With a mountain of debt of almost 1.2 billion euros, FC Barcelona is on the financial edge. The return of Joan Laporta gives hope for improvement – because under the new old president the recently neglected young academy La Masia should come to the fore again. Despite everything, a top star could be signed in the summer. And what will become of Lionel Messi?
Ilaix Moriba was excited. The 18-year-old midfielder had just scored his first goal for the FC Barcelona professionals with his weaker left foot. And suddenly a cheering Lionel Messi jumped into his arms.
“This moment,” said Moriba after the Catalans’ 2-0 away win against CA Osasuna on March 6, “I will take with me to my grave. Unforgettable!”
It was not just a special moment for Moriba, but for the entire club. The joyful embrace of Moriba and Messi symbolized the past, present and future of FC Barcelona.
It was a reminder of what the club once stood for. And could be back soon. For a club that puts its own offspring back in the foreground.
Qatar instead of UNICEF: Barca’s breach of values after Laporta
Above all, La Masia, the in-house talent factory, suffered. Not immediately after the departure of Pep Guardiola in 2011, whom Laporta had promoted from coach of the second team to responsible for the professionals three years earlier. Because Tito Vilanova, Guardiola’s successor, also continued the successful era.
In 2012, in a league game against UD Levante, Vilanova let eleven players from La Masia play at the same time. But since 2014 at the latest, when the coach tragically died of cancer at the age of only 45, his own offspring have been falling more and more by the wayside.
When Lionel Messi arrived at Barca at the tender age of 13, his team-mates nicknamed him “Dwarf”. “I was 1.70 meters tall at the age of 12,” said former academy player Roger Gribet in an interview with SPOX and goal. “But he wasn’t even five feet tall!”
Gerard Pique and Cesc Fabregas, for example, were lured away as young players, but at least returned to Barcelona. In the past decade, however, significantly more players left the Catalan talent factory. Sergio Canos, for example, moved to Liverpool in 2013 at the age of 16.
Ex-Barca youth player: “The road to the pros is too long”
“I just thought: Wow! Such footballers, really? But if you go to Arsenal or Liverpool you don’t have that long way to get to the pros. At Barca you have to play in the U17, U18, U19 and then Barca B. until you might get the chance with the pros. It’s too long to go. Unless you’re incredible and score three goals every weekend. “