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  • Short Books

Bar a: The rise and fall of the club that built modern football

Simon Kuper

7 Reviews

Rated 0

Biography: sport, Sports teams & clubs, Ball games, Football (Soccer, Association football)

From the author of bestselling Soccernomics, this tour de force, the result of decades of investigation, reveals the truth behind the myths and legends of the world's greatest football club.

'This is a masterfully written history of the world's greatest football club. Mes que un book!' - GARY LINEKER

From the bestselling co-author of Soccernomics comes the story of how FC Barcelona became the most successful football club in the world - and how that envied position now hangs in the balance.

Bar a is not just the world's most popular sports club, it is simply one of the most influential organisations on the planet. With almost 250 million followers on social media and 4 million visitors to its Camp Nou stadium each year, there's little wonder its motto is 'More than a club'. But it was not always so. In the past three decades, Barcelona has transformed from regional team to global powerhouse, becoming a model of sporting excellence and a consistent winner of silverware.

Simon Kuper unravels exactly how these transformations took place. He outlines the organisational structure behind the club's business decisions, and details the work of its coaches, medics, data analysts and nutritionists who have revolutionised the sporting world. And, of course, he studies the towering influence of the club's two greatest legends, Johan Cruyff and Lionel Messi.

Like many leading global businesses, FC Barcelona closely guards its secrets, granting few outsiders a view behind the scenes. But, after decades of writing about the sport and the club, Kuper was given unprecedented access to the inner sanctum and to the people who strive daily to keep Barcelona at the top.

Erudite, personal, and capturing all the latest successes and upheavals, his portrait of this incredible institution goes beyond football to understand Bar a as a unique social, cultural, and political phenomenon.

"I began my research thinking I was going to be explaining Barca's rise to greatness, and I have, but I've also ended up charting the decline and fall."

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Praise for Bar a: The rise and fall of the club that built modern football

  • This is a masterfully written history of the world's greatest football club. Mes que un book!

  • Simon's writing has been an indispensable part of football's landscape for the better part of the last three decades. His access to Bar a has enabled him to tell a story that no one else can about the biggest club in the world, and its biggest star. This book both chronicles and analyses an era in football history that we're lucky to have witnessed, and that may never be matched.'

  • What is the point of football, Simon Kuper asks? It makes our lives a little happier than they would be without it. And the point of this book? It makes our lives even happier. Kuper has written a great story, a history and an autobiography, a work of philosophy and gossip. It is the best book about sport, any sport, that I have read in a long time. An outright joy. An instant classic.

  • Simon expertly charts the path from Cruyff to present-day Bar a, showing how Messi, in his own way, represents an update on the Cruyffian style. His approach to a wealth of information about the club, along with his knowledge and passion for football, make for a really great book.

  • One of the best sports books I have read. About so much more: politics, Spain, elites in business... brilliant on Cruyff and Ajax, Messi... quite outstanding.

  • Simon Kuper's Bar a has it all: riveting storytelling, superb analysis, non-partisan investigation and, perhaps best of all, it's shot through with Simon's wonderfully dry humour. Simply unmissable. - Amy Rafael, author of A Game of Two Halves

  • The chapters devoted to Cruyff, who played for the club and then transformed it as a manager, are essential reading for anyone interested in innovation or high performance. The book is both a debunking and a restoration. - The New Statesman

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