Barcelona's La Masia: A source of excellence

Barcelona's famous youth academy has produced some of the world's best footballers in recent years

Adam Williams
Published 04/04/2013 12:12 by Adam Williams, read by 1,984 people.

La Masia de Can Planes, or just La Masia, as it's known, is used to describe Barcelona's youth academy. There is no doubt it is fundamental to the recent success of both Barcelona and the Spanish national team.

La Masia also made world news during this period of dominance claiming three out of three Ballon d'Or finalists in the same year.

So what's the secret? Is it just luck that such players as Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Cesc Fabregas have been hand picked from as early as the age of seven to join this prestigious academy? Can it be attributed to a keen eye and tireless work rate from Barcelona's scouts and managers around the globe?

Barcelona invest in their future consistently with a "where's the next one?" mentality. Their team of scouts work tirelessly to obtain the best of the world's young talent. And presumably having Barcelona on your name badge, has its benefits.

So once they've scouted the players and offered them the chance to join La Masia, what happens next? 

After arriving at the 18th Century country house, they are nurtured, worked and drilled, focusing heavily on technical skill whilst adhering to the rule of 'total football', derived from former manager Johan Cruyff's 'tiki-taka' philosophy. 

This philosophy is credited as a key component in Barcelona's success of recent years. And is one that many teams have tried to replicate, although failed to do so in quite the same dominating vein.

The first point of call for these youngsters is a rotation scheme with Barcelona B.

Once cementing his place and showing signs of his potential, the second stage involves making the player aware of his importance to the team while playing in the reserve side. 

In the final stage, he is designated as a "key" player of the B team and may earn the opportunity to be called to the first team. During this stint one of these players is made captain, regardless of the experience of older players.

So it's no coincidence that Barcelona consistently develops and fields some of the best players the world has ever seen. From an early age, the winning formula of 'total football', responsibility and leadership is drilled into the minds and bodies of Europe's youngest elite.

As Pep Guardiola, the manager who reaped the benefits from La Masia's products once said to reporters: "The player who has passed through La Masia has something different to the rest - it's a plus that only comes from having competed in a Barcelona shirt from the time you were a child."

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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