It is no secret that Barcelona’s academy set-up is one of the very best that the footballing world has to offer. La Masia trains people as well as top-class footballers and Thiago Alcantara is no different. The attacking midfielder, 19, has made eight first-team appearances this season and is set be as much of a star as his father Mazinho was. Even the Madrid press are raving about this young mans potential.
Thiago Alcantara joined Barcelona in 2005 and has enjoyed success at B team level and is now experiencing it with the first-team squad. Of his progress, Alcantara told the Spanish Press: “The players of B are to contribute something. When we are asked of anything, we’re prepared. Playing in the first team is a reward for the hard work with B.” The boy is grounded and doesn’t believe he has made it yet. This could be down to his education at La Masia where students are not taught only to be footballers but how to be well-rounded people. He has talent, don’t get me wrong, but it is the players’ humility when they come out of Barcelona that endears La Masia’s produce to the masses who follow football.
“It’s not spending, it’s investment” says Sandro Rosell, presidential candidate for Barcelona FC. He says that Barcelona would rather spend £12-15 million a year running an academy of the quality of La Masia, than buy a single player for that sort of money that has no true love for Barcelona, like the youth-products of the academy have. Clubs like Arsenal have recently picked players from Barca’s academy and look to turn them into stars. Most notably Cesc Fabregas, Jon Miquel Toral and potentially 15 year old Xavi Quintilla have all flown the nest and Rosell doesn’t take too kindly to this. As you would expect when so much time and money is spent on their development it’s disheartening for another club to come and poach youth players of this calibre.
Players like Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol, Pique, Busquets, Victor Valdes, Messi, Bojan and Pedro have all come out of Barcelona’s youth academy and all of them are in and around the first-team squad every weekend come match-day. Not only this but they are admired globally for their loyalty and humility when playing the game. Thiago Alcantara will be hoping his name will join this illustrious list of superstars that La Masia has churned out in recent years.
Check out Alcantara in action in the video below:
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