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on 15 March 2013
This is possibly the most enjoyable book about sport that I have read, certainly the best I have read in a long time. The combination of Graham Hunter, a splendid author, and Barcelona, an even better team, proved to be the perfect match. The book mainly focuses on the greatest period of the clubs history, the three seasons that spanned from 2008-2011. In 2008 Barcelona were a team that were on the wane, full of seasoned internationals and bonafide superstars but lacking motivation and morale. That all changed when Pep Guardiola took charge and brought his own philosophy of possession-based football which was to prove revolutionary. Hunter goes into great detail on how Guardiola was first able to rid the squad of stragglers such as Ronaldinho and Deco and get key players like Messi and Xavi to understand and implement his principles. It is very interesting to then read about the relentless way in which Guardiola went about getting the best out of his players.

Key matches such as the destruction of Man Utd at Wembley and the 5-0 thrashing of Real Madrid are also well documented. Hunter also chronicles the rise of Leo Messi, which proves to be very informative, as I was never aware of how close Messi was to moving back to Argentina during his early years at Camp Nou. It is inconceivable to think that fans of European football might have been deprived of watching such a genius in action.

All in all I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone interested in the greatest team to ever play the beautiful game!
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on 3 April 2018
The best and worst things are Hunter's incredible access. Best - because it means he gets brilliant insights and interviews. Superb in that respect. Worst - because he constantly puts himself in the story, when really it's not of great interest. This doesn't happen in his 'Spain' book and therefore that one is more enjoyable.
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on 5 February 2013
I found the book so good i couldn't put it down but was also really fascinating & informative as well.

I watched on in wonder at the greatest team on the planet winning the 2011 Champions league & really I wanted to know more about the origins of this team and just how they became the force they are, this book tells the Barca story.

When I say the Barca story I mean the book looks at all aspects of just how this unique club reached the summit of world football from the origins of the tactics they employ the 4-3-3, the politics of Barca & the huge influence Johan Cruyff played in the modern Barcalona as they are now. I really enjoyed also they went through most of the starting 11 & really told the individual players stories from childhood being discovered & going through La Masia the Barca academy, probably Messi's story was the most interesting.

You really get a sense from the book of the mentality, history & culture of this football club.

I think what makes this such a good book is that the author has a really personal interest in the history of Barcelona, he is very football clever but also that he has a great talent as a writer.

Theres also some really interesting snippets & stories in there as well like how close was Mourinho to being Barca manager instead of Guardiola? What went on behind the scenes at the Beckham to Real Madrid transfer? read and find out.
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on 8 April 2016
Graham Hunter tells the story of FC Barcelona up until THAT game – their Champions League victory over Manchester United at Wembley in 2011. Like the game that night, this is marvellous, simply marvellous (and that’s coming from a United fan!).

I’ll start with a quote from Pep Guardiola which I found in this book. If only more people involved in football could share these sentiments. “We live in a world where everything is spiralling in cost and many people need to make a big sacrifice in order to go and watch a game of football. So, for me, it all makes sense, the effort, the work, the planning, the concentration and the discipline if you do it for the people. The manner in which we have played this season is a demonstration of the respect we have for the people who pay for a ticket or pay money to watch matches on television.”

Wow, just wow. If only there were more men like him, but I guess that’s why there’s only one Guardiola – the most sought-after manager of a generation. Guardiola is of course a disciple of Johan Cruyff, who features heavily through-out this book, as he did in the development of this great club.

The chapter on Cruyff is one to point out. “His work at the Camp Nou can between 1988 and 1996 can be broken into three basic sections. He won trophies, reshaped youth development but, above all, embedded beliefs which remain not only part of Barcelona’s DNA but now part of the wider footballing culture in Spain, too.” At one point in the book, Graham states: “Without [Cruyff], there would be no Pep Guardiola, no Messi, no Xavi and no Andrés Iniesta.” If we extend that further, then there wouldn’t be this book or the beautiful football that transfixes the world either. Imagine the void.

