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Senior Poster of the year 2007
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A nice article found in the general information newspaper from Madrid, El Pais:

Iván Torreblanca was born on October 4, 2001. He's barcelonista, wants to be football player and he's the youngest player of the youth team of Barcelona. Iván is in the same team of Guillermo Amor Torres, that is, the son of the icon of the academy, Guillermo Amor -no other player raised in La Masia has won more titles than him- and the grandson of Toni Torres, a defender that was part of the team that won La Liga in 1974. Both play in the pussins team (from 8 to 10 years old), created this season as the starting point of the youth system, because "the talents are ensure loyalty earlier this day", Txiki Begiristain said.

The club search kids "technical and fast" to play with precision and speed. Nowadays, under the orders of José Ramón Alexanko, the director of the youth system; Quique Costas, as advisor; and Albert Benaiges, as responsible of the inferior cathegories until they're 14, Barça controls more than 300 football players and has 24 coaches to make a clear and declared bet for taking footballers to the first team. Alexanko reconize that "we work with the Camp Nou in mind". On Sunday, Victor Sánchez made his debut in San Mamés. Victor Sánchez, as Pedro or Busquets, has got the final impulse from Pep Guardiola to reach the first team in this year.

"The changes in the norms demanded a different mentality in the last years. Messi is an example of it", Begiristain confirms. "He's Argentinian, but, for all the effects, he has La Masia's trademark. We've 'done' him at home". And, in this senses, he highlights the differences with the EPL and calcio: "We educate the players since they're kids. They sign players who are over 14". It's enough to look at the matchday played on October 5. Inter and Arsenal didn't play with any player of their youth system; Milan (Maldini), Bayern (Rensing), Chelsea (Terry) and Juve (Marchisio), only one; Liverpool (Carragher and Gerrard) and Lyon (Benzema and Mounier, two; Madrid (De la Red, Casillas and Raul) and Manchester Utd. (Brown, Giggs and O'Shea), three. That day, Barça played with 8 players of the youth system.

Frank Rijkaard made 28 players of the academy to have their debut in his 5 years in the Camp Nou. Some didn't play much, 5 continue in the first team (Jorquera, Messi, Bojan, Victor Sánchez and Pedrito). Ohers finished in other Primera teams (Cristian, Rodri and Verdú in Depor, and Damià in Betis). There are others who continue in the B team (Victor Vázquez, Oier, Rueda and Jeffren) and others make their life in foreign countries, like Javito (PAOK), Orlandi (Swansea) and Marc Crosas (Celtic). All of them, marked by the guarantee of origin, carry the trademark of La Masia de Can Planes, a typical Catalan house of the 17th century, which firstly served as offices and, later, was a residence where 493 kids lived and, at least, a 10% of them played in the first team; a 9% of them played in other Primera clubs and a 27% in Segunda. "Whoever that lived in La Masia has something that makes him different, a plus that is only given when you play with the Barça shirt since you're a kid", Guardiola said, glad of the education he got in his formation years. "Isn't it true that a wine of Rioja and another of the Priorat are different? With football is exactly the same", Charly Rexach insists, a life in Barça, 17 years as player and more than 20 as coach: "The level of exigency is high. We prepare the kids to respond to this maximum exigence", Alexanko assumes. Begiristain says: "The kids grow up with the exigence of winning even the friendly games. The idea is to form good people and competitive players".

The coaches hope that 2 or 3 players of each generation reach the first team. Not many of them were more productive than the so called Quinta de Lo Pelat -Celades, Quique Álvarez, Moreno, De la Peña, Roger, Velamazán, Jordi Cruyff-; also the Quinta of the 80 -Xavi, Arnau, Puyol and Luis Garciía-; the one of 1982 -Fernando Navarro, Reina, Arteta, Motta- and the one of 1987 seems unbeatable -Messi, Piqué, Victor Vázquez and Cesc. At the same time, 11 players from Cameroon play in the youth levels, thanks to the Fundación Eto'o. Some of them ready to triumph in the B-team, with the new pearl: Assulin, international with Israel bein 16 years old.

Eleven (Valdés, Piqué, Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Bojan, Jorquera, Pedrito, Busquets and Víctor Sánchez) out of the 24 players of the first team come from the youth system. Even though Jorquera didn't make his debut yet, the other 10 players played more minutes than all the rest together. They've played the 51.6% of the minutes in Liga and CL. An amount that must be highlighted compared with the signings of this year -not counting Piqué, formed in La Masia-, who played a 15.9%.

Even though there's no official data, an estimation says that the club dedicate 12M to the academy. "A worthy investment", Barça assure. "We couldn't pay the money for a player like Xavi or Iniesta in the market". The club counts on 12 teams: Barça B, 2 of "juveniles", "cadetes", "infantiles", "alevines" and "benjamines" and one of "pre-benjamines". They also count on psycologists, fisiotherapists and nutritionists, aside teachers to reinforce their studies. In June, the club added a specific coach that gives them classes of individual technic.

