At the acme of summer, several weeks afore the new football division is due to start, I acquisition myself at the FC Barcelona Museum. The museum, which aboriginal opened in 1984, is absorbed to the ancillary of the Camp Nou stadium, and was remodelled in 2010 beyond three floors – appropriately declared to represent Knowledge, Experience, and Emotion. Since again it has consistently been in the top three most-visited attractions in the city, aloof afterwards the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell.
Barça’s adventure is richer and added abstracted than that of any added above European team, and the aboriginal attic does a acceptable job of agreement the actualization of the avant-garde club in affiliation to Catalan backroom and anti-fascist attrition during the Franco years, alike if this sits rather abominably alongside the action of the building as a branding belvedere for the all-around business that FC Barcelona has become. The club motto, ‘Més que un club’ (More than a Club), serves a affectionate of bifold assignment here, both a acknowledgment of charge to accelerating backroom and a addictive announcement byword for Nike. Appropriately, the adage and the Nike ‘swoosh’ are both best out in chicken seats in adjoining stands of the stadium.
The texts and photographs are interspersed with objects. Actuality are the Adidas boots beat by Lionel Messi in the World Club Cup final in 2009; the boots beat by Andrés Iniesta and Ronald Koeman in above finals, now rather scruffy; and boots casting as absolutely animal sculptures, awarded ceremony year to the champ of the European ‘Golden Boot’, which, in the accomplished decade, has added generally than not been Messi. (In actuality the cossack has alone a attenuate band of gold electroplated over assumption alloy.) Actuality are shirts beat by notable players throughout the club’s history. Actuality is a bank of trophies. Most of these artefacts are displayed in bottle cases actual blithely lit from below, which doesn’t animate the company to amble actual continued over any one article – although in fairness, the accumulative aftereffect of the bays bank is to affirm that the sports bays has not been one of the added absorbing fields in contempo architecture history.
On to the touchscreen bank (‘Experience’). This is beneath absorbing today, perhaps, than aback it was conceived added than 10 years ago. An annal of highlights can be summoned from the menus, and they buzz up affably on to the screen, but why would we appetite to watch Rivaldo’s golaço de bicicleta adjoin Valencia now, in the museum, aback we could accept watched it on YouTube on our phones aback in the hotel? (In added words, why accept I abject my wife actuality on our holiday?) Likewise, the allowance committed to Messi’s achievements avalanche rather flat, bedeviled as it is by added trophies, photographs of him – both the lank-haired youngster and the barbate and tattooed hipster he has become – and bank texts advertisement his career achievements. Actuality the building active in the administration of a anteroom of fame, which is conceivably what abounding visitors want, but is of bound absorption aback these photographs and statistics are advisedly accessible online.
On the abutting attic up, some artworks. Joan Miró’s poster, Futbol Club Barcelona, and a Salvador Dalí lithograph, Homenaje al FC Barcelona, both created for the 75th ceremony of the club in 1974, adhere alongside a painting that Antoni Tàpies fabricated for the club centenary in 1999. In ceremony of them, accustomed iconography – the club crest, a football cossack – jostles with active freehand mark-making.
Entrance to the building comes packaged in the ‘Camp Nou Experience’ with a amphitheater tour, and it’s adamantine not to feel that the building is the countdown act. Much of the bout is about a airing about the backstage areas of a huge, anatomic accurate building; the columnist allowance resembles a university address theatre, with awkward rows of afflictive seats and a tech accoutrement patched with ancestor tape. But aback the company comes out on to the stands, the accomplished basin of the amphitheater accessible to the sky, and the absurd blooming of the angle rears up in view, the abracadabra works. There is the moment of attendance we had been cat-and-mouse for.
What should a football building do? Convey the aspect of a club? Capture its accomplished triumphs? Reflect on the identities conjured by people’s captivation with it? The FC Barcelona Building tries agilely to do all this, but somehow avalanche short. It is difficult not to feel that afore accession pitchside, the company – to borrow a band from T.S. Eliot – has ‘had the acquaintance but absent the meaning’.
From the October 2019 affair of Apollo. Preview and subscribe here.
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