A New Era Documentary



Camp Nou, home to the iconic Futbol Club Barcelona serves as the backdrop for the Prime Video series “FC Barcelona: A New Era”.

Fútbol Club Barcelona long held an identity fortified in shining trophies and countless accolades which was driven by soccer icon Lionel Messi. For years, Barça dominated La Liga (Spanish Football League) and brought immense pride to the Culers, their fanbase. However, quickly after the departure of club legend Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona as a club, but more so a dynasty lost their winning streak. 

Filming for the documentary, which premiered on Prime Video December 28, 2022, began in 2020 and documented life at the club for two years. The five episode docuseries, FC Barcelona: A New Era, followed the aftermath of Messi’s departure, the club’s rebuilding phase, and the current state of the team.

Anyone familiar with European soccer knows that the Messi name quickly became identified with the club itself. While Messi was arguably the heartbeat of the club, this series set out to tell the story of the new generation of players. 

Despite the simple goal of having to show the future of Barça, the series quickly became overshadowed by the legacy of the past. For seventeen seasons Messi held the spot as the most notable player. His name and skills were the driving force behind the club’s success and ultimately the foundation the club built itself on. However, the series spent too much time on the hole Messi left, which took away from time to portray the current team which was supposed to be the main focus of the documentary. 

The first two episodes of the five-episode series follows past coaches strategizing on how to re-sign the club legend and the growing suspense of his final decision. The second episode culminated into the emotional press conference where Messi announced his departure. By reflecting too much on history, the series took away precious time from emphasizing the athletic powers of the current team.A series which set out to tell the story of the present and future of the club shouldn’t have gone down the dead-end path of retelling the same story over and over again.

The revolving door of coaches and club presidents, including the arrival of current coach Xavi Hernández, was a captivating dynamic in the series as each tried their hand at reviving a dying team. Hernández, a former Barça icon whose role on the field was reimagined to one on the sidelines, helped turn the tides in the success of the team and the storytelling of the docuseries. The show had an interesting contrast between coaches who were trying to adopt Barça principles and Hernández who already had these ideals put in him. 

After the arrival of  Hernández the show pursued its intended goal of putting the spotlight on up-and-coming players and shutting the door on past players. However, youngsters such as Pedro González López, or “Pedri,” and Pablo Martín Páez Gavira, or “Gavi” who are widely considered to be the next generation of club legends, were only introduced in the last two episodes. The duo control the midfield for the club and many often compare their skills to those of the club’s legendary duo, Coach Hernandez and Andres Iniesta. In many interviews Hernandez mentioned that the youngsters are much better than him and Iniesta were at their age. 

So much of Barça’s journey was lost because of the focus on the end goal: a return to the greatness that was once unstoppable. It was not until the final episodes where they acknowledged this former glory can only be recaptured through new players. The series makes it clear that Gavi and Pedri are not the first players since Messi to make a positive impact on the field, but they are credited with retrieving the faith in the team.