Decisions that led to the debacle of 'La-Masia'
May 20, 2020, 12:54 p.m.
Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Pep Guardiola, Sergio Busquests, Pique, and many more FC Barcelona Legends have emerged out of the famous La Masia Academy. On a chilly November 25th evening in 2012, FC Barcelona traveled to Valencia. During the process of a rampant 0-4 victory, the Catalan giants ended up making a piece of history that is among the club’s proudest moments in its glittering 120-year existence. Tito Vilanova’s men started the game with only one ‘outsider’ so to speak, their right-back Dani Alves, but when the Brazilian went off injured, around the quarter of an hour mark, he was substituted by Martin Montoya. This meant that an establishment inextricably linked to the culture and traditions of its autonomous province had yet another quasi-nationalistic achievement to boast of. But this - when the Blaugrana fielded 11 players from La Masia - should be spoken of as a triumph purely within the realms of soccer and the club’s academy. Fast-forwarding to the present time, FCB has seen an exponential decline in the number of players making it to the first team. The few players who have been been able to climb the ladder up to the first team have lacked the abilities required to play the game at FCB’s level. Josep Bartomeu’s “La Masia 360 Strategy” has been a spectacular failure. Bartomeu’s aim was to improve the infrastructure of the Academy and improve performances with the help of advanced scientific studies. He ended up putting the wrong people in charge and this which cost the club a large amount of money. Many rooms which were supposed to be used as houses for footballers were turned into offices. Moreover, food served at the academy doesn’t even meet the lowest nutrition standards. Coaches put in charge of B Team and youth squads have zero understanding of “Barca DNA”. With Board Elections coming soon, reviving La Masia is going to be one of the talking points for other contestants, primarily Joan Laporta. Under Joan Laporta’s management, stalwarts like Messi and Pique emerged from Barca ranks. It would be unfair to expect a sudden change from the new President, but a step needs to be taken in the right direction so that situation of Academy improves in the next 3-4 years.