I think La Masia has been dragged through the mud over the last couple of years despite producing some of Barcelona’s most talented youngsters. It seems to me at least, that people want a Messi coming through every year, and the reality is that Messi is generational. You don’t get a stream of Lionel Messis and Cristiano Ronaldos walking through the academy halls on a daily basis, it’s what makes them so good, their uniqueness.
Despite the criticism levied at La Masia, Barcelona’s famed academy has produced a number of talented first-team players over the last five years, and Lamine Yamal has lit up the Montjuic with his early-season form. Those eye-catching performances earned him a call-up to the senior Spanish side resulting in his first international
The latest player to make a breakthrough into the first team was Marc Guiu who scored the winning goal against Athletic Bilbao last night with his first touch of the game, less than 35 seconds after coming off the substitute bench. Guiu became the youngest player to score on his debut for Barcelona in the 21st century at 17 years and 291 days.
Marc Guiu set to earn a future role at Barcelona starting in the Champions League this week
“I can’t believe it, I’m out of breath. I’m enjoying the moment. I’ve been working my whole life for this opportunity and it turned out perfect,” Guiu said after the game.
It’s quite incredible that players continue to filter through La Masia, and that they make an impact so early in their careers. Part of that is the coaching they receive at the academy level at Barcelona, and part of it is Xavi’s willingness to promote within and give players opportunities. Just think of guys like Pedri, Gavi, Yamal and Balde.
Xavi was asked about his willingness to promote youth from within after the club.
“I personally like Marc Guiu. I’ve always said that I have no problem looking at La Masia players. You have to give them trust. When you see that the kid is ready, you take him to the playground.
“Guiu’s face on the bench didn’t look scared. He was looking at me with the ‘coach, put me on!’ face. I saw that he was ready and I subbed him in. You can tell that he can score goals, and everything went well. I’m so happy.”
Some of it is based on Xavi’s own experience and expertise, and part of it is necessary. It’s easy to say that Barcelona don’t have the funds to compete in the transfer market, and there is an element of truth there. But even when Barca were spending on big-name signings, they were still promoting from within.
Born in Granollers in central Catalonia, Guiu has been with Barcelona since he was 7-years-old. He made his unofficial debut during the pre-season game against Vissel Kobe to mark the end of Andres Iniesta’s career in Japan coming to an end.
During an interview with Sport, his former academy coach Ivan Carrasco described Guiu as
“He is a pure centre forward, a classic ‘9’, a specialist in the area who lives from his physical power. His best virtue is his aerial play. Marc is also very quick and powerful, he is unstoppable with space.
“He is not a striker who can drop to the flanks or stands out for his combination play but he is aware of his strengths and limitations and knows how to focus on his strengths and hide his flaws.