The Barcelona Complex: Lionel Messi and the Making—and Unmaking—of the World’s Greatest Soccer Club

Penguin Pr.. Aug. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9780593297711. $27. SPORTS
FC (Futbol Club) Barcelona, dubbed “the World’s Team” by Sports Illustrated, is one of the most successful sports franchises ever, with a huge international fan base. Journalist Kuper (Soccer Against the Enemy) unfurls the team’s history from its beginnings in 1899, through the Spanish Civil War and World War II, and into the modern era. He places special emphasis on soccer immortals Johan Cruyff and Lionel Messi, who he believes revolutionized the game while wearing the famous blue and garnet uniform of Barcelona. Kuper’s unique access to the inner workings of the organization and his accompanying descriptions of the Catalonia region’s history and culture combine to create an all-inclusive, highly significant history of FC Barcelona. Kuper’s eye for a good story, thorough and unique research, and fan-friendly writing style will make this book an essential read for serious soccer fans and historians.
VERDICT FC Barcelona is a way of life for untold millions around the world, and Kuper covers over a century of the beloved team’s history with an insider’s view and a fan’s insights. Followers of “the Beautiful Game” will enjoy this deep dive into one of the world’s most famous and successful franchises.
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