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August 27, 2021 @ 1:00 pm

The Barcelona Complex: An Afternoon with Simon Kuper and John Carlin


August 27, 2021
1:00 pm

Books & Books and Miami Book Fair present…

An Afternoon with Simon Kuper

In conversation with John Carlin

The Barcelona Complex: Lionel Messi and the Making–and Unmaking–of the World’s Greatest Soccer Club

(Penguin Press, $27)

Friday, August 27, 1 PM ET

LIVE via Crowdcast



With rare and unrivaled access, bestselling coauthor of Soccernomics and longtime Financial Times journalist Simon Kuper tells the story of how FC Barcelona became the most successful club in the world—and how that era is now ending

FC Barcelona is not just the world’s highest grossing sports club, it is simply one of the most influential organizations on the planet. At last count, it had approximately 214 million social media followers, more than any other sports club except Real Madrid CF—and by one earlier measure, more than all thirty-two NFL teams combined. It has more in common with multinational megacompanies like Netflix or small nation-states than it does with most soccer teams. No wonder its motto is “More than a club.” But it was not always so. In the past three decades, Barcelona went from a regional team to a global powerhouse, becoming a model of sustained excellence and beautiful soccer, and a consistent winner of championships. Simon Kuper unravels exactly how this transformation took place, paying special attention to the club’s two biggest stars, Johan Cruyff and Lionel Messi, who is arguably the greatest soccer player of all time. Messi joined Barça at age thirteen and, more than anyone, has been the engine and standard-bearer of Barcelona’s glory. But his era is coming to an end—and with it, a once-in-a-lifetime golden run. This book charts Barça’s rise and fall.

Like many world-beating organizations, FC Barcelona closely guards its secrets, granting few outsiders access to the Camp Nou, its legendary home stadium. But after decades of writing about the sport and the club, Kuper was given access to the inner sanctum and the people behind the scenes who strive daily to keep Barcelona at the top. Erudite, personal, and capturing all the latest upheavals, his portrait of this incredible institution goes beyond soccer to understand FC Barcelona as a unique social, cultural, and political phenomenon.



About the Author:

Simon Kuper is a journalist who writes for the Financial Times and publishes in newspapers and magazines around the world. He is one of the world’s leading writers on soccer. His book Football Against the Enemy won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award.


About the Moderator:

John Carlin is a much-travelled journalist and author whose book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation, about former South African president Nelson Mandela, is the basis for the 2009 film Invictus. He has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, the Observer, New Republic, New Statesman, and Wired, among many others. Carlin won the 2000 Ortega y Gasset Award, Spain’s most prestigious journalism prize, for an article on immigration for El País. His latest work has been as an Executive Producer of “The Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius,” broadcast on ESPN and the BBC at the end of 2020.