FC Barcelona is one of the biggest football clubs in the whole world. The club sells souvenirs for thousands of Euro year after year and hits next sales records. It seems to me that original, received in-person autograph could be better and more valuable item than next scarf or t-shirt. This is why so much fans decide to go to FC Barcelona training ground Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper in Sant Joan Despi. I was there several times and I did not regret at all even if I did not collect lots of signed photos.
Everyone could get to training base by underground, tram or of course car, because the base is situated near motorway. If you will arrive there, you need to know 2 exits exist. It is not so simple to received Messi's or Suarez's autographs, because players do not stop se often next to waiting supporters. Or they avoid them using another gate to go out after training. During my 2 trips to Barcelona I visited training grounds 6 times combined. It was sometimes better, sometimes worse, but finally I have collected a few interesting signatures. In other words, you should not have big demands at all and let be surprised. I really works.
First time when I came to Sant Joan Despi was in the middle of August 2010 I was waiting next to main gates. I met and have received only Diego Milito, Maxwell and Andres Iniesta autographs. That day, but at the evening, I arrived after evening training as well. I choose second exit which is about 700 meters further and I was lucky again. I saw Keita's and Adriano's car stopped and have got signed photos of them. Nonetheless I was little bit disappointed when I realized Messi's, Puyol, PIque's or Xavi's cars did not stop at all. Wave of the hand was everything the fans got from the best players in the team.
Another day I had some spare time and decided to go to Barca's training grounds, but just in the morning. And that was a hit. One bodyguard I have got to know later said I was very, very lucky. Valdes, Dani Alves, Pinto, Abidal and Zlatan Ibrahimović, Pep Guardiola or a few Barca B members stopped. From guard's standpoint it was like anomaly. As a rule, he claimed players sometimes stop, but not when lots of people wait. Anyway, it happens. Footballers were patient and signed or posed to photos. I was in deep shock. However, waiting in the heat or pushing through the crowd was highly worth for me. I wanted more, but I had not others chances to come to training grounds.
It existed in 2014 which I visited Barcelona again. Unfortunately, it was in September during international games break, but lots of famous players had treated their injuries or have not got call-ups from national coaches. Messi, Suarez, Pique or Xavi stayed in Barcelona. But again the hottest names were unreachable. Martin Montoya, Thomas Vermaelen, newcomer Douglas, Sandro Ramirez, Luis Enrique and a few Barca B members stopped.
I talked with local fans and one of them said he saw Messi stopped just once when almost knocked kid down by his car or Xavi never stops. Collecting autographs like FC Barcelona footballers is obviously hard, but in consequence if you succeed, it is a big and unforgettable adventure for fans and autographs hunters as well.