La Masia is one of the foundations on which the legend of FC Barcelona has been built over the years. This role played by the academy in La Blaugrana’s success was clearly shown in the recent Copa del Rey El Classico.
La Masia has provided the club with a top-of-the-line talent for its first team throughout its history, but more pronouncedly since the arrival of Johan Cruyff. The all-conquering FC Barcelona team of Pep Guardiola was also based mainly on the talents coming out of La Masia, as has been the case for most other teams in the club’s history.
The last Classico showdown showed the difference between Real Madrid and Barcelona, in their approaches to squad building and the levels of their respective youth academies. Real Madrid’s squad only has two starters that have graduated from La Fabrica, i.e. Federico Valverde and Dani Carvajal.
Other players like Nacho, Lucas Vasquez, and Mariano, only have a rotational place in the squad at best. This reliance on foreign talent by Real Madrid was showcased this February in the Liga tie against Villareal, where Ancelotti put out 11 foreign starters. This was the first time in Real Madrid’s history that no Spanish player featured in the starting 11.
FC Barcelona present a totally opposite case. There are four players who can be considered regular starters in Xavi’s team, including Araujo, Balde, Gavi, and Busquets. Busquets has been in the team for more than a decade, while the other names have been incorporated recently, showing the reliance of the club on La Masia through the years.
Jordi Alba, Eric Garcia, and Sergi Roberto, all La Masia graduates, also have an important role in the squad. Ansu Fati, currently plagued by injuries and poor form, is another La Masia graduate who can go on to be a long-time starter for the club.