La Masia which translates in English as The Farmhouse is Barcelona’s famed academy. It has been known to produce countless young players with the dream of making it unto the big screens. The academy is known for training players to play in a certain way (tiki taka). La Masia has produced countless players ever since it was established in 1702.
It is however from the 2000’s onward that most of its graduates made significant contribution to their teams. It is from that time that most of them made a name for themselves. In this article we analyze the top 10 players to have graduated from the famed academy. We start the countdown from the descending order, that is from the last player to the first player on the list.
10. LA MASIA GRADUATE: PEDRO
The Chelsea winger was a late-comer when it came to joining La Masia.
Pedro arrived from Canary Islands team CD San Isidro aged 17 in 2004.
But soon, he became a key member of the first team once he was promoted by Pep Guardiola.
In the 2018-19 season Pedro became the first player to score in six different club competitions during a single season and in the same year.
9. MAURO ICARDI
Argentina striker Icardi had a spell at La Masia from 2008-11, after rejecting overtures from Real Madrid, Arsenal and Liverpool.
But the goal poacher failed to show his class in Spain and was shipped out on loan to Sampdoria in 2011, which became a permanent move six months later for just £400,000.
He has since become one of the most sought-after strikers in European football, boasting a remarkable goalscoring record.
Icardi always stood by his decision to leave Barça, because it ultimately benefitted his career.
8. GERARD PIQUE
Another one that got away, but returned to become a hero.
Pique played in the same youth teams as Messi and Fabregas from 1997, although he was deployed as a defensive midfielder in his early years.
Manchester United snapped him up in 2004 on a pro-contract, without having to pay a fee.
In 2008, he returned to Catalonia for a fee of £5million and has gone on to play 531 times for the club, as well as bag a celebrity wife in Shakira.
7. SERGIO BUSQUETS
One-club man Busquets has become one of the greatest defensive midfielders of his generation.
At youth level though he bounced around a few teams playing for the likes of Badia, Barbera Andalucia, Lleida, and Jàbac Terrassa, before settling at Barcelona in 2005,
Guardiola promoted Busquets to his first team in 2008, but it’s his former international manager Vincente Del Bosque who provided this accurate quote about his abilities.
He said: “If you watch the whole game, you won’t see Busquets – but watch Busquets, and you will see the whole game.”
6. LA MASIA GRADUATE: CESC FABREGAS
Fabregas trained at La Masia for six years before making the bold move to Arsenal in 2003, believing his chances would be limited at the Nou Camp.
With the Gunners he soon established himself into one of the Europe’s most promising players – replacing Patrick Vieira in the heart of their midfield, before eventually being named captain.
In 2011 he returned to Barcelona for £35m, and in three seasons played 96 times for them before moving to Chelsea for £30m in 2014.
Cesc won the World Cup and the Euros twice, and has been capped 110 times by Spain.
5. PEP GUARDIOLA
Johan Cruyff called him one of the best midfielders of his generation, and it’s hard to argue with that seeing he was a major influence in playing style of the likes of Xavi, Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas.
Guardiola joined La Masia at 13, and within six years the deep-lying playmaker made his debut against Cadiz.
In 1998 Louis van Gaal made him captain, but in 2001 he left for Serie A side Brescia after years of injury problems with a troublesome calf.
4. CARLES PUYOL
Arguably the most un-Barcelona-like player.
But Puyol became a cult hero as an inspirational captain with his uncompromising style of defending.
He joined La Masia in 1995, playing as a defensive midfielder before converting to full-back and then centre-half.
But Puyol almost left the club three years later when Barça accepted an offer from Malaga after deeming him surplus to requirements.
However, seeing Xavi getting a chance in the first team encouraged Puyol to stay, and the rest is history.
3. ANDRES INIESTA
Plucked from Albacete at the age of 12, Iniesta never looked back.
He steadily climbed up the youth ranks, making his debut aged 18 in 2002.
Iniesta would go on to become the most decorated Spanish footballer in history – winning 35 trophies, including nine LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues.
Famously, he helped Spain win the 2010 World Cup – scoring the winner against Holland.
The greatest playmaker of his generation, and the embodiment of their tiki-taka passing style, Xavi joined La Masia at 10.
At that age though it wasn’t Michael Laudrup he idolised, but in fact British-based stars like John Barnes, Paul Gascoigne, and Matt Le Tissier.
“I’ve been lucky enough to be brought up on the Barcelona ethos,” he once revealed.
“Which has taught me the value of being part of a team. ‘Today for you, tomorrow for me.’ Those qualities are essential for life in general.”
1. LA MASIA GRADUATE: LIONEL MESSI
Without doubt the best youngster to come from Barcelona’s youth set-up, and the best to ever play for the club.
Messi joined the La Liga giants in 2001 from Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina, who he had trained with since the age of six.
Realising they had such a prodigious talent on their hands, Barcelona agreed to pay for his treatment after he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency.
Some 638 goals later, it was the best decision they ever made.
SUMMARY: LA MASIA TOP 10.
This are the top 10 players the great La Masia has ever produced. What are your views about the players on the list? Do you agree with our analysis? If not, then what are your views. Please share all of those views and opinions on the article by commenting in the comment section. Please share and like the article to reach like-minded people like you. Follow us on any of our social media platforms below to keep reading posts like this from us.