While the academy is always important for FC Barcelona, the influence of La Masia on the club in the first half of this season has been even greater than usual.
In the absence of more established players due to injuries, Xavi has relied on players from the youth academy, who have not disappointed the first-team head coach in any way.
Two players who have made the jump to the first team from La Masia stand out this season. First is the winger Lamine Yamal, who has broken several records in his early days at the club. The second is Fermin Lopez, who is also proving his mettle with the first team in the absence of Pedri and Frenkie.
Former coach recalls Lopez’s signing
As SPORT has reported, Fermin Lopez was the center of discussion as the former Barcelona youth talent coach, Carles Martinez, appeared in an interview at RAC1. The coach was key to Lopez’s arrival at Barcelona, but he himself is now training the French side Toulouse, which defeated Liverpool in their last Europa League encounter.
Regarding Barcelona’s interest in Fermin Lopez, Martinez recalled:
“In Andalusia, we always kept an eye on Fermín from Betis and Carlitos from Sevilla. Altimira and Roura made me go watch him at the Betis Training Center. I called Aureli and told him we had to sign him. I said he was very young, but if we didn’t do it in a few years, they’d call and ask why we didn’t. We signed him, and he joined the U-12 team.”
Tough early career
Martinez went on to remember that Lopez had to suffer because of his physique early in his career, but his talent was never in question:
“It has been a tough journey for him. He suffered a lot because he was very young. He made a difference, had a lot of spark, because he has a strong character, but sometimes his strength didn’t allow him to do things better. It was clear that he had talent, and it was just a matter of his body catching up.”
The former Barcelona coach went on to highlight the role of his loan to Linares in his development as a player, who is now proving himself at one of the biggest clubs in the world. Hopefully, the youngster can keep on developing to remain a mainstay in Xavi’s team going forward as well.