Fútbol Club Barcelona, commonly known as FC Barcelona or simply Barça, is one of only three clubs never to have been relegated from La Liga, and after Real Madrid is the most successful Spanish football club ever. In fact, according to the International Federation of Football History and Statistics, Barça has been the most successful football club in the world between 1991 and 2008.
The club’s stadium is the Camp Nou (Nou Camp to the English), officially known as the Nou Estadi del Futbol Club Barcelona, and is situated in Avinguda Aristides Maillol, s/n, 08028, Barcelona. It can be reached by bus on Lines 7, 15, 43, 67, 68, 74, 75, L12, L50, L60 and L62 and by metro on Line 3 from Maria Cristina or Les Corts and Line 5 from Collblanc or Badal. It is situated 5 Km from the center of the city, and 13 Km from Barcelona El Prat Airport.
Prior to the Camp Nou, the club had been playing at its first permanent home, the Les Corts ground, since 1922. However, a steady increase in membership led to a new stadium having to be built. After a period of discussion and argument as to whether the new stadium should be situated at a site known as La Maternidad, purchased by the club in 1950, or at a site at the top end of the Diagonal, an area that was undergoing redevelopment at that time, the first stone for the Camp Nou was laid at La Maternidad in 1954 and the stadium completed in 1957.
The club has its own newspaper, magazine and radio and TV station and is a rich club, with overall after-tax profits last year of €6.65 million. It is one of the major football clubs in the world, regularly taking part in major competitions such as the Champions League (Formerly the European Cup).
Camp Nou is an excellent stadium for tourists, with a highly acclaimed museum and offering guided tours of the stadium. These tours are fabulous for anybody, but particularly for football fans. You get shown everything from the pitch to the players’ dressing rooms. You visit the press area, the president’s box and down the tunnel to run onto the pitch - all that is missing is the rest of the team and the thousands of screaming fans! You can’t beat this place for its sheer atmosphere, and when you run onto that pitch you are doing what every Barcelona supporter dreams of doing.
The museum displays the trophies the club has won, and photographs and personal belongings of many of their stars over the ages. It follows the history of this great football club through its early days, including the era of Josep Samitier who played 103 games from 1919-1932, an era when games were very few and far between, and Carlos Rodriguez who scored the highest ever number of goals for Barça, 235 in 350 appearances from 1941-55 and Migueli (Miguel Bernardo Bianquetti), with the highest ever number of appearances for the club: 548 from 1973-89. Bask in the glory of other great modern players, such as Maradonna, Johan Cruijff, Ronaldo, Deco, Ronaldinho and Rafael Marquez who is still playing for FC Barcelona.
Opened in 1984 and expanded several times, the Barcelona Football Club museum is visited by over 1.2 million people a year, and is regarded as the best football museum in the world. It does more than simply display trophies and players’ artifacts, but also focuses on the cultural and social aspects of the club with marvelous audio-visual displays and objects reminiscing on the club’s history.
A brand new multimedia audio-visual display unit is under construction on the second floor, which should be opening towards the end of 2009 or beginning of 2010. This will cap a wonderful football museum that is being used as an example by many other clubs in designing their own museums. This will be a hard standard for them to follow.
You are not obliged to take the guided tour, but would lose a lot by not doing so. If you prefer to walk around the club at your own pace, you can use the option of an audio guide providing a commentary that makes sure you lose little by going it alone. The guide is available in seven languages, namely Catalan, Spanish, English, Dutch, French, German and Italian.
To get tickets go through gates 7 and 9 and head for the Boulevard Ticket Offices. Price for the tour and the museum is €17 for adults and €14 for 6 - 13 year-olds. Children under six are free.
Opening times for the tour museum are 10 A.M. – 6.30 P.M. daily except Sundays and Bank Holiday which are 10 A.M. – 2 P.M. On match days the tour is closed from 10 A.M. – 3 P.M. There is no need to book in advanced but you can book online from the clubs website or for details you can call (+34) 93496 36 08 or email firstname.lastname@example.org