Farewell to the “Avi del Barça”, an emblematic Barça supporter

The penyes collective bids goodbye to Joan Casals, a figure held in high esteem by all Barça supporters around the world. In 2019, he received the Edmundo Bazo award from the Confederació Mundial de Penyes.

The Confederació Mundial de Penyes, its territorial Federations and the more than 1,250 FC Barcelona supporters’ clubs around the world have received with consternation the news of the decease of Joan Casals, the “Avi del Barça”, this Wednesday, February 14, 2024. Casals, who celebrated his 90th birthday this autumn, had become an emblem of Barça supporters around the world, and was a highly regarded figure, particularly within the penyes movement, to which he was linked throughout his life.

Once the news of his death was known, the supporters’ clubs movement has reacted massively expressing its great affection for Joan Casals, its condolences to the family and also the many memories that the Avi del Barça has left in our collective. Appreciated and admired by young and old, Casals was a regular at penyes events and was also a protagonist in some of the most memorable trips of the collective, such as the Wembley final in 1992.

40 years of “Avi del Barça”

It started in 1984, when Joan Casals attended the Joan Gamper Trophy that year looking very similar to the character of “l’Avi del Barça”, created by the cartoonist Valentí Castanys in the 20’s Since then, Casals was considered as the Avi del Barça by the blaugrana supporters and his popularity did not stop growing. In addition to the fans, several first team players wanted to meet him, and he aroused interest all over the world.

Joan Casals had a strong link with the penyes movement. He was president of the Penya Barcelonista de Guardiola de Berguedà (Federació Bages, Berguedà i Cerdanya) and his presence was much appreciated and celebrated at any event where he participated. In addition to his iconic image, his pleasant, generous and humble character made him an example for the FC Barcelona supporters. In fact, this past autumn the PB Els Tamarells (Federació Balears) wanted to travel to Guardiola de Berguedà to celebrate Casals’ 90th anniversary.

Edmundo Bazo Award and “capgròs”

As a token of appreciation for his commitment and dedication, but also to put in value his cheerful and respectful disposition, the Confederació Mundial de Penyes wanted to pay homage to Joan Casals during the 40th World Congress of Penyes, held in 2019. On the one hand, it awarded him the Edmundo Bazo prize for the promotion of friendship among FC Barcelona supporters, and on the other, it presented a “capgròs” inspired by his image as Avi del Barça, which has since been the protagonist in many supporters’ club events.

In this way, the penyes movement expressed its recognition of a true Barça emblem worldwide. Undoubtedly, his memory will remain alive within the collective and continue to be an example to follow for all Barça supporters.

Farewell in Guardiola de Berguedà

Joan Casals received his last farewell last Sunday in Guardiola de Berguedà in a crowded ceremony. Among those present, Salva Torres, vicepresident of the Confederació Mundial de Penyes and close friend of Casals for more than 30 years, as well as Joan Giménez, secretary of the Confederació, and the Federation presidents Antoni Valverde (Bages, Berguedà i Cerdanya), Gaietà Garcia (Barcelonès Oest) and Claudi Bosch (Lleida Sud i la Franja). Undoubtedly, his memory will live on in the collective and will continue to be an example for all Barça supporters.