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20.12.2007 10:41

La Masía wins "el clásico"

Marc Guillén

Home-grown talent from the FC Barcelona academy has made a much bigger contribution this season than players that have come up through the ranks at Real Madrid.

Barça’s senior squad can boast more local players, who play more, score more goals and are younger than their counterparts in Madrid.

The explosion on the scene of Messi, Bojan and Giovani has put the Barça academy, based at La Masía near the Camp Nou, well and truly on the map. The Club looks set to have a scintillating attack for years to come but the contribution of home-grown talent is by no means limited to these three players.

Almost a complete team

masiaaa01.jpgThere are currently 10 players that have come up through the youth teams in the Barça senior squad (compared to 6 at Real Madrid) so Rijkaard could almost field a complete team composed of local players: goalkeepers Valdés and Jorquera, defenders Puyol and Oleguer, midfielders Crosas, Iniesta and Xavi, and forwards Messi, Bojan and Giovani.

In contrast, Real Madrid have just 6 of their academy players in the senior squad: Casillas, Torres, Balboa, Guti, Soldado and Raul.

More minutes and more goals

RAUL_ALEGRIA_53.jpgBut it’s just in the number of players that Barça leads the way – the fact is that the influence of these players is much greater. Barça’s home-grown talent accounts for 39.6% of the minutes played so far in the league while in Real Madrid the contribution drops to 26,9%.

These same players have also scored 14 goals for Barça, compared to 9 goals for Real Madrid.

Only two local players have scored for Real Madrid - Guti (1 goal) and Raul (8 goals) - while 4 have scored for Barça: Barça Messi (8), and Bojan, Xavi and Iniesta with 2 apiece.

La Masía wins “el clásico“
More, better and younger
The average age of Barça’s home-grown players (24 years, 1 month) is also lower than the equivalent group at Real Madrid (25 years, 11 months). Given their youth, the future looks exceptionally bright for the likes of Messi (20), Iniesta (23), Bojan (17), Giovani (18) and Valdés (25). By contrast, putting aside Balboa and Torres, the Madrid group is starting to age: Guti is already 31, Raul, 30, and Casillas 26.

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