World Football

Top 10 La Masia graduates ever to play for FC Barcelona

Sattyik SarkarSattyik Sarkar

January 14 2022
La Masia Graduates
(Courtesy : Footy Renders)

Some of these players are considered true legends of the game.

Originally built in 1702, La Masia wasn’t used for footballing concerns. Rather a farmstead, the building was named “La Masia de Can”. In 1957, the Camp Nou (home ground for FC Barcelona) was set up just beside the La Masia.

La Masia has produced many exceptional youngsters over the years, who went on to become the best players in the world. The philosophy, the style of play that the Catalan giants portray on the pitch, has its roots dug deep in the academy itself. This philosophy comprising the amalgamation of Total Football and Tiki-Taka has been injected into the club and its academy.

In this article, we look at the top 10 La Masia graduates who have played for FC Barcelona.

10. Victor Valdes

Victor Valdes
Valdes spent 12 seasons with the senior team at Barcelona (Courtesy: Bleacher Report)

A goalkeeper by trade, Victor Valdes had been a part of the Catalan giants since he was 10-years-old. In a span of 12 seasons, Valdes made 536 appearances for the senior team across all competitions.

Speaking of the accolades, the goalkeeper boasts of winning six La Liga titles, three UEFA Champions League trophies, two Copa del Rey and six Supercopa de Espana titles. Additionally, he has also won the FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup twice each.

9. Gerard Pique

The centre-back got his footsteps into the La Masia in 1997 at the age of 10. In 2004, however, he left for Manchester United. He was also sent out on loan to Real Zaragoza for a season (2006/07). Finally in August 2008, Pique returned to Camp Nou and made his debut for FC Barcelona.

Till date, he has made 590 appearances for the club across all competitions, scoring 51 goals. The 34-year-old has won the UEFA Champions League thrice with FC Barcelona. He has lifted the La Liga eight times, apart from bagging the Supercopa de Espana and the Copa del Rey six and seven times respectively. On three occasions, he has lifted the FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup.  

8. Albert Ferrer

Albert Ferrer
Ferrer made his La Liga debut for Barcelona at the age of 19 (Courtesy: FC Barcelona)

A right-back by trade, Albert Ferrer was one of the stalwarts in Johan Cruyff’s FC Barcelona. He came up from the ranks and in January 1991, was sent out on loan to CD Tenerife. Ferrer returned to the club a few months later, after his loan spell ended and played for the Catalans till 1998 before he joined Chelsea.

Ferrer won the La Liga five times. He was a part of that historic team which lifted the European Champion Clubs’ Cup in 1991/92. Apart from that, he also won the UEFA Super Cup Copa del Rey twice with FC Barcelona. Ferrer won the Supercopa de Espana on four occasions. In 1996/97, the team won the Europapokal Der Pokalsieger Sieger.

7. Sergio Busquets

Sergio Busquets is one of the finest midfielders FC Barcelona ever produced. Under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola, the midfield of Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets worked wonders for the club. Busquets joined the U-18 team of Barcelona in 2005. The 33-year-old is currently the captain of the side.

Astonishingly, Busquets is one of those footballers who has played with their current manager Xavi. In his career, the Spaniard has till now made 656 appearances for the club and won a total of 30 trophies for Barcelona. Additionally, he also has 16 goals and 41 assists to his name.

6. Guillermo Amor

La Masia Graduates
Amor won 17 trophies with Barcelona (Courtesy: FC Barcelona)

Rising from the ranks, Amor made it to the senior team in 1988. He donned the Barcelona kit for 10 consecutive years before joining Fiorentina in 1998. A central-midfielder by trade, Amor has played 416 matches for the club and has scored on 64 occasions. He had his best season in 1993/94, where he scored 11 times for the club in 53 appearances. Apparently, he has won 17 trophies as a FC Barcelona player.

5. Carles Puyol

One of the finest defenders of his period and probably one of the best for FC Barcelona, Carles Puyol made his way to the La Masia in 1995 at the age of 17. He joined the senior team in 1999. He has appeared 593 times for the club and has scored 19 goals for them.

Puyol has never played for any other club. Although a central-defender, Puyol has also played as a full-back on many occasions. The former skipper who wore the armband for 10 seasons, has won a total of 18 trophies for the side.  

4. Andres Iniesta

La Masia Graduates
Iniesta was part of two treble-winning teams (Courtesy: The Independent)

A player with an applaudable vision, supreme dribbling and excellent orchestrating skills, Andres Iniesta is perhaps one of the best midfielders FC Barcelona ever possessed. As a 12-year-old, he made his way to La Masia and made it to the senior team in 2002. He made 674 appearances for the club and managed to secure 57 goals under his belt.

In 2018, at the age of 34, Iniesta joined Vissel Kobe, a first-tier club in Japan. Needless of a mention, the midfield maestro has lifted 30 trophies in his tenure at the Catalan giants. In 2012, he won the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award.

3. Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola joined the La Masia in 1984. He played for the senior team for 11 years. The Spaniard guarded the defensive fortress as a central defensive midfielder in Johan Cruyff’s formation. He lifted six accolades during his tenure at the club.

As a manager, he managed the club for four seasons from 2008/09 till 2011/12. Guardiola achieved immense success and took FC Barcelona to a different level.

2. Xavi Hernandez

Currently the manager of the Catalans, Xavi made his entrance into La Masia as a 10-year-old in 1991. In 1998, he made it to the senior team. From 1998 to 2015, he made 767 appearances for the club, scoring 85 goals.

The prowess of the central-midfielder, combined with the excellence of Andres Iniesta, created trouble for the opposition. Watching Xavi and Iniesta together on the pitch felt like Picasso painting a masterpiece. In 2015, he joined Al-Sadd SC.

Recently, after the club sacked Ronald Koeman, Xavi was reunited with his former club, as the manager. The 41-year-old has won a total of 25 trophies as a player for FC Barcelona.

1. Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi
Messi won six Ballon d’Or titles during his time at Barcelona (Courtesy: NBC News)

The Argentine is not only a player but also an emotion for the FC Barcelona fans. Surprisingly, he is the only non-Spanish candidate in the list. A young Messi had some health problems during his youth. In 2000, he joined Barcelona from Newell’s Old Boys. The Spanish club had agreed to look after the growth-hormone treatment of the child. It took just five years for Messi to make his way to the senior team in 2005.

Messi has played 778 matches for FC Barcelona and scored 672 goals in the process. He has been a recipient of seven Ballon d’Or awards (six as a FC Barcelona player). Overall, he has won 35 trophies for the club. On numerous occasions, he has been the top scorer in the La Liga and the UEFA Champions League and also other competitions.

In 2021, Lionel Messi bid farewell to FC Barcelona and joined Paris Saint-Germain in France.

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