On 1 February 1976, in a historic moment for FC Barcelona, the first team captain at the time Johan Cruyff wore a captain's armband bearing the colours of the 'senyera', the Catalan flag, for the very first time in the Club's history.
After the death of dictator Francisco Franco in November 1975 the country entered into a difficult transition towards a return to democracy. The FC Barcelona board at the time, led by president Agustí Montal Costa, felt an opportunity in the air to express the liberal and Catalan sentiments that had always been at the heart of the club. On 21 July 1975, with Franco still alive, the Club reinstated Catalan as the institution's official language and on 28 December on state television still banned Catalan flags were seen at the stadium during a Clásico fixture against Real Madrid.
With those brave gestures already in the bank, the fearless board of directors saw no problem in allowing the FC Barcelona captain to express the club's national identity, an institution that eight years previously had been defined as 'More than a club' by then president Narcís de Carreras.
So on the first day of February in 1976 with another club with a strong sense of national identity, Athletic Club de Bilbao, as opponents at Camp Nou, Johan Cruyff wore the Catalan flag coloured captain's armband. The day was complete thanks to a 2-1 victory with an especially motivated Cruyff inspiring his team to the win. The day was not about publicity. Nobody knew of the Club's gesture and the next day it was not mentioned as the dictatorship had only ended months previously.
The armband is what distinguishes the captain from the rest of the team and it was first used in the Spanish league in the 1974/75 season. The captain at the time was defender Antoni Torres who wore a simple white armband to distinguish it from the Barça's blaugrana shirt. That same season, on 1 December 1974, Johan Cruyff assumed the captaincy for the very first time. Then, little over a year later the Dutchman became the very first to wear what we now recognise as the Barça captain's armband 45 years ago the day.