7 Best Players To Graduate From La Masia

Best La Masia graduates

The football academy of FC Barcelona, La Masia, is a status symbol for the club because it has built FC Barcelona’s possession-based style by bringing out world-class players that fit this system. 

Over the years, the academy has produced some of the best football players in the world, including Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, and Carles Puyol.

In this article, we’ll explore how La Masia became one of the top football academies in the world and how its best graduates helped the first team of Barcelona.

We will also look at some of the top La Masia graduates and how they contributed to FC Barcelona’s success in recent years.

The philosophy of La Masia

Best La Masia graduates
Image Via Flickr

The main philosophy adopted by La Masia is that football should be played with an emphasis on technical skills, tactical awareness, and mental toughness.

The academy wants to develop excellent players, but it also wants its players to love the game that they’re playing. Also, the academy wants its players to feel some obligation to perform for the club and its fans.

The academy highly emphasizes creating players that can fit into FC Barcelona’s aggressive, high-pressing, and ball-controlling style of play. For its students, La Masia is more than just a football academy; it’s a way of life. 

The academy is intended to establish an environment where young athletes may refine their talents while simultaneously learning crucial life lessons like respect, discipline, and teamwork.

At La Masia, students are encouraged to take pride in their work and to see the value of putting in a lot of effort to reach their objectives.

The coaching team at the academy plays a vital role in maintaining the club’s philosophy. They are excellent at developing young talent and giving each player the specialized treatment they may need.

Not only do La Masia’s coaches encourage the players to take risks and to be creative, but they also teach the players how to perform in a team effectively.

Nevertheless, the most important focus of La Masia is on player development. The academy recruits the best youth players from all over the world, and then it gives these players a platform to become even better. 

When looking for players to include in their academy, the La Masia coaches look for players that show all the needed attributes like technical proficiency, tactical awareness, and mental toughness.

With this recruitment style, the La Masia Academy has continuously been able to produce some of the best players that the world has ever seen.

7 Best La Masia Graduates

La Masia has produced some of the world’s best footballers over the years, many of whom have gone on to become legends of the game. Here, we will take a closer look at some of the most notable La Masia graduates and their contributions to FC Barcelona’s success.

1. Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi

Unquestionably, the most well-known La Masia graduate and also one of the greatest players in the sport’s history is Messi.

At the age of 13, he enrolled in La Masia, quickly moving up the ranks to become one of the most promising young prospects in football. 

Messi saw a quick ascent to stardom and has since gone on to win countless individual honors, including seven Ballon d’Or awards, as well as numerous national and international titles with FC Barcelona.

2. Xavi Hernandez

Xavi Hernandez best passers in soccer history
(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Another La Masia graduate who contributed significantly to FC Barcelona’s success in the 2000s and the early 2010s was Xavi.

Xavi’s superb passing skills and field vision, which allowed him to command games from midfield, were the hallmarks of his playing style.

He is said to be one of the best passers in football history.

While playing for FC Barcelona, he won numerous La Liga championships, Champions League medals, and accolades on the international stage.

3. Andres Iniesta

BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 20: Andres Iniesta of Barcelona runs with ball during the UEFA Champions League group D match between Barcelona and FC Copenhagen at the Camp nou stadium on October 20, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona won the match 2-0.
(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Andres Iniesta is another great product of La Masia, as he is known to be one of the best midfielders of our generation.

His exceptional dribbling, passing, and shooting abilities were key to FC Barcelona’s success in the late 2000s and early 2010s. 

Iniesta was also renowned for his mental toughness as he scored some of the club’s most important goals, including the game-winning goal against Chelsea in the champions league semi-final.

He was also instrumental in his nation’s first-ever world cup trophy as he scored the winning goal in the final.

4. Carles Puyol

Carles Puyol
Carles Puyol

Puyol, the former captain of FC Barcelona, is a La Masia alumni who embodied the academy’s work ethic, rules, and respect.

He was a tenacious and relentless defender who set an example for his colleagues by playing with passion and dedication.

While playing for FC Barcelona, Puyol won numerous La Liga and Champions League championships, as well as the World Cup and European Championship with Spain.

These are only a few of the many world-class players that have emerged from La Masia. Not only have they produced some of the best layers in football history, but they will continue to bring out some more talents in the future, like the current midfield duo of Pedri and Gavi. 

