La Masia makes professionals

La Masia is a remarkable place. It’s difficult to understand how remarkable it is until something hits you in the face, like the list of former academy players who are plying their trade in European leagues, a grouping compiled by Sport, here with their list, and a few that they missed.
It has been said that La Masia makes professionals, just not always for Barca. As a culer, it’s easy to take pride in a great many things, but among them is the former stone fortress of football that instilled the ways of looking at the game, a worldview that makes a Masia-trained talent worth a look.
This list is interesting because it’s the first time that I have seen it, the evidence of the quality of the Barca education, so to speak.
Mikel Arteta – Arsenal
Bellerin — Arsenal
Adama Traoré – Aston Villa
Rodríguez – Chelsea
Cesc Fabregas – Chelsea
Deulofeu – Everton
Valdés – Manchester United
Oriol Romeu – Southampton
Bojan Krkic – Stoke City
Muniesa – Stoke City
Jordi Gómez – Sunderland
Andrés Iniesta – FC Barcelona
Gerard Piqué – FC Barcelona

Jordi Masip – FC Barcelona
Messi – FC Barcelona
Bartra – FC Barcelona
Munir El Haddadi – FC Barcelona
Rafinha Alcántara – FC Barcelona
Sandro Ramírez – FC Barcelona
Sergi Roberto – FC Barcelona
Busquets – FC Barcelona
Piti Medina – Granada
Rochina – Granada
Jordi XumetraLevante
Raúl BaenaRayo Vallecano
TrashorrasRayo Vallecano
Andreu FontàsCelta
Carles PlanasCelta
Sergi GómezCelta
Nolito – Celta
Fernando Navarro –
Deportivo La Coruña
Oriol RieraDeportivo La Coruña
Paco Montañés – RCD Espanyol
Víctor Sánchez – RCD Espanyol
Oier Olazábal – Real Sociedad
García – Sporting de Gijón
Sanabria – Sporting de Gijón
Jonathan Dos Santos – Villarreal
Joan VerdúFiorentina
Iago Falqué – Roma
Martín Montoya – Inter Milán
Icardi – Inter Milán
Patric Gabarrón – Lazio
Pepe Reina – Nápoles
Balde — Lazio
Thiago Motta – PSG
Thiago Alcántara – Bayern
Gai Assulin — Rangers (trial)
Isaac Cuenca — Buraspor
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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. ooga aga
    November 12, 2015

    Cool list! Shouldnt jordi alba and nolito also be on here? Also if cuenca is on there so should be jonathan soriano

    • Davour
      November 12, 2015

      Cesc and Tello? And strictly speaking, Xavi is still active! Quite a list.

  2. ian_percival
    November 12, 2015

    Good list. OT: I think that Neymar is coming up and he’s starting to gain world-wide status as a formidable balon contender, these past few weeks have been special for him, and I think he has what it takes to become the best, not just in the near future but at the moment. If you ask me, I think his rise will be more rapid than that of Messi and Crynaldo.
    Firstly,his charisma is higher, he is fancy,he feeds the press, kinda Hollywood-ish and he’s got a football-religon nation where he has a god-like status behind him. Let’s be straight, Messi is not loved enough in Argentina and Crynlado’s case is something else, he even get boos in his home country. Brazilians don’t model their present stars on past legends, no one compares Neymar with pele or anyone,they just let him be his own player and less pressure is on him, Unlike narrow-minded Argentines that wants every player to be Maradona,that’s Why they’ve won nothing, they lose,they blame the wrong player and culprit walks. Neymar is going to get better and bigger,which is normal and natural, and with his present form(if it continues) he is going get more praises, Brazilian legends are even starting to talk How he is world number 1,even tata martino followed suit.
    Finally, we have to manage him unless he will slip by us, it’s not gonna be easy but it’s possible, get him to agree a contract renewal first and then fend off clubs like United who will promise him a focal position in their team and tell him fake stories about How Messi will block his dream of becoming a balon’d or winner. He can win it here, only us have done it before, 2010 remember? xavi messi iniesta? and we can do it again. There’s one fact, Neymar is gonna win it and it’s close, the power is shifting, Crynaldo is diminishing, I see it in every match he plays and I want us to still retain the player that becomes the next star.

  3. Jim
    November 12, 2015

    Wow! A hat trick for Deulofeu in under 21 game. Check out the goals. Each different and each classy, especially the strike for the free kick. Amazing what a bit of playing time and confidence can do for players.

  4. luisthebeast
    November 12, 2015

    Every Barca fan must feel proud not only for La Masia players that playing for us but also for them that are making a great or not so great career in other teams!Look at Thiago,it was a mistake that we lost him but when i watch him i feel great that he is one of the best midfielders in the world and he is a La Masia product!I really hope that our academy will never stop raising players but always with the values that create not only good footballers but most important good persons!

