31 December 2011

Home-grown Masía players in Champions League football

Apart from the many home-grown players who are defending Barça’s European crown this season, there are six other players brought up through the Barça youth system who will be hoping to win the Champions League with their new clubs.


The success of La Masía academy is usually judged by the number of players who make it through the youth system right up to the Barça first team. However, for some years now, many talented young players have had to move away from the Club in order to find regular first team football. Six of these players - Arteta, Motta, Romeu, Miquel, Nolito and Urko – will be taking part in the next stage of the CL.

At the age of 29, Thiago Motta and Mikel Arteta are two of the most well-known players to have come out of the Barça youth system in the last decade. Motta, who played in the first team from 2001 to 2007, has already played twice for Inter in the Champions League this season while Arteta, who has replaced Cesc in Arsene Wenger's Arsenal, has taken part in five of the six matches so far.

Two other former Barça youth stars – twenty-year-old Oriol Romeu (Chelsea) and nineteen-year-old Ignasi Miquel (Arsenal) – have progressed from the group stage with their new clubs. Romeu is fast carving out a regular place in the Chelsea midfield and enjoyed 257 minutes of play during the group stage. Meanwhile, Miquel, a skilful centre back has remained on the fringes of the Arsenal team with just 39 minutes.

Nolito (25) moved from Barça B to Benfica in the summer and enjoyed an exceptional start to the season. A skilful winger, Nolito made his first team debut with Barça last season. Finally, Goalkeeper Urko Pardo (28), who never made it through to the Barça first team, is currently with UCL sensations Apoel Nicosia and played in four of the six group stage matches. (via FCBarcelona.cat)