Barca's 16-Year Run Of Naming A Youth Graduate In Every Starting XI Has Come To An End
For the first time in 16 years, Barcelona fielded a starting XI which did not contain a La Masia graduate.
It's common knowledge the Blaugrana have placed an emphasis on youth development and integrating their youngsters into the first-team, with their list of youth products over nothing short of star-studded.
And while their ethos inspired by the late Johan Cruyff continues to be the same as have several players in their squad who came through the youth ranks in the famed academy, the unprecedented streak came to an end in the 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo came to an end last night.
No LA Masia graduate in @FCBarcelona Line up for the first time since 16 years- Alex Elias (@Alexeli69) April 17, 2018
Celta x Barça
Homegrown players Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique were all rested by Ernesto Valverde ahead of the Copa Del Rey final showdown with Sevilla.
Jordi Alba, Lionel Messi and Sergi Roberto were all on the bench - the latter coming on as a substitute and getting sent off for a cynical foul in the 71st minute.
Denis Suarez, who played for Barcelona B before eventually making the grade at the Nou Camp, was handed a rare midfield start but isn't technically a La Masia prodigy after spending the bulk of his footballing education at Celta Vigo and Manchester City.
That means you have to go as far back as April 6 2002 for the last time Barca failed to have one of their own in their starting line-up. In that instance, the club won 2-0 away at Athletic Bilbao and fielded the following side:
Roberto Bonano; Michael Reiziger, Philippe Christanval, Abelardo Fernandez, Francesco Coco; Fabio Rochemback, Phillip Cocu, Luis Enrique; Rivaldo, Javier Saviola and Marc Overmars.
With Barca's B side facing relegation from La Liga 2, is La Masia on the decline?
Sound off in the comments.
Featured Image Credit: FC Barcelona