Barça’s ‘Masia’ shows its worth
FC Barcelona’s coaching directorate has always defended the need to prioritise home grown talent and give the youngsters a chance to shine. Last week, the old Masia building closed, as a new and larger one has been built in Barça’s Sporting City. Besides, the contract extension for Thiago Alcántara is the latest example of this policy.
Barcelona (FCB).- FC Barcelona announced last Wednesday that they would be extending the contract of the latest gem to come from La Masia (Barça\u2019s residence and school for young players) \u2013Thiago Alcántara - a uniquely talented midfielder. Barça have always looked after their young promises, but the arrival of Pep Guardiola and the presence last year of Andoni Zubizarreta, has meant a big increase in the number of La Masia graduates making it through to the first team. Besides, last week, the old Masia building (a typical Catalan country house (which are called \u201Cmasia\u201D) next to the Camp Nou closed its doors after three decades educating young players, such as Leo Messi, Xavi Hernández, Pep Guardiola, Guillermo Amor, Cesc Fàbregas, Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets, and Carles Puyol, among many others. A new \u201CLa Masia\u201D residence and school has been built within Barça\u2019s Sporting City, where young players will have more room and better facilities to develop their talent.
Squad can be \u201Cstretched\u201D with B team talent
Zubizarreta made it clear when he was named Barça\u2019s Sporting Director that football\u2019s first team squad could be \u201Cstretched\u201D with the addition of players from the talented B team and last season 11 players under Luis Enrique\u2019s orders figured for the first team: Fontàs, Nolito, Sergi Roberto, Víctor Vázquez, Thiago, Miño, Bartra, Sergi Gómez, Jonathan dos Santos, Oriol Romeu and Montoya. This is the largest number of B team players who\u2019ve been in the first team for many years.
Fontàs in for Abidal
One of the toughest moments of the season for FC Barcelona was Eric Abidal\u2019s illness, but the coaches knew that in Andreu Fontàs they had a more than satisfactory replacement whilst the Frenchman made his recovery and the youngster played six Spanish League games in all, as well as the Champions League match against Rubin Kazan, in which he scored. Once again, Barça showed that instead of searching in the markets, they could choose from their own youngsters and be just as successful.