FC Barcelona: Keys to Their European and Spanish Success

Matthew JamesContributor IIIMarch 22, 2012

SANTANDER, SPAIN - MARCH 11:  Lionel Messi (R) of Barcelona celebrates with Xavi Hernandez (L) after scoring his team's 2nd goal during the La Liga match between Real Racing Club and Barcelona at El Sardinero on March 11, 2012 in Santander, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

FC Barcelona is the world’s number one ranked soccer club. Since Pep Guardiola took over in 2008, the Catalan team has won more hardware than most could boast throughout their entire history. 

With several Champions League trophies and La Liga titles under its belt, pundits are arguing that this might be the best soccer dynasty in history. Here are a few reasons for Barcelona’s indomitable presence over the soccer world:

1. La Masia—Literally translated to “The Farmhouse,” La Masia serves as the youth academy for FC Barcelona. The institution nurtures young talent and familiarizes players to Barcelona’s fluid and quick style of play. 

From playing together at such a young age, the teammates build a cohesion that is visible when they graduate to the first team.  

Such notable alumni include Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta, Gerard Piqué, Cesc Fábregas, Victor Valdés, Carles Puyol, Sergio Busquets, Pedro Rodríguez and Lionel Messi. La Masia has been such a success that other clubs across Europe are integrating similar youth academies. 

2. Style of play—FC Barcelona epitomizes the Spanish rapid, one-touch style of play.

“Tiki-taka,” as it is called in Catalonia, emphasizes short passes, movement off-the-ball, and maintaining possession.  Not only does this method produce an outrageous goal tally, but it also operates as an effective defense.

Barcelona is so adept at controlling the flow of the game, the opposing team rarely gets a chance to possess the ball. 

3. Lionel Messi—It never hurts to have the best player in the world on your team.

The 24-year-old Argentinean has made invaluable contributions to the club since his promotion to the first team in 2006.  Despite his growth hormone deficiency, Messi has become the third person to win the FIFA Player of the Year three times.

And he’s on pace to do it again.

Pep Guardiola’s club will be considered as one of the best dynasties in soccer’s history. With young talent emerging from La Masia, don’t expect it to end just yet.