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Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World (edition 2012)

by Graham Hunter

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201515,329 (4.05)None
Member:JonArnold
Title:Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World
Authors:Graham Hunter
Info:BackPage Press Limited (2012), Edition: 2nd Revised edition, Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Football, Ebook

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Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World by Graham Hunter

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Graham Hunter’s book is simply one of the best books about football you can read if you love the beautiful game and are in awe of the level at which the current Barcelona team operates. It is not simply a superficial, breathless account about a remarkable set of players and an equally remarkable coach, but reveals a deeper story that includes the club’s philosophy and values, its education of young players and its executive leadership. It is a story that can only be told by someone with exclusive access to key personalities in the club over an extended time.

Appendix A lists a timeline to the present. Significantly, the opening entry is: “1973: Johan Cruyff arrives in Barcelona as the world’s first $1m footballer”. It recognises that “the greatest team” had its genesis with Cruyff, whom Hunter refers to as “the genius from Amsterdam” and to whom he devotes a long chapter. When Cruyff returned as coach in 1988 he laid the foundations by decreeing that all teams from the juniors to the first team adopt a specific philosophy about how the game should be played and that all teams adopt an identical playing system. At the time the youth academy, La Masia, was in its infancy, but it is the far-sightedness of the strategy that realises today’s Barca, where the majority of team members, including Guardiola, the coach, are graduates of La Masia.

For years before and after 2000, a drifting Barca saw a succession coaches, many of whom ignored the kids in the academy, yet the custodians of La Masia remained true to the original vision. When Rijkaard was appointed Barca started to reap the rewards of that constancy of purpose.

The book reveals that Mourinho was ‘desperate’ to succeed Rijkaard. The recruitment team considered his application seriously and interviewed him at length. Why didn’t they appoint him, even though they were convinced that he would be successful? His attitude and arrogance. The Barca ethos and image are important and they became convinced that he would damage both. Events at Real seem to have justified their hunch. The rejection also appears to have contributed to Mourinho’s poisonous attitude towards Barca and Guardiola.

Finally, two chapters are devoted to the new genius at the Nou Camp - Messi. The first traces how they signed - and almost lost - him and the second succeeds in revealing more about him than all the interviews that have been conducted with him that I have read. Long may he reign.

Brilliant book. ( )
  rafe | Mar 2, 2012 |
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FC Barcelona are the greatest football team in the world, the greatest for a generation and possibly the greatest of all time. This is the inside story of how the team came to redefine how the game is played, told by the journalist closer to it than any other. This edition contains a new epilogue reflecting on the departure of Pep Guardiola and Spain's victory at Euro 2012.… (more)

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