Barcelona is the greatest soccer 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.
It is of huge interest to anyone who loves the way this team plays soccer, which is anyone who loves the game.
The first announcement of this book was greeted with much excitement and anticipation by many football fans, irrespective of their football affiliations. Pep Guardiola’s FC Barcelona had already become stuff of legend even when the book was conceived.
The first English language book on the enigmatic squad that gave us breathtaking football, yet not enough was known of it away from the glare of the floodlights. The book had the makings of a great work of sports writing, coming from a man who has covered the team for various publications since before Guardiola took over as manager.
As it turns out, it is a good ‘football’ book and the author clearly knows what he is talking about. His ultimate challenge was to keep the reader interested because there is no mystery, no grand revelation waiting at the end. Everyone knows how the story unfolded. It is an excellent book for those looking to know the inside story of the phenomena that this team evolved into over manager Guardiola’s years in-charge.
Hunter works through the analysis of various events that have contributed to the different aspects of this team- club history, politics, the famed cantera, the technical staff, and most importantly, the evolution of Pep Guardiola and his key players. It would be a must for Barça 101. And that is what the disappointment stems from.
For a culer (the Catalan term for an FC Barcelona fan), it does not offer too much. There are chapters that are illuminating, especially the political aspect to which fans of the club may not be privy in the detail that Hunter, the journalist, was; the rivalry between the former FC Barcelona presidents Joan Laporta and Sandro Rosell.
Hunter also dwells in detail upon the role of club legend Johan Cruyff in the evolution of the teams at the club. He tackles this issue in detail, especially Cruyff’s status among the club’s Catalan supporters.
Some tactically inclined readers rue the lack of more ‘football talk’ in terms of tactics and statistics. After all Guardiola made the world sit up and take notice with his unique take on every aspect of the game. The rest of the book is more an exercise in evoking nostalgia, a giddy revisiting of the incredible highs of the last four years. It is still extremely fun just because it allows one to do that. But, as a rabid culé, yours truly just kept waiting for the book to kick start till the end