With the countdown started for another high-stakes season We went behind the scenes for an exclusive look at the exceptional people and preparation behind the FC Barcelona team during preseason the science behind the nutrition the experts behind the training the care behind the kit the pros behind the pros No one is closer to the pros on the pitch, than the pros behind the kit. When the players pull on their shirt and lace up their boots, they need to look and feel proud and poised. Everything needs to be right.
The way the kit fits. The way it feels against the skin. Even the the way it’s laid out in the dressing room. With the clock ticking towards Barça’s first match of the season the kit team have a lot of work left. The quality of care provided by the kit teams at the highest standard The quantity of kit they take care of is just as impressive. During the season they will be in charge of all Barça’s shirts, shorts and socks and an evergrowing range of incredibly colourful boots All of it is personalized Being a Barça kit man is… A responsibility. Because Barça is a very big club. You’re a person who’s with the players all the time. “Making sure they have everything they need.
Whatever a player needs, he gets.” We bring all the kit to the dressing room and the pitch. The players must have everything to hand, they should never have to ask for anything. It’s not just the names on the shirts that are important. It’s also the names of the people responsible for them. Gabriel, Taja and Jordi are the kit team for the Barça first team. They are in charge of all the equipment the players use, they ensure that nothing is missing, and that everything respects the tastes and rituals of every player. With a support network as strong as this, the players don’t even need to think about their kit, allowing them to focus on staying fit and healthy. As the exclusive training partner of FC Barcelona, Beko provides selected home appliances which help the kit team to support the players. We usually get here around 8.00 am. We prepare the boots, balls and the kit for the players to change into when they arrive. They each have a shelf with their name on. We fold all the kit up into the right place, and they collect theirs and take it to the dressing room. We’re getting that ready from 8.00 am until the players arrive And as they’re arriving, we’re in a room next door. We’re there for them in case they need anything. Before training, we make sure the balls are ready. And cones, hurdles, whatever the coaches need. They ask us to leave their boots on a ‘last’, which is a machine that makes them wider or narrower. Or to change a piece if it’s got a bit worn and needs changing. Then we gather everything up and the laundry team come to take it for washing, and they bring it back to us afterwards. No piece of kit is more important to the players, than their boots Pre-season brings an ideal opportunity to try out different styles and for the kit team to find out about new preferences Especially, from new signings I’d say we have about three pairs of boots per player, if not more… Maybe four. They all have two with moulded studs and two with screw-in studs. So 25 players with 4 pairs, that’s 100 pairs of boots. I give each player their boots and then the players tell me which ones he wants for the match and which one for the training. If they’re leather, you apply a bit of grease to keep them from getting hard. In the old days it was all grease and polish. Pre-season also gives Barça the chance to travel to places where fans don’t usually get to see their heroes This summer, the players headed out to the USA and a whole lot of kit went with them In fact, the team travels with suitcases totalling more than 500 kilograms Packed with t-shirts, boots and all kinds of technical equipment Barça on tour is a serious business We have some tours where we take four sets of shirts for games and four for training sessions. On tour it’s shirts and shorts because it’s so hot that they don’t need tracksuits and things like that. You need to make sure you have everything for every player, because you never know what the player might ask for. You might think it’s too cold, but it’s hot for him. Or the other way around. It’s not the same amount of kit during the season as in pre-season. We take a lot more in the pre-season. In the pre-season everything happens at a faster pace because there are two training sessions a day unlike the regular season. That’s much more work. You need kit for all 50 people that go. I do think the pre-season is different to the season.Mainly because of the volume of work when you go on tour. One of the biggest pre-season warm-up games is the home premiere. For Barça, that means the annual Joan Gamper Trophy match, The official presentation of the team to the club and the fans Eagerly awaited chance to see how the team is shaping up for the new season Gabriel and the team work through the night to ensure that their preparation is perfect. Football is a team game, but it takes much more than the team on the pitch to achieve and maintain success The teams of pros behind the scenes are crucial. The passion, dedication and effort of the kit team are part of what it takes to make the stars shine and that’s what makes all the kit teams hard work during pre-season worthwhile There are always some that you have a closer relationship with than others. You build a relationship, but there always has to be a limit. Because they are players and you’re a kit man… or “materials manager”. You have to get to know each other, because you are together for so many hours. But I get on very well with them all. The kit team aren’t famous like the players Their names don’t feature on scarves or flags, But the players and coaches would be the first to point out how essential they are to the team They are the attention behind the detail. The care behind the kit The pros behind the pros Next time: The experience behind the youth, the teaching behind the talent, the mission behind La Masia The most famous youth academy in football. Discover who’s next in our final exclusive behind the scenes look The pros behind the pros