Zubizarreta explains success of Barça youth policy
David Saura (enviat especial)
Andoni Zubizarreta, the new FC Barcelona director of football, spoke at a conference organized by the K-League to explain the guiding principles of Barça’s hugely successful youth policy.
FC Barcelona have made quite a stir in the world of football by winning the Champions League with
no fewer than 7 home-grown players in the team – a rare event in these days of chequebook
team-building. In addition, 6 of these players formed the backbone of Spain’s World Cup
winning team, exporting the Barça style to the international stage. While this preponderance of
home-grown talent is almost taken for granted by Barça fans, other clubs can only look on with
Continuity of style the key
At a press conference in Korea, where the team is on the first lap of
their summer tour, Barça football tsar, Andoni Zubizarreta, outlined the policy that has resulted
in such a successful youth programme. He highlighted the importance of maintaining the same concept
of football throughout the Club and over the years.
Criteria and priorities
The recently appointed director of football explained that right from
the earliest age, the emphasis is always on the technical aspect of the game, so that fitness work,
for example, is always carried out using the ball. As the boys get older, a greater emphasis is
placed on the competitive element although the coaches always stress that learning their trade is
more important than the result itself. He also clarified the kind of personal characteristics the
coaches look for in their charges: a global vision of football, modesty, self-esteem, commitment, a
healthy lifestyle and responsibility.
He stressed the need for the youngsters to acquire basic footballing concepts in training
more than the development of individual skills and highlighted the importance of a creative,
attacking approach above any specific system.
The tip of the iceberg
Zubizarreta likened the structure of the Barça teams to an iceberg,
where the first team is only the tip. Below that come such important elements as the technical
structure, the scouts, the Masia youth academy, the Club facilities, the medical team, the
Club’s strategic policy and logistical support and – the hopes and dreams of everyone