A little man in a baseball cap, sitting high in his luxury crossover SUV, drives into the players’ parking lot at FC Barcelona’s closed training ground. Lionel Messi, the world’s best footballer, is reporting for work. We’re used to seeing footballers in stadiums but, in fact, the place where they spend most of their working lives, their equivalent of the office, is the training ground. Barcelona’s Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper, named after the club’s founder, sits at the western edge of town. FC Barcelona vie with their eternal rivals Real Madrid for the unofficial title of the biggest football club on earth. “Barça”, as they are known, have won the European Champions League five times, four of them since 2006. Currently headed for a probable 26th Spanish title, they visit Real Madrid this weekend for the latest instalment of El Clásico, the most-watched club game in global football. In sport, Barcelona’s 190-million followers on social media are second only to Madrid. Messi and his...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, Morningstar financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.