Among the few guarantees going into any basketball season, 2008-09 included, is that FC Barcelona will start with ambitious intentions of being a top contender again in every competition the team plays. That comes as no surprise, knowing that Barcelona has won seven of the last 14 Spanish League titles, and in the spring of 2003 conquered a triple crown - victories in the Spanish League, Spanish King's Cup and, above all, the Euroleague Final Four. The club's first continental title was won at Palau Saint Jordi in Barcelona before its home fans and stands as the brightest moment in club history, made possible by Dejan Bodiroga, Gregor Fucka, Sarunas Jasikevicius, Juan Carlos Navarro and coach Svetislav Pesic. Their singature triumph punctuated a great history of accomplishment at the club. Over the years, Barcelona had already clinched several European trophies - Saporta Cups in 1985 and 1986 and Korac Cups in 1987 and 1999 - to go with its tremendous national success. In Spain, Barcelona has piled up 19 national cup victories, the first four coming way back in the 1940s, and 14 Spanish League titles, all but one of them coming after 1980, not to mention 15 more second-place domestic finishes. But until 2003, Barcelona had one vacancy in its trophy case. The team had reached the Final Four as many as seven times before, and lost another continental final in 1984, so the euphoric relief that came with its 2003 Euroleague victory in front of nearly 17,000 fans remains a fresh, joyous memory that the team hopes to repeat.
Even when Bodiroga earned MVP honors and became the big hero for Barcelona fans, others who gave the club it's winning legacy - like Nacho Solozabal, Chicho Sibilio, Juan Antonio "Epi" San Epifanio, Audie Norris, Arturas Karnisovas, Sasha Djordjevic and head coach Aito Garcia Reneses - could also share in the glory the club had worked hard for many years to achieve. Since then, Barcelona has returned to the Final Four once, in 2006, losing against eventual champion CSKA Moscow in the semifinals. Barcelona won the Spanish King's Cup title in 2007, when it also reached the Euroleague Quarterfinal Playoffs and the Spanish League finals. The 2007-08 season was a truly rare on in which Barcelona did not raise any trophy at all. Even with that, the team returned to the Spanish League finals and the Euroleague playoffs but Tau Ceramica and Maccabi Tel Aviv, respectively, stood on its way to success. A season without trophies only assures that Barcelona's hunger for the next one is even greater as it looks ahead to 2008-09.