Barça wants the players to be "technical, fast and with personality" o play a football of position, possession and precision, and achieve the fastest velocity of execution. Benaiges says that the "most difficult is to find strikers, because this is where you need more talent. You must add killer instinct to skills and speed". And, knowing that Barça mainly produce midfielders, he adds: "To play in midfield, they need to be intelligent and to have food skills. Everyday we have more and more midfielders, so we convert some of them in defenders".

Iván Torreblanca is 7 years old and plays in the pre-benjamin. He wants to be football player. For now, he already has the trademark, guarantee of origin La Masia.


http://www.elpais.com/articulo/deportes/equipo/hecho/casa/elpepidep/20081021elpepidep_6/Tes
 

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Defunk'ed
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Sweet! This coming off the back of a 5-0 victory, all of them scored by our homegrown kids!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It's impressive, we must feel proud of them. A lot of talent on the pitch and it's nice to see that most of them grew up with that badge on their chest. And it's not that they complement the stars... most of them actually are the stars of the team.
 

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Freedom for all
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Something about Catalan water makes for excellent midfielders. If you guys could make a decent striker, FIFA would need to accept the Catalan NT instantly because they'd be the best team on earth. :D:D
 

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Let's not forget the coach here too.

And VBI; I'd say Bojan is pretty decent wouldn't you say?
 

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In Exile
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Something about Catalan water makes for excellent midfielders. If you guys could make a decent striker, FIFA would need to accept the Catalan NT instantly because they'd be the best team on earth. :D:D
You British blame it on the water. Now I see why Barcelona got water shortage in this summer, it was Wenger tinkering with the pipes trying to redirect the water supply.
 

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Freedom for all
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Leckan = He is, but he has a dash of Eastern Europe in him, and they've had some badass forwards over there.

Barsoslav = I actually would blame it on the wind, at least here in Scotland. :D Even Capello said you couldn't train to pass up here. In Barcelona, I was walking about in January in shorts it was so warm, yet the locals all had hats on!
 

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you know I was telling my wife while watching the game tonight, these all made by us, our own academy player, La Masia, even those who braise someone else in thier team is made in La Masia, as Cesc and others now feel.

I'm so proud, and I feel a high head to others, when I see us win 1-0 or 5-0, when I notice that between 11 players in the pitch there is 6-8 players coming from La Masia, players that are priceless in the market, that you couldn't sign one or two of them without breaking the bank big time.

Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Puyol and Busquests, these players would be starters in any team in the world, they'd be braised by the fans day in and day out, still they are not made by someone else and bought here by money, they are coming from the ranks, and they've been playing with the badge on thier chest, kissing it and enjoying winning.

STARS, no more no less, they've made the front pages of the newspapers allover the world, and no one could say if you didn't have money you've not got this player, because even if some can't believe it, we've made more money with our youth than any team in the world made by thier so damn signed Glasticos or Stars.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic, Kaka, Cesc, Welcott .. etc. they've teams fans will always braise them, and say he is ours, still they'll never be as proud as us when we braise MESSI, INIESTA, XAVI, PUYOL, BUSQUESTS, VALDES, PEDRO, VICTOR, JORQUERA and many more that came out the ranks..


VISCA EL BARCA i VISCA LA MASIA i VISCA CATALUNYA :fero: :proud: :proud: :proud: :strong: :star:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The water or the lack of it, we can afford to lose a couple of mids every 5 years, but I hope we keep the coaches we have there. What a great job.

Seriously, the investment in La Masia is the most important for the club. 12M they say? It's great, because we get them back with big interests!

At the end, I also see how clubs like Sevilla or Villarreal, who also invest a lot in youth, are getting their prize too. At the end, it's important to have people who really care about the club. At least, I know that the days we lose, they're the first to suffer.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
you know I was telling my wife while watching the game tonight, these all made by us, our own academy player, La Masia, even those who braise someone else in thier team is made in La Masia, as Cesc and others now feel.
I don't want this to be yet another debate about Cesc, but he just rejected an offer to renew with Arsenal. Papers here say that he wants to prepare the situation to come back to Barcelona. I don't know and I don't really care for now, but it shows how nervous he feels when he realizes that Barça is a competitive team with many guys of the youth team.

As the article says, he is the only big player of his generation that didn't make his debut in the first team, unlike Messi, Victor and Piqué. Besides, if it wasn't known already, his argument about kids not having chances is once again destroyed.

While his old teammates triumph with the shirt of their lives, Cesc is in a team with a dark future, seeing how anyone who shines leaves sooner or later. Maybe he still feels happy in Arsenal, but it's a matter of time that he gets desperated to see that his team goes nowhere, while 14 old teammates are the stars of the club. Too bad for him.
 

