Barcelona’s team last night to face Celta Vigo: Ter Stegen, Semedo, Mina, Vermaelen, Digne; Gomes, Paulinho, Denis Suarez; Dembele, Alcacer and Coutinho.
Not one product of La Masia and not one Catalan.
Sport and others in Spain are today pointing out it’s the first time in 16 years that Barcelona have fielded a starting line-up without a La Masia product.
The last time was in April 2002 when Barcelona put out the following side against Athletic Club Bilbao: Bonano, Reiziger, Christanval, Abelardo, Coco; Cuckold, Rochemback, Luis Enrique; Rivaldo, Overmars and Saviola.
Sport say it shows how ‘things have changed a lot’ at Barcelona. From Louis van Gaal stating his dream would be to win a European Cup with a team full of Catalans, and Tito Vilanova fielding a team full of youth products in 2012, now a team has been named without a single one.
It was a much changed side, nowhere near Barcelona’s full strength, but it shows the way the club is heading at least partially.
Gerard Pique’s successor is unlikely to be Catalan or a La Masia product, and Barcelona’s system is unlikely to unearth another Lionel Messi soon. Andres Iniesta it expected to leave in the summer, Sergio Busquets turns 30 this year, and counting 29 year old Alba is a stretch.
Perhaps the only true La Masia product who isn’t edging 30, and who has a reasonable chance of appearances, is Sergi Roberto.
Spanish journalist Jordi Marti has told Cadena Ser: “I think Bartomeu has to take note of this failure, what distinguishes Barcelona is the incorporation of kids from the youth academy to the first team, the president has the maximum responsibility.
“They are leaving because they do not see the expectation of being in the first team, this is going to sink in. Today marks a turning point in this aspect.”