5. Pep Guardiola

Is Pep Guardiola The Best Manager To Grace The Premier League?
(Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Pep Guardiola joined La Masia in 1984, at the age of 13. He spent six years at La Masia, honing his skills and developing his talent, before making his debut for Barcelona’s first team in 1990.

Pep Guardiola is another La Masia graduate who made a significant contribution to FC Barcelona’s success, both as a player and a coach.

Guardiola was a central midfielder known for his exceptional vision, technical ability, and tactical intelligence.

During his playing career at Barcelona, he won numerous domestic and international titles, including six La Liga championships and a Champions League trophy.

After retiring as a player, Guardiola returned to Barcelona as a coach, leading the team to an unprecedented period of success.

Under his guidance, Barcelona won 14 trophies in four seasons, including three La Liga titles and two Champions League trophies.

Guardiola’s impact on Barcelona’s success cannot be overstated, and he remains one of the most celebrated La Masia graduates of all time.

He is regarded by many to be one of the greatest soccer coaches of all time.

6. Victor Valdes

Victor Valdes is widely regarded as one of the best La Masia graduates of all time. He joined the academy at the age of 10 and spent his entire youth career at Barcelona, developing his skills as a goalkeeper under the guidance of the club’s coaches.

Valdes made his debut for Barcelona’s first team in 2002 and went on to become one of the most successful goalkeepers in the club’s history.

He played a key role in Barcelona’s success during the 2000s and 2010s, helping the team win numerous domestic and international titles.

While at the club, Valdes won six La Liga championships, three Champions League trophies, and a host of other domestic and international honours.

Valdes also holds several records at Barcelona, including the most appearances by a goalkeeper in the club’s history, with 535 appearances across all competitions.

He also won the Zamora Trophy for the best goalkeeper in La Liga a record five times.

7. Sergio Busquets 

Sergio Busquets best defensive midfielders in the world 2022
(Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Sergio Busquets is considered one of the best La Masia graduates and has had a successful career playing for Barcelona. He joined La Masia at the age of 17 in 2005 and made his debut for the club two years later.

Busquets is known for his technical skills and is said to be one of the best defensive midfielders of all time.

He has won numerous titles with Barcelona, including 8 La Liga titles, 6 Copa del Rey titles, and 3 Champions League titles. Additionally, he has won the World Cup and the European Championship with the Spanish national team.

Impact on FC Barcelona

The influence La Masia has upon FC Barcelona is immeasurable. Some of the club’s greatest players and most memorable moments have come from its academy players. La Masia has played a significant role in defining the club’s playing style, philosophies, and culture.

FC Barcelona has played some of the most beautiful and efficient football in the history of the game, thanks to La Masia’s emphasis on technical prowess and tactical awareness.

Graduates of the academy have infused FC Barcelona with a distinctive style of play that focuses on ball possession, aggressive play, and intense pressing. Through this style of play, also known as tiki-taka, the club managed to gain millions of fans around the world.

The success of La Masia graduates has significantly influenced the accomplishments of FC Barcelona on the field. Graduates from the academy have contributed significantly to the club’s many national and international championships, including numerous La Liga championships, Champions League trophies, and FIFA Club World Cups.

Best players to graduate from La Masia
(Photo by Patrick T’Kindt – Via Unsplash)

On top of their contributions on the field, La Masia graduates have also made substantial contributions to FC Barcelona’s culture and identity. The club now has a strong feeling of community and a common purpose thanks to the academy’s emphasis on collaboration, discipline, and respect.

Despite its many accomplishments, La Masia has faced numerous difficulties lately, such as increasing competition from other academies, financial strains, and adjustments in the transfer market.

Due to FC Barcelona’s recent European failures, some fans are even demanding the club to buy experienced and proven players instead of giving chances to academy players who lack the same experience.

Nonetheless, the academy continues to be a crucial component of FC Barcelona’s identity, and the team is dedicated to making investments in its continued growth.

Final Thoughts

We cannot overstate the impact that La Masia has had on FC Barcelona. The club’s playing style, philosophies, and culture have all been greatly influenced by the academy, which has also given birth to some of the greatest players in the history of the game. If the club wants to continually be considered one of the best clubs in the world, then its La Masia academy should be an important priority for the club in the future as well.

Author’s Bio:

Siddhant Bhandari is an athlete and a sports enthusiast who writes at sportingwhizz.com

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