L'Avi del Barça or Grandfather of Barça is a character originally created as a cartoon by Valentí Castanys and first appeared in the magazine Xut! on October 29th 1924.
The character is the personification of the values of FC Barcelona and in 1972 the sculptor Josep Viladomat built a figure of L'Avi, which stands outside the former youth training centre La Masia next to Camp Nou.
For the pre-season Joan Gamper Trophy of 1984, a supporter from Berguedà named Joan Casals dressed up as L'Avi del Barça and immediately became a popular figure with the crowd.
He wears a 1960s Barça kit and given that he has white hair and a beard, the physical resemblance is striking.
After FC Barcelona won its first European Cup at Wembley in 1992, Casals promised to shave off his beard if the club won a second European trophy and he kept his promise after FC Barcelona beat Arsenal in the final in Paris in 2006.
In 2010, the Casal de l'Avi Barça stupidly accused Joan Casals of usurping the character but he easily defended himself by saying he was popular with the fans and wasn't doing it for money.
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