Barcelona’s best La Masia graduates
September 17, 2015
Barcelona’s La Masia academy is the most famous in the world, not just for the quality of players that it produces but also for their technical ability and sense of flair. Attempting to rank these graduates from this academy is an extremely difficult challenge, although this is not something that we shy away from at Bethut!
So, here are our five favourite graduates and a summary of their achievements in the game: –
While Pique may have spent many of his formative years at Manchester United, he was developed at La Masia. His return to Catalonia in 2008 coincided with the clubs hugely successful spell under Pep Guardiola, with the stylish, 6’4” central defender forming a stellar partnership with club captain Carles Puyol. Still just 28, Pique is now the pillar of a revitalised Barcelona side that won the treble of La Liga, Copa Del Rey and Champions League last season.
Arguably the least naturally gifted and technically adept graduate from La Masia, Puyol was an incredible leader who defended with strength, power and tenacity during his 400 games with the club. The club captain for years, he led the side under Guardiola’s recent stewardship and provided a foundation for more skilful players to shine.
Andreas Iniesta has lit up the Nou Camp since his debut in 2002, combining incredible dribbling skills with a unique range of passing to terrify opposition defences. He also returned to full form last season, providing a mobile and fluid link between Barcelona’s midfield and the uniquely talented frontline of Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
If anyone player is synonymous with the true incarnation of Tiki-taka football, it is the peerless Xavi Hernandez. Blessed with two skilful feet and incredible vision, Xavi boasts an average pass completion rate of 95% and his is singularly responsible for the popularisation of small, technical players in the modern era. His recent departure marked the end of an era at the Nou Camp, and the club will certainly be worse off without the mercurial midfielder.
Arguably the least surprising number one entry to any list in the history of mankind, Lionel Messi is undoubtedly the finest La Masia graduate to ever play the game. Having moved from Argentina has a small and fragile youngster; Barcelona’s investment has produced one of the most gifted performers of all time. Blessed with a dazzling array of creative passing and superb dribbling skills, Messi has scored more than 400 career goals and will add countless more before his retirement.