensive background in both the business world and in football. His first stint in the management of the Club had begun in 2003 as a member of the board under then-president Joan Laporta. Rosell was the driving force behind the signing of Ronaldinho.
Rosell’s candidacy used the slogan "We are all Barça" under an electoral program created after listening to the members for two years. In 2010 he was elected the new president of FC Barcelona with an overwhelmingly successful 35,021 of the votes, the best result ever achieved. Sandro Rosell thus became the most voted president in the history of the Club.
BARÇA SWEEP THE PODIUM FOR THE BALLON D’OR
FC Barcelona made history with the nomination of Xavi, Iniesta and Messi as finalists for the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2010. Three Barça players who all came up through La Masia swept the podium. Journalists, coaches and captains from around the world, the elite of world football, lauded Barça’s style. It was the first time that all three finalists came from the youth academy of the same club. It was a full recognition of the work done at La Masia. Three superstars developed at home, instilled with the values of effort, humility, sportsmanship and enthusiasm, were selected as the three best players in the world in 2010.
On 28 May 2011 Barça lifted its fourth European Cup. The victory came at the new Wembley Stadium, the same place where in 1992 Cruyff’s Barça had won the trophy for the first time. It was full of symbolism. After winning a very difficult semi-final against Real Madrid, Barça played for the title against Manchester United, who they had defeated in the Rome final two years before. A clearly superior Barça won 3-1 with goals each striker: Pedro, Messi and Villa.
It was a great display of football, one of the best ever seen in a Champions League final. Europe hailed Barça, and the world press followed suit. At the end of the summer Barça confirmed its greatness by winning the Spanish Super Cup against Real Madrid and UEFA Super Cup against Porto.
THE DEATH OF TITO VILANOVA
One of the saddest pieces of news in Barça history was received on 25 April 2014 when Francesc 'Tito' Vilanova i Bayó (Bellcaire d'Empordà, 09/17/1968 - 04/25/2014, Barcelona), a man loved and admired by all, died at the age of 45 after failing to overcome an illness had forced him in July to step away from his duties as head coach of the first team, and just a couple of months after leading the team to a league title with 100 points, a record achievement. Vilanova was also Guardiola's second in command from 2008 to 2012. A totalof 53,000 people came to Camp Nou in the days after his death to pay him a final tribute.
GOODBYE TO TWO LEGENDS: PUYOL AND VALDÉS
In the summer of 2014 Barça said goodbye to two captains. Two symbols. Carles Puyol, the eternal captain, announced his retirement as a player after 593 official games and a career that made him an idol for Barça fans. The most memorable of these were his defensive stop using the Barça shield in a Champions League match, his kisses to La Senyera during Barça’s 6–2 rout at the Bernabéu or when he gave Abidal the honour of raising the Cup following the victory at Wembley in 2011. Puyol’s departure coincided with that of Victor Valdés, the long-time Barça goalkeeper who months earlier had announced his intention to leave the team at the end of the 2013/14 season. One of the best ever to wear the blaugrana shirt, Valdés conceded just 441 goals in 535 matches. Among his most outstanding performances was in the 2006 Champions League final in Paris and the semi-final against Chelsea in 2009.
LUIS ENRIQUE: ARRIVAL AND A TREBLE
Gerardo Martino took over for Tito Vilanova in the summer of 2013 but, despite a good start, the left after the 2013/14 season having only won the Spanish Super Cup. Luis Enrique, a beloved former Barça player, took Martino’s place as coach in the summer of 2014 and success immediately followed. In his first year as coach, Luis Enrique would attain the second treble in Barça history, just six seasons after the first. FC Barcelona won the League, Copa del Rey and Champions League in one magical season. The same team, consisting of top players like Messi, Iniesta, Neymar Jr and Luis Suárez went on to win a total of five titles in 2015, adding the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup to the treble. To that treble the team would add four more trophies the following season: the European Super Cup, the Club World Cup, the league and the Copa del Rey. Furthermore, in the 2016/17 season, the team won the Copa del Rey, their third in a row.
In the summer of 2015, coinciding with the completion of the second treble, Xavi Hernandez announced his goodbye. The legendary FC Barcelona midfielder hung up his shoes after 17 seasons with the first team. He said goodbye to the Club with an enviable total of 25 titles: eight leagues, four Champions Leagues, three Spanish Cups, six Spanish Super Cups, two European Super Cups and two Club World Cups. Xavi left with 85 goals in 767 official matches, an FC Barcelona record. He left as an inheritance his unique style of football.
JOSEP MARIA BARTOMEU WINS ELECTION
On July 18, 2015 Josep Maria Bartomeu won the election for the presidency of FC Barcelona. With 25,823 votes, 54.6% of the total, Bartomeu won the third most voted election in club history. Bartomeu quickly resumed some of the work he had already begun in January 2014, following the resignation of the previous president, Sandro Rosell.
THE ARRIVAL OF ERNESTO VALVERDE
Ernesto Valverde had been a Barça player under Johan Cruyff at Barça and had gone on to have a highly successful career as a coach. He took over as Barça coach for the 2017/18 season and under him a new era for FC Barcelona began, full of optimism and excitement.