La Masia: The best football academy

The La Masia de can planes which in English means, “The Farm House”, is the name of the Barcelona football club youth academy and is regarded as the best football academy in the world.

Pep Guardiola playing for FC Barcelona

The La Masia de can planes usually shortened to La Masia was first built in 1702 and was first used by the club to develop its youth talents in 1979. The La Masia is known for producing world class players since the 2000’s. Some of the prominent La Masia products are, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Puyol, Valdes, Sergio Bousquets, Gerard Pique, Pep Guardiola( who eventually became the club’s technical director in a successful period from 2008-2012), Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, Pedro, Cesc Fabregas, Mikel Arteta, Thiago Motta, Guillermo Amir and many others.

The Barcelona football team is known for their football style popularly called, tiki taka, which involves short passing and movement, working the ball through various channels and maintaining great possession of the ball, this is the philosophy on which the youth players are being raised upon.

Messi presenting his Balon D’or award with Xavi and Iniesta

Lionel Messi who moved into the academy from the then Newell’s Old Boys is the academy’s most successful player, after spending four years at La Masia, Messi burst onto the world scene in 2004 and by 2009, Messi became the first La Masia product to win the Balon D’or and the FIFA world player award, awards for the best football of the year, and since then he has won many other prestigious awards to his name.

Messi, Xavi and Iniesta, Balon D’or finalists, 2010

The La Masia achieved a record breaking honor in becoming the first youth academy to have produced the three Balon D’or finalists in the same year, 2010, Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi. After then Messi and Xavi appeared in the Balon D’or final list in 2011, Messi and Iniesta appeared once again in the final list in 2012.

Spanish national team dominated by seven La Masia products

In 2010, the Spanish national team who won the FIFA world cup was dominated by seven Barcelona players who were all products of the La Masia academy, these players were, Puyol , Pique, Bousquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro and David Villa. Cesc Fabregas came on later as a substitute. Every one of Spain’s goals in the tournament were scored by these La Masia products and even the winning goal in the final was scored by Iniesta.

In November 2012, for the first time Barcelona fielded all eleven players that have come up through La Masia in a La Liga match. The exploits made by products of the La Masia is what has earned its respect as the best football academy in the world.

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