FC Barcelona: 5 reasons why the club has lost its identity
Mes Que Un Club means More than a Club. FC Barcelona have always stood as the epitome of this statement up until recently. It has always functioned as a club with strong values and thus created a team that transcended football. Cules (As the Barcelona fans are commonly nicknamed) fell in love not only with the magic of Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi's footwork but also with the strong morals of the club. Be it their partnership with UNICEF or their strong cultural, social and political connect, especially in the region of Catalonia, or their fabled youth system - La Masia, they were certainly more than a club.
Club legend Johan Cruyff slammed the club in 2015 by saying:
“Money is secondary. Before anything else there should be principles, values. Barça has lost them.
This week saw Barcelona 'usurp' Roma to the signing of highly-rated 21-year-old Bordeaux attacker Malcom. With another overpaid transfer, Barcelona have hit an all-time low. Gone are the days when La Masia used to be the hotbed of talent, with most players going on to have a decent career.
Even the most ardent Barcelona supporter will agree that the club is fast losing its identity in today's age of commercialisation. There is no doubt that the club legends would be worried about the way the club is being run by Josep Bartomeu and Co. With a heavy heart, we have to concede that they have become pretty similar to most of the European clubs at the moment. What has happened to their identity? Where have their values disappeared? How did it all come to this?
#5 Commercialisation & Money madness (2012-Present)
In 2006, Barcelona did something every other European club had started to do. It would be the first time that the Catalonian club would have the name of a sponsor on the front of the famous Blaugrana jersey.
However, they were truly unique in this regard. Sticking to the principles of the club, it sported UNICEF jerseys as a gesture towards the famed organization that worked tirelessly to help children across the world. For fans of the club, who were against having a sponsor on the shirt, it became a whole lot easier knowing that the club was doing this out of kindness. The gesture only elevated their 'Mes Que Un Club' status.
However, in 2012 the tag began to lose its meaning. After five fruitful years with UNICEF, the club announced that they would be having new shirt sponsors in the form of Qatar Foundation. Bartomeu and Sandro Rossell (former President) finally gave in and succumbed to the mega-money package of £170 million that they were offered for brandishing 'Qatar Foundation' on their jersey.
It was heartbreaking. The club which was the football fan's only glimmer of hope in the corporate world had become the latest addition to the list of endless clubs that fell victim to greed and money.
From that moment on, Barcelona have gone on to become the ultimate face of commercialisation, with the latest deal struck in 2014 with Electronic giants Beko, which meant that Barcelona became the first club to place a corporate logo on their shirt sleeves.