  5. realdox
    November 13, 2015

    i didn’t see my comment

    • November 13, 2015

      Did you try to post a comment that didn’t show up? I checked the spam filters, etc. but don’t see a comment from you pending.

  6. realdox
    November 14, 2015

    yeap i posted it and i didn’t see it

  7. realdox
    November 14, 2015

    yeap i posted it but i didn’t see it

  8. ciaran
    November 15, 2015

    In a somewhat interesting series of votes, are trying to determine the all time best Clasico XI.
    So far the back five are Casillas, Alves, Puyol, Ramos and Roberto Carlos. I don’t agree with the selections but it is an interesting subject matter.

    It is funny to consider that Madrid fans have voted Ramos ahead of Hierro, whilst over the course of both of their careers it’s arguable that while Casillas is probably a better keeper than Valdes, Valdes had better results in the Clasico.

    What are others’ thoughts?

  9. Jim
    November 15, 2015

    The only one I really have an opinion on is Ramos. I don’t think he is nearly as secure a CB as folk think. To me he’s another who makes headline interceptions but is found absent on too many occasions. Has cost both Madrid and Spain dearly at times.

    On the other hand Puyol was someone you just wouldn’t want to enter the Bernebeu without ! Had Ronaldo on a lead. Every time they met. I still have memories of him closing down Ronaldo at the corner flag, nipping at his ankles every way he turned and Ronaldo was so scared of him he ended up poking the ball out himself to end the incident.

  10. ciaran
    November 15, 2015

    So, picking a combined XI should really start with a set of rules and also picking a best XI from each team.
    To pick a best XI I’d have to start by picking players based on their performances with their team, ie Maradona was a great player but he wasn’t a great player for Barcelona so he doesn’t get in.
    I’d also pick a 4-3-3.
    I will also only pick players that I’ve seen extensively, ie Cruyff is out as are Di Stefano et al.

    Salgado Ramos Hierro R.Carlos
    Zidane Makelele Di Maria
    Figo Raul Ronaldo

    Alves Puyol Pique Abidal
    Xavi Busquets Iniesta
    Messi Eto’o Ronaldinho

    Come to think of it then, I don’t think that I’d include any Madrid player in my XI but cases could be made for Casillas and Hierro.

  11. luisthebeast
    November 15, 2015

    Well i believe that Diego would had a great career with us but the timing of his arrive,the injury and the disease he suffered and also Nunez,all that played part to that short staying here.Maybe if would had signed him 1986 after the WC and if he was in Europe some seasons before coming to us would change a lot!My best Barca XI would be:Valdes Alves Kooman Puyol Sergi Barjuan Guardiola Xavi Laudrup Messi Romario Ronaldhinio!Subs:Zubi Pique Iniesta Rivaldo Luis Enrique Eto(I left Ronaldo out because he played just one season,Figo for obviour reasons)

  12. Lord Eddard Stark, a.k.a. BrichimbrodvÖken, the Vulnerable One!
    November 15, 2015

    My CLASICO all STAR barcelona XI would undoubtedly be

    Puyol . RafaMarquez . Chygrynskiy . Maxwell
    Xavi . Van Bommel . Keita
    Messi . Bojan. Zenden

    • Lord Eddard Stark, a.k.a. BrichimbrodvÖken, the Vulnerable One!
      November 15, 2015

      Subs would be:
      Zlatan, Guardiola, Fontas, Afellay, Zambrotta

      Coach would be:
      Tata Martino – a feared man who WON ALL his clasicos.

  13. Lord Eddard Stark, a.k.a. BrichimbrodvÖken, the Vulnerable One!
    November 15, 2015

    A case could have been made for iniesta, but on closer inspection, it is apparent that he is a bit of an under performer and does not score enough goals. He is also not fast enough. this is why zenden gets the nod ahead of the don. Zenden, with his mazy runs and amazing trickery will be an asset and indeed, the better choice for an all star eleven to feature in a clasico..

    Pinto gets the pick ahead of other contenders like rustu and zubizaretta simply because of his undeniable passion and the subtle yet crafty manner in which he got a player to cancel his one on one by whistling. His shot stopping skills and the megadeth manner in which he commands the defense must surely send a tingling chill down the spine of anyone witnessing the same, most of all those lame madridistas.

    Puyol is in because, he is Puyol. the first name on any defense. His inclusion, however was very closely contested by none other than his compatriot in Marc Bartra who it must be said possesses far more observable skills than carlesP.

    Marquez’s elegant long balls and freekick taking abilities, added to his tremendous durability and longevity makes him an automatic selection. His amazing performances in the clasico makes him an easy pick although his position was very closely fought by other notable names like pique, koeman, and gabriel milito.

