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08.09.2008 12:15

Academy is outstanding in Europe

Berta Brau

With the addition of Piqué, Victor Sánchez and Pedro to the first team, Barça now has ten players from its academy in its first team squad. That is the highest number of any of the top teams in Europe.

FC Barcelona’s current first team squad has 10 players who learnt their football in the club’s academy: Xavi, Bojan, Puyol, Iniesta, Messi, Valdés, Jorquera, Piqué, Pedro and Victor Sánchez. That’s a pretty impressive figure in its own right and compares extremely favourably with recent winners of Europe’s top leagues.

European comparison

fcblyon2_x14x.jpgBayern Munich with Kraft, Lahm, Lell, Ottl, Schweinsteiger, Kross and Rensing; Real Madrid with Casillas, Guti, Raul, Codina, Torres, Javi García and De la Red; and Olympique de Lyon with Hartock, Clerc, Kolodzieczak, Benzema, Mounier, Govou and Tafer, all have 7 academy players in their first team squads. Inter Milan only has three: Andrea Mei, Davide Santone and Francesco Bolzoni.

Man Utd are different

Manchester United are different as there are no limits on the number of players in first team squads in the EPL which means that reserves are constantly turning out for the first team. However, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side has seven players playing on a regular basis who have come up through the ranks: Gary Neville, Wes Brown, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Danny Welbeck, Darren Fletcher and John O'Shea.

Thus Barça has a significant numerical superiority plus its 10 ex-academy players could virtually form a complete and very competitive line-up.

Academy line-up

wisla-fcb.jpgThat’s because over recent years the Barça academy has produced top quality players in practically all positions, including great strikers such as Messi and Bojan, midfielders like Xavi, Iniesta and Victor Sánchez, and solid defenders such as Puyol and Piqué, ending with the security of Valdés and Jorquera between the sticks. How good they are is shown by the fact that 7 out of the 10 have been called up for the full Spain team (Xavi, Puyol, Iniesta and Bojan), Argentina, in the case of Leo Messi, and the under-21s, in the cases of Piqué and Pedro.
Academy is outstanding in Europe
Pinto the exception
Goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto is the only Spanish-born player not to have come up through the academy. All of Barça’s other Spanish passport holders learnt their trade in the club’s youth and reserve teams.

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