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01.02.2010 13:53

Barça academy leads the way

Sandra Sarmiento

Guardiola’s starting line-up in Gijon included eight home-grown players. The last manager to do this was Cruyff, fourteen years ago away to Betis.

The Barça academy continues to be the envy of Europe. Winning the Champions League with seven home-grown players in the starting eleven is highly unusual but Guardiola is demonstrating week by week that this was no passing fashion.

Barça 8 - Sporting 4

2010-01-30_PARTIDO_08.JPGOf the 35 matches played by Barça so far this season, half of them have been with at least seven home-grown players in the starting line-up. In Gijon there were eight: Valdés, Puyol, Piqué, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi and Pedro. By contrast, Sporting played with only four home-grown players: Lora, Canela, Cristian Portilla and Luis Morán. Barça also come out on top in comparison with Athletic Club Bilbao, famous for their Lezama academy. Last weekend the Bilbao first team included six products of their youth policy.

Academy players lead the way

Of the ten players most used by Guardiola in the league this season, seven came up through the youth ranks: Valdés (1,878 minutes every match), Xavi (1,749 minutes, also every match), Puyol (1,515 minutes), Piqué (1,458 minutes), Messi (1,380minutes), Busquets (1,268 minutes) and Iniesta (1,248 minutes in 18 matches).

History repeats itself

2010-01-23_PARTIDO_03.JPGThe eight home-grown players in the starting line-up in the Molinón was a personal record for Guardiola and equals the record established by Cruyff some 14 years ago. With the team plagued by the absence of many senior stars, Cruyff handed a debut to Toni Velamazán, put Juan Carlos Moreno as a striker and choose a midfield that struggled to reach an average of 20 years old. Barça beat Betis easily thanks to the contribution of eight players who learnt their trade in the youth teams: Busquets, Ferrer, Sergi, Toni Velamazán, Carreras, Roger Garcia, Òscar Garcia and Juan Carlos Moreno.
Barça academy leads the way

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The Pichichi and Zamora Trophies
The Spanish league’s leading goal scorer and the goalkeeper who has conceded the least goals both came up through the Barça youth ranks. Messi has scored 15 goals while Valdés has conceded a miserly 10.

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