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Gone are the days when teams have so many home grown players. There used to be quite a few back in the glory days of liverpool and man u. But now, liverpool only 2 true blood academy homegrown in carra and gerrard. Man u still have gary, oshea, scholes.

Clubs are so caught up in wanting instant success that they take the short way out by signing players when they reach 14 or throw the cheque book for big signing.

Good to see that barca keeps to the academy. :thumbsup:
 

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K4 help me out here a bit. Is there any parallel between the rise of Xavi and Busquets? From what Ive heard, read and seen when Xavi came in he was already being declared as the one to retire Pep and did live upto it with a goal(??) in his debut match. But this Busquets has totally taken me and everyone else with any sort of knowledge about La Masia by surprise. Sure we knew he existed, but good enough for this level of footie we never imagined or prophecized!
 

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Busquets has taken everyone by surprise and has relegated Toure and Keita. If someone had told you a while back that Busi's son would be the new star at Barça you'd've laughed at them. Victor Sánchez has taken a lot by surprise too.

And K4. Have you translated all that? If so, with all it's minor faults, it shows amazing dedication to XT and this forum in general.
Cheers:smileani::thumbsup:
 

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I don't want this to be yet another debate about Cesc, but he just rejected an offer to renew with Arsenal. Papers here say that he wants to prepare the situation to come back to Barcelona. I don't know and I don't really care for now, but it shows how nervous he feels when he realizes that Barça is a competitive team with many guys of the youth team.

As the article says, he is the only big player of his generation that didn't make his debut in the first team, unlike Messi, Victor and Piqué. Besides, if it wasn't known already, his argument about kids not having chances is once again destroyed.

While his old teammates triumph with the shirt of their lives, Cesc is in a team with a dark future, seeing how anyone who shines leaves sooner or later. Maybe he still feels happy in Arsenal, but it's a matter of time that he gets desperated to see that his team goes nowhere, while 14 old teammates are the stars of the club. Too bad for him.
He recently signed an 8 year extension, why would he sign another one now? Barca are the club he supported as a boy and he still loves them, and Guardiola would probably like him in the Barcelona squad, but he hasn't talked about wanting to leave Arsenal just yet and you can't know what he is thinking, unless you have telepathic abilities. All this talk about "Cesc can beg to come back all he wants, I'd rather be raped by the Madrid starting 11 than take him back" etc. is nonsense. He is as good as Xavi or Iniesta and one of the best playmakers in the world already at 21. And yes, Arsenal have a very dark future, filled with pirates and dragons and vampires on motorcycles, but it's still only October, isn't it? Let's see what happens to Arsenal come mid-May.
 

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This is also why I like and respect FC Barcelona so much.

Just a small remark to say that Sporting is probably the only other top club of an European league that has a similar youth system to yours.


@ K4: Very nice of you to post this article and even more if you've translated it yourself. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #20
K4 help me out here a bit. Is there any parallel between the rise of Xavi and Busquets? From what Ive heard, read and seen when Xavi came in he was already being declared as the one to retire Pep and did live upto it with a goal(??) in his debut match. But this Busquets has totally taken me and everyone else with any sort of knowledge about La Masia by surprise. Sure we knew he existed, but good enough for this level of footie we never imagined or prophecized!
Xavi made his debut in 1998, being 18, and he started to mix games in the first team with others with the B team. I remember that the team was struggling that season (1998-1999) and there were strong rumours about Van Gaal being sacked. We had to play in Valladolid and the situation was terrible. Guardiola was injured, Celades had been loaned to Celta and our midfield suffered from lack of creativity.

It was a terrible game in the cold winter of Zorrilla, we didn't play very well, but, near the end, Xavi headed a lost ball in the small box to score the goal of the victory, saving Van Gaal's head. This was the turning point of that season. From that moment, the team started a tremendous run of positive results in the 2nd half of the year. Xavi started to be a usual in the team.

The following season, the last of Van Gaal, Guardiola broke his ligaments and Xavi was given the job on a constant basis. I don't remember Xavi having a big reputation before he appeared in the first team, unlike De la Peña just some years before this. In any case, it wasn't like Busquets. Xavi actually was part of the team that won the one and only U-20 WC of Spain, along with Gabri (who actually had a bigger reputation as striker). It was the U-20 WC of Ronaldinho, Edu, Chevantón, Mancini, Fabio Aurelio, Suazo, Matuzalem, Forlán, Simao,... In fact, Xavi scored 2 goals (QFs and semis).

Busquets didn't have the same recognition in the youth cathegories of Barcelona, but it's evident that Guardiola knows him well. It's a bit like Guardiola himself (saving the differences!) when he made his debut, when Milla (who was supposed to big deal... and he was good) left the club to join Madrid.
 
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