This book is a superb chronicle of FC Barcelona's meteroic rise to rule the football world over recent times. Concentrating mainly on the Pep Guardiola era (2008 - 2012), the author includes well researched and detailed entries on the key players in the current team as well as a number of personnel who have helped develop this groundbreaking team. The author writes with economy and purpose very passionately about the nucleus of the current team including obviously Lionel Messi, Xavi, Iniesta et al. It is very clear how much the nucleus of homegrown players have influenced this footballing sensation with their own dynamic, quick passing tiki taka style football which exhilarates and astounds in equal measures. In addition to chapters on current players we learn of the famous La Masia and how the youngsters are schooled and moulded into the future Messis and Puyols in years to come. A chapter on the essence of the breathtaking football we take from granted from FC Barclona is also included featuring Johan Cruyff and how his methods of total football forms the basis of what we admire today. The author has clearly referenced a massive amount of material to create this fascinating book and it is a real page turner.
The highlight of the book would be the detailed and gripping accounts portraying Messi and the moulding of the team by the dedication of Pep Guardiola. We are left in no doubt that this team, surely the greatest of all time, did not come about through accident. The chapters on the total football / tiki taka football style and the La Masia football academy help complete the book. The reader gets an insight from the grassroots style of play used, the teaching of the kids in this style through the various stages of the La Masia to the fulfilment of this dream on a world stage in Champions League finals.
Whilst a superb football book, one of the best you will read, there are a couple of very minor quibbles. Clearly any football lover (and especially those who buy this book) will have great admiration of the team some may find parts where the author over eulogises and seems a tad excessive. Also whilst frequent reference is made to Cruyff's 1992 Champions League winning 'Dream Team' there is not a single mention of the marking of the end of this team- namely the 1994 Champions League final when AC Milan crushed Cruyff's 'Dream Team' 4-0. The end of the Dream Team era. It also seems that the author has his preferences in the politics of FCB and the current president does not yet sit on the same pedestal that the author perchs Joan Laporta, president between 2003 - 2010!
Overall the positives massively overwhelm these small negatives in the same way FC Barcelona frequently overwhelm their opponents on the pitch. With style, panache and intelligence. If you like football, this is essential reading.