Pep guardiola

Barça’s golden age and its ruling triumvirate

Even against our better judgment we tend to imbue our sporting heroes with characteristics they may not possess. This can often lead to disappointment. What passes for fluency on the pitch is seldom matched with any articulacy off it. Lionel Messi, arguably the best player of his generation, is no exception. The Argentinian’s inability to communicate verbally has rendered him an enigma. In Simon Kuper’s incisive and fascinating new book — one that charts FC Barcelona’s transformation over the past three decades from provincial club to international brand — Messi cuts as elusive a figure on the page as he is does off it. ‘Even now that Messi sometimes talks,’