    Maxwell lines up at LB and he automatically beats to shreds the likes of Abidal, Alba, Barjuan, etc. His unbelievable skills in offense would make our team gain invaluable and quality width and would augment our attacking prowess. Maxwell was a player far too under appreciated during his time as he literally, never put a single foot wrong. He was always solid in defense and intriguingly effective in attack. A valid case can even be made for maxwell being a far more talented attacker than Neymar and a much better defender than Phil Jones and Rob. Carlos. You would think that Maxwell’s middle parting would deduct some points from his candidacy, and it did, but his other sporting qualities did more than enough to gain him a smooth entry in to this all star El Clasico Eleven.

    Xavi because Xavi.
    The best midfielder ever.
    The most Catalan ever.
    The most Barca ever.
    The most most ever.
    The ever ever ever.
    His skills during clasicos, not to mention his debut overhead bicycle kick in a clasico shows that he is truly badass. And he displayed this fearsome Badassery in every turn, every feint, every considerate touch and every punch he threw at the dirty madridistas. Xavi is a legend. And his fortunate goal in the famous manita is also an interesting subject because no one will admit that it was a crazy fluke. Still Xavi is the second name on this list.
    However it was not that he did not face stiff competition. Players like Deco and Thiago Alcantara challenged him until the last minute. Although they have better footballing skills and a much more evolved football brain, Xavi gets the nod due to his impressive physique and his passionate involvement in any violent potential fights.

    VanBommel is the holding midfielder. And his inclusion is obvious. This man is a Masia bred champions league winner and an absolute legend. He comfortably beat the likes of busquets, davids, Guardiola and yaya toure. His trickery on the ball and silk like skills is always a thing of great envy for someone like iniesta, Andres.

    Keita gets the third midfield spot and this is a no brainer. The ultimate glue between defense and attack. Guardiola once famously said that Keita has the most powerful shot he has ever seen in football and this alone must surely propel him onto the list. One, to never shy away from a fight, Keita was always there when you needed him and yet, when the moment came when Barca needed him more than ever, he decided to abandon the club for fancier shores in China. Even though he became a superstar in China, this did not affect the decision to include him in a Barcelona XI.

    Messi because Messi. Need i Say more?
    Clearly the most devastating attacker the institutional force of Real Madrid has ever had to deal with. They spent upwards of 2 billion just to be competitive during his time. Messi’s countless goals during clasicos are absolute beauties and he was our nuclear weapon in a knife fight. Messi’s inclusion is however, a huge controversy in my country as most people i spoke to demanded for the spot to be given to Jeffren. Who can forget that wonderful goal in the manita, the jewel to cap off a resounding and comprehensive thrashing. Think about it, without that goal barca finishes 4-0 and it just is not the same club with that score line. Barca is famous only because of jeffren’s goal and although he does possess better dribbling qualities than messi, Leo gets the advantage due to his goal scoring skills and penalties.

    Bojan is the center forward in this XI and clearly the complicated system necessitates for the inclusion of a power forward like Bojan. Underneath that jovial and cute exterior lies a man who is extremely dark and ruthless in his finishing. His formidable physique will surely psyche out even the most powerful of defenders. Lets be honest, Bojan was an absolute beast. Ronaldo, the original and Eto’o, Larsson came close but Bojan easily swatted them away.

    And finally, Zenden. Who can forget those mazy runs and incredible trickery that attracted the attention of scores of people all over the world. It was said in an interview that Ronaldinho was so envious of Zenden that he became increasingly insecure about his qualities and this is what led to his inevitable demise in Barcelona. Ronnie, who could have been a candidate for this XI took to drinking because he could never live up to his idol, Zenden. Zenden’s attacking ability, passing skills and impeccable scoring record makes him a no brainer and the left winger in our clasico all star XI.

    • Lord Eddard Stark, a.k.a. BrichimbrodvÖken, the Vulnerable One!
      November 15, 2015

      Only Dymytro Chygrynskiy’s paragraph was left out.
      An incredible spelling like that alone should be enough of a reason for an all star Roster to have him, but Chygrynskiy’s incredible career at Barca is a story for the ages. But above all, who can forget his blistering pace and amazing no nonsense defending. Not only did he spend 15 incredible years at Barca, he also simultaneously coached and tried for Jason Momoa’s role as Khal Drogo in the Game of Thrones series. Without Dima’s name any all star eleven would be grossly incomplete.

  14. ooga aga
    November 16, 2015

    Great post with a bit of piss taking thrown in the mix. I too loved Zenden during my early days as a Barca fan , thanks for the memories

  15. dl
    November 16, 2015

    Lord Edward: Where the hell you been? That was great!

  16. ooga aga
    November 16, 2015

    Prince Edward list is good but he left out Santi Ezquerro. Cmon man.

    In currant events, messi and rakitic were seen eating currants…. after they were seen training with the team today!! Woot!

    • Lord Eddard Stark, a.k.a. BrichimbrodvÖken, the Vulnerable One!
      November 17, 2015

      Eddard, guys. not edward.

  17. dl
    November 17, 2015

    Lese mageste!!! Off w’ me ‘ead!

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