FC Barcelona nickname is truly one of a kind

Barça is omnipresent, appearing everywhere from fans' blogs all the way to the players’ backs. / MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
The term ‘Barça’ is a unique moniker and ubiquitous symbol binding Club and culture

As FC Barcelona’s global popularity continues to skyrocket—it is currently the number one social media force on the planet—thanks in large part to the team’s uncompromising style of play, the Club is increasingly finding itself the subject of millions of online posts stampeding through cyberspace 24/7 in the form of news articles, blogs, tweets, retweets, likes, links…you name it.

Just as we previously wrote about some of the confusion associated with the names of Barça’s players and head coach Luis Enrique, due to the uniqueness of Spanish naming customs and longtime traditions in certain footballing nations, another area that can also be a bit baffling is the name of the team itself, in particular its official nickname.

Nickname ubiquity

Team nicknames have become literary lifelines in the shorthand online world of okays, emoticons and LOLs. In New York, people like to talk about the ‘Yanks,’ while in Manchester, England, a growing part of the sporting lexicon is ‘City’—the cross-town rivals of ‘United.’ But in the Catalan capital, one of the most commonly heard expressions—regardless of whose conversation you may be eavesdropping on—is ‘Barça.’

Divergent spellings

If you took a minute to scan the world wide web for content related to FC Barcelona, you would find that the team nickname, Barça, is spelled a few different ways.

These inaccuracies are commonplace because Barça is spelled with a special character—the ç or c-cedilla, as it is commonly known. Not many people in the English-speaking world are familiar with it. And the ç is rarely, if ever, seen when FC Barcelona’s nickname is mentioned in writing in the international arena.

Perhaps the most common alternate spelling of Barça is ‘Barca,’ which has a k sound and literally means ‘rowboat.’ The pronunciation of ‘Barca’ even leads a few people to go with ‘Barsa.’ But this version, although it is pronounced the same way as Barça, is far less common.

Cultural significance

It’s about a lot more than just a simple keystroke. The ç is a badge of pride for Catalan speakers, most of whom are steadfast Barça supporters, or culers.

The Club itself, meanwhile, is essentially the standard bearer of not just the language, but of the entire culture, further cementing this historically intertwined relationship between the Catalan people and their team.

The word Barça—ç included—is essentially a symbol of identity that represents the Club’s core values of respect, effort, teamwork, ambition, and humility. And those values are part of what makes Barça ‘more than a club.’ Without the ç, Barça just wouldn’t be the same.

Ivan Rakitic is Barça’s high performance spark plug

Rakitic celebrates the goal he scored versus Athletic Club at Camp Nou this season. / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The tireless Croatian midfielder has opened the scoring nine times since joining the team and has now surpassed last year’s goal total

Second child just arrived

Rakitic and his wife, Raquel Mauri had their second child, Adara, on Sunday morning. The midfielder spread the news via social media. Congratulations, Ivan!

[[DES_1]]Ivan Rakitic continues to prove he was a great pickup.

After coming over from Sevilla prior to last season, the Croatian midfielder has solidified his place as on of Luis Enrique’s go-to players. A staple in the Catalan midfield, Rakitic is sixth on the team in total minutes played this season, ahead of everyone else on the team except Luis Suárez, Neymar, Sergio Busquets, Javier Mascherano and Lionel Messi.

Not only has Rakitic been key to Barça’s game in the midfield, but he’s also become something of a spark plug for the blaugrana attack. He opened the scoring in Saturday night’s 2–0 win over Betis at the Benito Villamarín in Seville, Spain.

It was not the first time he’s been able to get things moving for Barça, either. Rakitic, who has become something of a specialist in getting Barça on the scoreboard, has now opened the scoring for the team nine times since signing two summers ago.

Moreover, Saturday’s goal was his ninth this season, giving him two more than the seven he scored last season. Incredibly, Rakitic is the team’s fourth leading scorer after the trident (Messi–Suárez–Neymar), which has 123 goals so far this year (also besting last year’s 122-goal record).

Reading further into the Croatian’s scoring numbers, one can see that Barça have never lost when Rakitic has scored. In fact, they have all been wins except for a lone draw at Villarreal back in mid-March of this season.

One of his icebreakers was perhaps the biggest goal of his career, coming in the 4th minute of last season’s UEFA Champions League final versus Juventus. Barça went on to win the game, 3–1, thus completing their unprecedented second treble.

