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The United States of America was officially born on July 4, 1776.
The birth of Futbol Club Barcelona, meanwhile, came on November 29, 1899.
The pair of events were separated by 123 years, 4 months, and 20 days, as well as 3,908 miles (6,289km) — which is the distance between Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence was written, ratified and signed, and the Catalan capital.
The fledgling nation and sports club would go on to develop in near total isolation until the end of the 20th century.
In 1994, when the World Cup came to America’s shores, the faintest hints their paths were slowly beginning to converge became evident.
When Lionel Messi burst on the scene a decade later, the possibility of a future Catalan–American cultural alliance got a huge boost. It would take off over the following several years.
By 2015, the relationship between the USA and FC Barcelona had matured. It had, in essence, morphed in a mutually beneficial one. Official fan clubs started to spring up. They can now be found in places like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, Miami, and San Francisco, among others.
When a pair of seven-foot-tall brothers , Pau and Marc Gasol—born and raised in Barcelona, and developed by FCB into NBA caliber players—stood at center court and leaped for the opening tip-off of the 2015 NBA All-Star Game, the international connection was there for all the world to see.
Interestingly, despite differing focuses, the NBA and Barça have a special relationship, one that has produced a plethora of intimate moments showcasing mutual respect and admiration. Two stand out. First, there was Kobe. Then there was Michael (NBA fans will vehemently debate this order, according to their perspective).
Amidst the burgeoning kinship between club and country, the sporting entity laid the groundwork for a more permanent presence in the New World, drawing up plans for an office in New York City. The diplomatic mission-of-sorts has since become a reality, having officially opened its doors there in early 2016.
The Club has also received much deserved attention from distinguished U.S. officials.
Back at Camp Nou, Barça was paid a visit from America’s top diplomats in Spain. Ambassador James Costos, as well as the Consul General of the United States of America in Barcelona, Marcos C. Mandojana, posed on the field with Club President Josep Maria Bartomeu and a trio of FCB’s Vice Presidents.
The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, has hopped aboard the Barça train as well, flattering the Blaugrana faithful with public declarations exhibiting his, and his daughters’, admiration for Lionel Messi.
A symbiotic relationship it may have once been. But with scores of historical accounts depicting the colossal successes of both the United States of America and Futbol Club Barcelona having been written and rewritten to the point where their individual cultural clout rivals that of any subject in the postmodern era and beyond, the current bond between them is undeniable.
Take, for instance, this account of Barça’s following in the U.S., as witnessed first-hand during the team’s 2015 Summer Tour.
What happens when you take both ingredients and drop them into a 21st century blender to create a seamless, mutually beneficial kinship that transcends time, culture, and astonishingly large swathes of geography?
All of the above.
Happy 4th of July.
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