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.

Sandra Sarmiento

July 4, 2011 10:54 PM

Barcelona (FCB).- FC Barcelona announced last Wednesday that they would be extending the contract of the latest gem to come from La Masia (Barça’s residence and school for young players) –Thiago 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 “masia”) 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 “La Masia” residence and school has been built within Barça’s Sporting City, where young players will have more room and better facilities to develop their talent.

Squad can be “stretched” with B team talent

Zubizarreta made it clear when he was named Barça’s Sporting Director that football’s first team squad could be “stretched” with the addition of players from the talented B team and last season 11 players under Luis Enrique’s 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’ve 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’s 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.