Here’s a look at the nine games when Rakitic opened the scoring:

Season

Competition

Stadium (Opponent)

Result for Barça

2014/15

La Liga

Los Cármenes (Granada)

3–1 win

2014/15

La Liga

Nuevo Arcángel (Córdoba)

8–0 win

2014/15

UEFA Champions League

Camp Nou (Man. City)

1–0 win

2014/15

UEFA Champions League

Olympiastadion (Juventus)

3–1 win

2014/15

Copa del Rey

Huesca (Huesca)

4–0 win

2015/16

UEFA Champions League

Borisov Arena (BATE)

2–0 win

2015/16

La Liga

Vallecas (Rayo Vallecano)

5–1 win

2015/16

La Liga

El Madrigal (Villarreal)

2–2 draw

2015/16

La Liga

Benito Villamarín (Betis)

2–0 win

Five jaw-dropping moments from FC Barcelona’s training sessions

Luis Suárez applauds the work of his teammates at one of Barça's workouts. / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The most entertaining and spectacular plays from the first team at the Ciutat Esportiva

With a bevy of players wielding unmatched technical skill blending lightning-like speed, feathery touch and textbook execution, FC Barcelona‘s playing style is instantly recognisable.

And it all gets sharpened on a regular basis at the team’s training centre, where a panoply of drills hammers home this melange of lethal playmaking characteristics.

One of the hallmarks of Barça’s awesome workout routine is what is known as a ‘rondo’ — a high-speed game of keep away that will keep your head spinning.

To see this and a few others of the most outlandish training session moments from the current season, check out this video featuring jaw-dropping workout displays from the likes of Messi and Neymar, goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, and others.

Month of May takes Barça down the final stretch

Lionel Messi runs away from a Sporting defender in one of April's big games. / VICTOR SALGADO - FCB
Final month of competition brings the Catalans three matches with two titles in play

April showers bring May flowers. At least, that’s what FC Barcelona are hoping for.

After a turbulent month of April, the Catalans head into May still in control of their own destiny with a domestic double well within the realm of possibility.

Luis Enrique‘s team have three matches remaining — two in La Liga and the Copa del Rey final against Sevilla. If Barça win all three they will have two new cups for the trophy cases in the Club’s Museum.

Here’s a look at the remaining calendar:


In the league, Barça host Espanyol this Sunday at 5.00pm in a must-win derby before closing out the La Liga season on the road at Granada on 15 May. Both of Barça’s opponents are trying to sew up another year in the Spanish First Division.

The Copa del Rey final versus Sevilla on 22 May is Barça’s final game before the team’s international players go away for the summer’s national team tournaments, including the UEFA Euro 2016 in France, the Copa América Centenario in the United States and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where Neymar will be the lone blaugrana player in action.

This 2015/16 season began with a 5–4 UEFA Super Cup win over Sevilla in Tbilisi, Georgia, and will end in the Copa del Rey versus the same team, hopefully with a similar result.

New FCBEscola in Moscow

Children training at FCBEscola / VÍCTOR SALGADO - FCB
Board of Directors approves plan to expand the Barça methodology and values to Russia, the host of the 2018 World Cup

On Monday, the FC Barcelona board approved the creation of a new FCBEscola in Moscow and the organisation of new Soccer Camps in Sochi. The plans for the two Russian cities form part of the growth strategy to implant new FCBEscola schools around the world.

This project means that the Club now has 22 such schools around the world, following on from the FCBEscola Lagos (Nigeria) and FCBEscola Charlotte (United States) projects that were passed at the last meeting of the board on April 14.

“As well as Russia having a huge potential market, the fact that it is hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2018 is awakening a special passion for the game in the country, so this is the ideal time to be there”, says Iñaki Andreu, the FCBEscola director of projects in Europe and Africa.

The Moscow school is scheduled to start operating in September with 200 boys and girls. “Our aim is to implant the Barça methodology in the best possible way and thus ensure that the Russian project is developed at the highest quality, both in keeping with our own standards and the demands of a market like the Russian one” continues Andreu.

Last summer in Russia

The relationship between FCBEscola and Russia started last summer when a camp was held in Sochi between 12 June and 19 August 2015 for boys and girls aged 6 to 13, regardless of footballing ability. The camp was a huge success, with high quality standards and very well received both by the participants and the local media.

In autumn and winter, talks have been held and a project has been put together for Moscow and Sochi, which has been approved today by the Board of Directors. “Ever since the start, we have seen how much interest there is in Barça in Moscow and that there is a lot of potential for growth” concludes Iñaki Andreu.

