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Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy was founded on 20 October 1979, and we have seen some outstanding talents emerge from the system in the 40 years since.
Few academies in Europe can hold a candle to La Masia, which has produced legends, champions, heroes and superstars in industrial numbers.
Here are 15 of the finest graduates in La Masia history…
15. Albert Ferrer
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A tenacious right back, Albert Ferrer worked his way up through the Barcelona ranks as a teenager, and was rewarded with a loan move to CD Tenerife in the 1989/90 campaign.
After impressing, Ferrer returned to Camp Nou to become the instant first-choice right-back for Barcelona. He racked up a total of 292 appearances across eight years for La Blaugrana, winning five La Liga titles, one European Cup and one Cup Winners’ Cup.
He then spent five years with Chelsea, where he added one FA Cup and one Super Cup to his impressive trophy cabinet, before retiring in 2003.
14. Sergi Barjuán
Born and bred in Barcelona, it was Sergi Barjuán’s destiny to make it with La Blaugrana, and that’s exactly what he did.
After he was boldly introduced by manager Johan Cruyff in 1993, left back Barjuán never looked back, establishing himself as the team’s undisputed starter opposite fellow La Masia graduate Ferrer.
Barjuán won three La Liga titles and the Cup Winners’ Cup across his nine years with Barcelona. He racked up 382 appearances, before leaving for Atlético Madrid in 2002.
His time in Madrid was not as spectacular, although Barjuán certainly made an impact on the disciplinary side of things. He picked up 23 yellow cards in his first two seasons, and eventually retired in 2005.
13. Luis Milla
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A beneficiary of the senior team strike in the 1984/85 title-winning season, young midfielder Luis Milla was handed a one-off appearance for the team to help make up the numbers but then spent another four years in La Masia before returning to the senior side.
He added a Cup Winners’ Cup to his resumé, but a contract dispute saw him leave to join rivals Real Madrid on a free transfer in 1990. With Los Blancos, Milla produced the best form of his career as he fired the team to two La Liga titles.
He left to join Valencia in 1997, where he picked up another Copa del Rey trophy, before retiring four years later.
Compared to many on this list, winger Pedro Rodríguez was somewhat of a late bloomer. Only brought to Barcelona at the age of 17, Pedro spent a few years with the academy before making his mark on the senior side in 2008.
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