Whatever I write, I cannot do this book justice. The Making of the Greatest Team in the World is a marvellous body of work; entertaining, intriguing and thought-provoking through-out, filled with wit, charm and romance – and all the better for it! It’s an obvious thing to say, but like the rest of us, Graham has fallen in love with FC Barcelona and their style of play, and who can blame him?
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on 24 October 2015
I read a review prior to purchasing that said the writing was not great and the chapters and stories were repetitive, however I like Graham Hunter both in the papers and on radio so thought I would give it a chance. The reviewer was right not Graham best piece of writing, did repeat itself however the passion, love, the detail of the individuals was fascinating, been reminded of some great games made the heart race hard. Good read graham, great insight from your research.
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on 21 January 2018
A sympathetic look at one of the greatest sporting teams of all time. Hunter is close to the squad & virtually an insider at the club but he is not sycophantic. He freely criticises what he does not like and gives a balanced assessment of the teams downturns in form. A thoroughly enjoyable read. Bravo!
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on 13 December 2012
If like me, you admire and enjoy Barcelona's own brans of football then this book wont disappoint: this is up there with some of the finest football books I have ever read. The insights into La Masia and Messi's upbringing are particularly good. It is obvious this guy knows his stuff and has researched meticulously to write this book.

Messi, Iniesta, Xavi and Pep get star-billing (unsurprisingly) with long-chapters dedicated to fleshing out their backstories. This is great but some chapters (for example on Eric Abidal) feel quite rushed by comparison.

What really lets this book down is the author's completely one-sided arguments for Barca. Now I know Mourinho can be a bit controversial, but you will leave this book believing he is the embodiment of evil and Pep is god himself. (Yes this is a book about Barca but I would have liked a more balanced feel to the whole thing). I found myself remarking to the author on several occasions "Please remove your tongue from [insert Barca related person here] a**e. For example, there were no mentions of Busquets' behaviour in THAT Inter match, rather the author focused on evil himself Mourinho.

Just a minor detail in the grans scheme of things and this is a very enjoyable read if you are a fan of/admire Barca.
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on 4 October 2013
Having bought this book from Amazon 2 weeks ago, and have now finished the book, I feel inclined to leave my first book review on this website.

Firstly, I am not an avid reader. My reading is limited to long train/plane journeys and that is about it. I tend to focus predominently on autobiographies and books relating to sporting matters as that is where my interest occurs. Notably, my favourite Spanish team has always been Real Madrid.

The previous sporting book i read was 'I Am The Secret Footballer', and I must admit, i thoroughy enjoyed it, and was not sure a book, at least that I was aware of, would top this. This book, in many ways, did.

First and foremost, the author is clearly knowledgable about the football club. It would be very easy for him to write in such a style that makes the book difficult to follow, bordering on confusing, but it in no way does this. The verbatim quotes as well as the authors own insights help to portray the story of the football club very well, and it links the 'old guard' at the club with the new very well. The politics of the club are discussed, but are not discussed in massive detail (which to me is a good thing) and leaves enough information to form the correlation between what is happening on the pitch and the goings-on in the boardroom, inparticular through the timing of, and selection of new managers.

Having read some of the other reviews, I do agree that Lionel Messi and Pep Guardiola are mentioned a fair bit in this book, but lets be honest, they are key figures in the Barcelona FC story and have contributed a great deal to their success. Likewise, Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol, Cryuff, Rossell and Joan Laporta feature heavily, for the same reason. There were times whilst reading this book that I got the impression that this book was just as much anti-Real Madrid as it was pro-Barcelona, but these thoughts were very few and far between, and there is also justified praise for Real Madrid throughout.

The tactical insights are another way in which this book excels. Some people would struggle to imagine formations and player positions were it described but not drawn on a board. This book clearly demonstrates and explains players positions (i.e. Xavi playing 10m further up the pitch to create goalscoring opportunities) without the use of diagrams. As a player myself it often left me thinking "thats so simple, why didnt i think of that".

This book is thoroughly worth the 5 stars i have given it and I would recommend it to any football fan, regardless of whether they follow Spanish football or not.
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on 16 October 2016
For any FC Barcelona fan or anyone who has an interest in the fascinating history of this football club...this book is for you.

I have to admit when i first bought it i thought it may be a bit longwinded seeing how big the book is but Hunter pretty much has an access all areas approach to the story he tells. The things you learn and the little anecdotes Hunter recalls about this time are amazing.

Anyone with an interest, don't hesitate. Read this book!
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on 26 February 2013
Graham Hunter's book is an enthralling read about one of the greatest football clubs on the planet. This title stands out from the rest in the respect that it takes you on a journey into the inner sanctum of the Nou Camp - a cathedral of football on its own merit - as Graham gets deep into the soul of the players and personalties who inhabit it. His writing is of a brilliant standard. I highly recommend it to you.
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