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Barça B are 50 years old but the notion of a FC Barcelona second team goes back to 1949 when the Club took over the Societat Esportiva Espanya Industrial team. After promotion to the first division in the 1955/56 season, the team changed its name to Club Esportiu Comtal, a name still remembered by fans today. Similarly, in 1965 CD Fabra i Coats became the Barça second team and changed their name to Atlètic Catalunya. The two teams existed side by side until the board of president Agustí Montal Costa decided to simplify the set up by merging the two teams.
As such on 12 June 1970 Barça Atlètic came into being in the Third Division of Spanish football. In November of 1990 a new sporting directive saw the name of the team change to FC Barcelona B, except for short spell between 2008 and 2010 when it was known as FC Barcelona Atlètic.
Laredo to Riqui Puig and Collado
During its 50 years of history the teams has been constant source of young talent for the FC Barcelona first team. Since the debut of José Maria Laredo, a Barça Atlètic player in the season 1970/71, on 28 January 1973 for the first time, the production line has been a constant at the Club. Following Laredo, players such as Mas, Carreño, Rusky, Macizo, Corominas, Fortes and Mir lengthened the list of names who had made the leap from the second team to the first team. Since then we can add the names of the likes of Olmo, Martínez, Carrasco, Manolo, Estella, Pedraza, Moratalla, Clos, Rojo, Calderé, Milla, Amor, Ferrer, Guardiola, Carles Busquets, Òscar, Sergi Barjuan, Jordi Cruyff, Roger, Iván de la Peña, Celades, Xavi, Gabri, Puyol, Motta, Víctor Valdés, Iniesta, Oleguer, Messi, Bojan, Pedro, Sergio Busquets, Thiago, Bartra, Sergi Roberto, Tello, Rafinha, Munir, Aleñà, Riqui Puig and Collad to that list. One more well known name, Ansu Fati, made the leap from the U19 side to the first team without ever having played a game for Barça B and has gone on to set record after record, becoming the youngest player to score in the league for Barça in the league and in the Champions League.
"The 50th birthday of Barça B is something to be proud of. The team has been the breeding ground for so many players who have made it to the first team over the last five decades. Now it is our responsibility to keep looking after the second team so that more players can make to the first team," explains Xavier Vilajoana, the FC Barcelona board member responsible for Barça B and youth football at the Club. For Vilajoana, the objective is "to continue to look to home and improve even more so that our young players reach the first team prepared as the B team of the future, as now, will be made up of young, talented players who will get closer and closer to reaching the first team."
As well as providing a training ground for the first team, Barça B's other historical mission has been to play at the highest level of Spanish Football possible. During its history the team has played at almost ever level of national football that there is, including 23 in the Spanish Second Division and 22 in the Second Division B. Since 1970 the team has had 18 different coaches: Josep Seguer (1970/72), Luis Aloy (1972/76), Laureano Ruiz (1976/78), Joan Segarra (1978 and 1979/80), Antoni Torres (1978/79 and 1980/83), José Luis Romero (1983/84), Joan Martínez Vilaseca (1984/87), Lluís Pujol (1987/89), Quique Costas (1989/96, 2001/03 and 2005/07), Juande Ramos (1996/97), Josep Maria Gonzalvo (1997/2001), Pere Gratacós (2003/05), Josep Guardiola (2007/08), Luis Enrique (2008/11), Eusebio Sacristán (2011/15), Jordi Vinyals (2015), Gerard López (2015/18) and Garcia Pimienta (2018-). Of those coaches, Quique Costas holds the record with 418 matches as B team coach.
Eight promotions in 50 years
Barça Atlètic record two straight promotions campaign, going from the Third Division B to the Second Division between 1972 and 1974. In 1982 the team made it to the Second Division A under coach Toni Torres. a feat repeated by Quique Costas in 1991 with a team that contained the likes of Guardiola, Carles Busquets, Pinilla, Álex Garcia and Roura. In 1998 it was the turn of coach Josep Maria Gonzalvo to take the team to the second tier of Spanish football with a squad replete with names such as Xavi, Gabri i Puyol, Ferrón and Luis García. Pep Guardiola took the team from the Third Division to the Second Division B in his only season in charge in 2008 with Busquets, Pedro, Jeffrén and Víctor Vázquez playing an important role. Luis Enrique led the squad to the Second Division A in 2010 with players who are now household names such as Sergi Gómez, Ilie, Bartra, Thiago, Sergi Roberto and Nolito.
The most recent promotion season came in 2016/17 when Gerard López's team overcame Racing Santander in the play offs. This season current coach Javier García Pimienta has a chance for another promotion season for Barça B with the play offs for a place in the Second Division A coming up in late July - what a birthday present that would be for FC Barcelona B.
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