FC Barcelona isn't just the world's highest-grossing sports club, it is simply one of the most influential organizations on the planet. At last count, it had approximately 214 million social-media followers, more than any other sports club except Real Madrid--and by one, earlier measure more than all 32 NFL clubs combined. It has more in common with multinational mega companies like Netflix or small nation-states than it does with most soccer teams. No wonder its motto is "More than a club". But it was not always so. In the past three decades, Barcelona went from a regional team to a global powerhouse, becoming a model of sustained excellence, beautiful soccer and consistent winner of championships. Kuper unravels exactly how this transformation took place, paying special attention to the club's two biggest stars, Johan Cruyff and Lionel Messi, who is considered by many the greatest soccer player to ever live. Messi joined Barça age thirteen, and more than anyone has been the engine and standard bearer of Barcelona's glory. But his time at the club may be coming to an end, and with it a once-in-a-lifetime golden run. This book charts Barça's rise and fall.
Like many world-beating organizations, FC Barcelona closely guards its secrets, granting few outsiders access to the Camp Nou, its legendary home stadium. But after decades of writing about the sport and the club, Kuper was given access to the inner sanctum and the people behind the scenes who strive daily to keep Barcelona at the top. Wry, personal, and erudite, his portrait of this incredible institution goes beyond soccer to understand FC Barcelona as a unique social, cultural, and political phenomenon.