A combination of a new and enthusiastic president Joan Laporta and manager Frank Rijkaard has seen Barcelona establish themselves as one of the top clubs in the world.
In 2005 they won the Spanish La Liga and the Supercopa de Espana in 2005. Their only disappointment was defeat in the UEFA Champions League by English club Chelsea.
Over the last few years, the influx of talented new players like Henrik Larsson, Ronaldinho, Deco, Ludovic Giuly and Samuel Eto'o and experienced professionals like Rafael Márquez and Gio combined with a nucleus of home grown players such Carles Puyol, Andrés Iniesta, Xavi, Oleguer and Víctor Valdés has made Barcelona one of the most successful and exciting football teams to watch.
In the last two seasons, the brilliant Brazilian Ronaldinho, signed for €30 million from Paris St Germain in July 2003, has twice been voted FIFA World Footballer of the Year and has developed into a flamboyant match-winner.
Strengthened by the arrival of Mark van Bommel and the emergence of Argentinian youngster Lionel Messi, the current 2004/05 season has seen Barcelona continue where they left off, playing attractive and attacking football. Highlights of the season so far have included an emphatic 3-0 victory at Real Madrid in November. As the Laureus qualifying year came to an end, Barcelona were still going strong in the UEFA Champions League.