The 2016 Joan Gamper Trophy will feature FC Barcelona taking on U.C. Sampdoria, a club who Barca hold important history with.
Though the Catalan club and the Italian club have only met twice in history, the pair of meetings between them are two of the most important games in Barcelona’s history. The two matches will forever live in Barcelona lore for their significance.
The first and the lesser known meeting of the two came in 1989. Former Barcelona player and legendary footballer Johan Cryuff took the helm as manager. At the end of the Dutchman’s first season as Barcelona manager, the two clubs faced off in the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup final. Barcelona had finished 2nd in La Liga behind Real Madrid in Cruyff’s first season, although it was a significant improvement from the previous year’s 6th place finish.
Riding the momentum of that season, they reached the final of the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. Barca were looking to win it for the third time in their history, having won the cup previously in 1979 and 1982.
The game ended with a 2-0 victory for Barcelona, winning their first trophy of the Cruyff era and what would be the first of many under him. They scored five minutes from the beginning of the match and five minutes from the end of regulation as both striker Julio Salinas and substitute defender Luis López Rekarte slotted home to give Barcelona the victory.
The second meeting with Sampdoria is one of, if not the most important game in Barcelona’s entire history. Before the Champions League was given its current title, it was known as the European Cup. The 1992 European Cup Final was the last one of its name, as it was renamed the Champions League the year after.
The game was the high point of Cruyff’s “Dream Team” which was in the midst of winning four consecutive La Liga titles. The 1992 European Cup Final is the most iconic game of that era for Barcelona.
A winner could not be decided in regulation as it ended 0-0. The match headed into extra time, and it was then where Ronald Koeman delivered one of the greatest moments in Barcelona history.
Koeman’s free kick gave Barcelona their first win in the European Cup/Champions League, a moment that still remains special to many fans of the Blaugrana. It would be the first of the five European Cup/Champions League trophies that Barcelona won (as of 2016).
As the more older generations of Barca fans watch the match for the Joan Gamper trophy, feelings of nostalgia may creep in as they watch the two clubs face each other. Though the fortunes of both clubs have been vastly different since these matches, they remain two of the most important and memorable games in the history of Futbol Club Barcelona.