It's a blessing to be an FC Barcelona fan.
The best team in the world has the best fans in the world. And as a fan of El Blaugrana, there are some responsibilities you accomplishment.
What are these Barça accomplishments?
It's what I call, the "Barça Bucket List."
In this slideshow, I will present you with some things you, as a passionate FC Barcelona fan, must try to accomplish in your life, before you go to that big football pitch in the sky.
Some of the things I'll mention are fairly simple, while others may take a bit longer to accomplish. Some of these items, even I, The Voice of FC Barcelona, have not yet accomplished.
Not yet, but eventually.
Remember, this article is all in good fun. So please relax if I didn't mention something you thought merited to be on the list. Besides, it's not like there is a game to preview for this weekend.
Thanks a lot, FIFA international break.
Here are eight things all FC Barcelona fans must have on their Barça Bucket List.
If you are a true Culé, you probably already have a FC Barcelona customized kit.
If you don't, put it on your list of things to get one day.
A customized jersey is a must have, at some point, for all Barça fans. Yes, all clubs switch kit styles every season, but having one customized kit with your name on it is just one of things die-hard fans have.
You really don't wear the customized kit very often; you keep it in your kit collection. You only wear it on special occasions and for big Barcelona games.
Call it your lucky jersey.
A customized jersey could be considered a novelty, but it's still a nice item to have, and it's a part of your team's fandom.
This is an obvious one: take a tour of the Camp Nou and La Masia.
It's sacred ground for us Culés, and it's important to visit it in your lifetime.
To get the entire Camp Nou Experience from the club, a tour tickets cost €23 for adults, tickets for kids from six to 13 years old cost €17 and children five years old or below get in for free.
With the tour, you get to visit the FC Barcelona Museum, where all the trophies are displayed. You also get to visit the opponent's locker room (Barça's locker room is off limits), as well as a tour of the stands.
Part of the tour will take you to the players' tunnel, where you can feel like one of the players as you walk down the stairs and on to the pitch. As mentioned on the FC Barcelona website, you will also be able to take a picture of the club’s own chapel, which includes a replica of the black virgin, La Moreneta, the patron saint of Catalonia.
Other places you'll visit on the tour include the multimedia zone, press zones, where you can take a picture where Tito Vilanova and the players hold press conferences and, of course, visit the pitch and the player's benches at the Camp Nou.
While La Masia is off limit for tours, you can walk outside the old Masia, located just outside of the Camp Nou. You must take pictures of the historic building.
Whenever you go to Barcelona, make sure a full Camp Nou Experience tour is the first thing on your list.
Now that you took a tour of the Camp Nou, the next thing on the Barça Bucket List is to go to a game.
It doesn't matter what game you go see, just as long as you are there to witness this team in action, and take in the Camp Nou atmosphere.
Some games are more exciting to see. If you are fortunate to get tickets to watch El Clásico at the Camp Nou, that is something you'll never forget.
Hug your fellow Culés—even if you don't know them—when Messi scores a golazo against Real Madrid.
While at the Camp Nou, make sure to stop by the FCBotiga, the official FC Barcelona store at the Camp Nou. There, they can make you a customized Barça kit in just a few minutes, as well as virtually any kind of clothing FC Barcelona.
One last thing: keep your ticket stub, forever.
Depending on where you are in this world, going to the city of Barcelona and attending a game may be a bit expensive. But if you are a true fan, you will eventually make it there.
And try to make it during the era we are living in: the golden era of Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and the rest of this team.
This is The Golden Era of FC Barcelona.
Hopefully, I plan on making my trip to witness this historic team in person next year.
Getting an autographed item of a Barcelona player is something all Barça fans should strive for.
While there autographed items (jerseys, soccer balls, boots) that you can purchase online, there's nothing like getting something autographed by the player in person, with you actually witnessing him put his signature on the item.
Perhaps the best opportunity to get an autograph from one of the players is after a game, or if you run into them in a Barcelona street.
The best item to get signed by a player is a jersey/kit, a soccer ball or a Barcelona t-shirt. A plain white shirt will do as well.
