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FC Barcelona fans showed up en masse in San Francisco / MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

Cristian, Oscar, José and Gabriel, four football lovers who have travelled to Santa Clara to see Barça’s second game in the International Champions Cup, confess their absolute devotion to the blaugranes’ style of play and philosophy.

“I love it that they keep the ball. It’s a style of play that only exists in our dreams for most of us,” explains Oscar. “Now, to see it live is incredible, as it is to see how quick they are in training. The quality of the players and the training session are what make Barça’s style of play unique.”

“Barca’s style comes from the Rinus Michels era,” remembers Cristian, who had come from Portland to see his first ever Barça game. “I read a lot about FC Barcelona history; for me, since my footballing background is from El Salvador, where we don’t have any figures, except for ‘Mágico’ González from Cádiz, we look for teams from other countries and we enjoy it just as much as any Catalan of Spaniard.”

“We look to Barça,” claims José, who is from Santa Clara, “and we live it as if we were at Camp Nou. Nothing more, nothing less: They are footballing legends.” Cristian and Oscar remember their visit to Camp Nou: “It was fantastic to see how they play football, dominating possession, keeping the ball, pressuring. All the players take part in the game.”

“I feel part of the idea”

At Barça, “they all know how to play football”, they agree. The Barça philosophy is the main reason why these fans have come to Santa Clara. “ I feel part of the idea,” Gabriel explains, who with his two children has come all the way from Florida to fulfil his dream of seeing his team in action.

“It’s the Club to follow”, continues Cristian from El Salvador. “Barça attracts lots of young people and that is something that should be valued, because sport helps young people to grow.” The American ‘culers’ know the work that goes on at La Masia. “We know everything,” they say; “We read all the Catalan press.” “Som-hi Barça!” they cry as the team comes back out for the second half against Manchester United.

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