FIFA hit La Masia again

'Hands off La Masia' was just posturing

OPINION

@SPORT_Lmascaro

Camp Nou. 5 April 2014. An enormous banner with the message 'La Masia no es toca' (Hands off La Masia) is unveiled. It was Barça's protest against FIFA's punishement and defense of their youth system. Little more than three years later, the slogan seems a bad joke. Because since then the club has spent €425 million on 18 signings (including €12 million to re-sign Deulofeu) and no player from La Masia has become a key part of the first team. Maybe Sergi Roberto, but he is getting more and more frustrated with the lack of opportunities at Barcelona and is thinking of moving on. And it's true that the way youth team players have been treated in recent years is surprisingly to say the least. And almost insulting.

The departure of Thiago to Guardiola's Bayern Munich was perhaps the start of the end. From then on, it became clear that faith in the youth team was just a posture that had nothing to do with reality. Were the players in the youth team really that bad that players like Douglas, Mathieu, Vermaelen, Arda, Digne, André Gomes, Paco Alcácer and Semedo had to be signed? It's clear that Barça had a once-in-a-lifetime generation (Valdés, Piqué, Puyol, Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro, Messi…) but there's a very big difference between unbelievable excellence and being unable to play in the first team. And if the club really belived in La Masia like the banner said, a youth team player should always play ahead of a second-rate signing, often signed for a superstar price. Sergi Samper is the latest victim, but Bartra and Sandro have suffered the same treatment in the past. And Sergi Roberto and Rafinha are also in danger. "Hands off La Masia", they said. They said...

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