If you run into a player out in the street, and you don't have a piece of paper on you to have the player sign, go with the arm or forearm to have signed by the player. It'd be weird if you ask Leo Messi or Andres Iniesta to sign your stomach, leg, calf, forehead, face or any other body part.
Just go with the forearm if all else fails.
Of course one item on the Barcelona Bucket List is to get a photo with a Barça player.
It doesn't matter where you meet the player:
- Before or after a game.
- After an FC Barcelona training session.
- During an autograph session.
- Randomly on the street.
- In a restaurant.
- While said player is on vacation.
It can be anywhere! Just as long as it's not in a bathroom.
Ask him nicely, and get a quick photo with him.
But make sure you ask someone to take the photo for you. It'd be weird and creepy if you hold the your phone or camera. and ask the player to come in close to yo, so you can get the photo.
Keep it "not-creepy", and just ask someone to take the photo.
If you thought going to a Liga or Copa del Rey game at the Camp Nou is exciting, just imagine what it's like to attend an FC Barcelona UEFA Champions League match?
Ad it's not just seeing a UCL game in the city of Barcelona. Any UCL Barça game you can attend counts.
Imagine being with other Culés at Old Trafford, or the Emirates or Stamford Bridge? How about the San Siro or the Allianz Arena in Munich? A road Champions League FC Barcelona game is on the Barça Bucket List as well.
But there's no stadium and no experience like the Camp Nou, and its 90,000+ fans.
I have not had the privilege of attending a Champions League match (college and then grad school), but believe me, I'm making it a priority to attend a Champions League game at the Camp Nou soon.
If you are fortunate enough to have gone to an FC Barcelona Champions League game, let us know in the comments section below.
So what makes going to a Champions League game at the Camp Nou so special?
The importance of the game.
The Champions League banners around the stadium.
The mosaic that is displayed for big CL games.
And of course....the UEFA Champions League hymn played at the beginning of the game.
Take a look at the video of the Champions League hymn along with the beautiful mosaic by the Camp Nou faithful just before Barcelona destroyed AC Milan 4-0 in this year's UCL.
One major item on the Barça Bucket List is to get tickets and attend a Clásico game at the Santiago Bernabeu.
You're going into the lion's den, but don't fear, you'll have plenty of Culé backup with you.
Here's a bit of info about away team fan seating at the Bernabeu from the website FootballAway.co.uk:
Away fans (at the Santiago Bernabeu) are allocated the 4th tier in the North East corner of the ground accessed via Torre D (or tower D). From which the view is best described as "birds eye". You'll be able to see all the action as the pitch view is unobstructed but the detail of a hard tackle or a penalty decision will escape you. From the front of the 4th tier and extending upwards to the roof there is a mesh net to stop objects being thrown on the pitch or Real Madrid fans below.
Most of you have seen video of the away fans celebrating a goal at the Bernabeu. What an incredible experience it would be to celebrate a golazo and a Barcelona win at the Bernabeu.
This is definitely in my top three Barça Bucket List.
Take a look at this video of Culés celebrating Lionel Messi's golazo at the Bernabeu in the 2011 UEFA Champions League semifinals, 1st leg, as this goal essentially eliminated Jose "Por Que?" Mourinho and Real Madrid.
I'll see you at the Torre D entrance of the Bernabeu to go and support FC Barcelona.
Finally, let's get to perhaps the most memorable bucket list item.
If you can somehow get tickets to see FC Barcelona when they are in a UEFA Champions League Final, please do so!
As much as I'd love to see a Champions League game at the Camp Nou, I'll take going to a neutral stadium in Europe to see Barcelona play in a Champions League Final any day.
It's the biggest prize Barcelona can win in Europe, and if you are blessed to be there when Xavi, Carles Puyol and Lionel Messi lift up the trophy, you have a memory that will live with you forever. You will tell your kids and your grandchildren for years to come that you were there when Barcelona were crowned champions of Europe.
While this Barça Bucket List item may be the most expensive and most difficult one on the list, it's arguably the one that will have the most impact in your Culé life.
Hopefully, we will all witness FC Barcelona lift the Champions League trophy at Wembley Stadium in May.
Xoel, The Voice of FC Barcelona.
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