Calendar set for Catalan derby week

Lionel Messi, Gerard Piqué and Ivan Rakitic play keep away during the team's last training session, on Friday, 29 April 2016. / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
Sunday’s match versus Espanyol at Camp Nou to be preceded by a mix of training sessions and rest days

The penultimate week in the 2015/16 La Liga is upon us. As FC Barcelona get ready to host cross-city rivals RCD Espanyol at Camp Nou on Sunday, 7 May at 5.00pm, they’ll be doing so with four days of training and two days of rest scattered among the six days leading up to this must-win derby. A victory Sunday brings Barça to within a single triumph of the league championship. Here’s a look at this week’s schedule (All times are in Central European Time):

Monday, 2 May

Rest day

Tuesday, 3 May

11.00am: Training session at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper

Wednesday, 4 May

11.00am: Training session at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper

Thursday, 5 May

Rest day

Friday, 6 May

11.00am: Training session at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper

Saturday, 7 May

11.00am: Training session at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper

Sunday, 8 May

5.00pm: FC Barcelona v RCD Espanyol. Week 37 in La Liga. Camp Nou

FC Barcelona’s away win against Betis, by the numbers

Leo Messi made both goals against Betis / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
Messi makes two assists while Suárez extends lead at the top of the scoring charts

FC Barcelona’s win over Real Betis on Saturday moves them a step closer to the league title. Goals from Rakitic and Suárez in the second half at the Benito Villamarín calmed the nerves of the Barça faithful, who maintain their lead at the top of the division with just two games remaining.

The Croatian’s opener just after the restart was his seventh in La Liga and his ninth in all competitions. Rakitic has proven key away from home this season, opening the scoring at Rayo, Villarreal and BATE Borisov.


Suárez’s spree continued with his ninth goal in the last three matches which puts him four goals clear, both in the league scoring charts and in the race for the European Golden Shoe.


The Uruguayan’s goal also pushes the combined tally of the front three to 123, surpassing last season’s total.


Barça have now kept a clean sheet in each of their last three league games, and have scored 16 goals in the process.


The defence put in yet another solid display, highlighted by the fact that Piqué, Busquets, Mascherano and Jordi Alba managed to recuperate possession 40 times.


Despite not getting on the scoresheet himself, Leo Messi played his part with two assists. The Argentine is league’s leading provider of goals, along with teammate Suárez, with 15.


The win preserves Barça’s lead at the top of the table with just two games remaining. If Luis Enrique’s side win both, they will be confirmed champions.

 
WEEK 37 FCB – Espanyol Levante – Atletico Madrid – Valencia
WEEK 38 Granada – FCB Atletico – Celta Deportivo – Madrid

Luis Suárez takes another step towards Pichichi and Golden Shoe

Luis Suárez celebrates his goal at Betis / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
With another goal over the weekend, the Uruguayan is four strikes clear at the top of both standings

Luis Suárez extended his lead at the top of the Primera Division scoring charts with another goal at Real Betis on Saturday night.

The Uruguayan, by putting his side 2-0 up against the Andalusians, earned his 35th goal of the league season, four more than second-placed Cristiano Ronaldo who was unable to play over the weekend due to injury.

He is also in the running to earn his second Golden Shoe award – the first time was in 2013/14 when he shared the award with Cristiano Ronaldo as both finished with 31 goals.

Suárez currently has four more than Ronaldo and Jonas (Benfica), and five more than Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli).

The Barça forward is on 54 goals in all competitions, already beating his previous personal record of 49 with Ajax and, in his two campaigns in Catalonia, has managed 79 strikes.

The top 10 videos from the month of April

El vídeo 'Gràcies Johan' projectat al videomarcador del Camp Nou ha estat el més destacat de l'abril / VICTOR SALGADO - FCB
From the farewell to Johan Cruyff to the presentation of the New Camp Nou, don’t miss the month’s most popular videos from fcbarcelona.com

1) THANKS, JOHAN


2) CAMP NOU MOSAIC AND TRIBUTE TO JOHAN CRUYFF


3) SEE THE NEW CAMP NOU – EVERY BARÇA FAN’S DREAM


4) THE NEW CAMP NOU – PHASED CONSTRUCTION WHILE PLAY GOES ON


5) FC BARCELONA KEEP AWAY GAME WITH SURPRISE ENDING


6) PIQUÉ v SUÁREZ II: THE REVENGE


7) BUSTLING PRE-BETIS TRAINING SESSION


8) PRE-EL CLÁSICO WORKOUT


9) HIGHLIGHTS: UNDER-19 v SANT ANDREU (3-0)


10) CLAUDIO BRAVO TRAINS LIKE A CHAMPION