3 La Masia products who shine at other clubs after being sold by Barcelona
Many people know Barcelona for its highly-rated La Masia academy. Their youth team had produced several of the world’s best such as Lionel Messi, Gerrard Pique, Andres Iniesta, and Xavi Hernandez.
Unfortunately, many have criticized the club for failing to emulate their past success in producing superstars, with players such as Sandro Ramirez and Carles Planas deemed not good enough.
However, some graduates have been highly successful after departing from Barcelona. Some of them has even transformed to be one of the best in their respective position. Now we will take a look at 3 of the most successful La Masia graduates who have been sold by the Catalan giant.
#1 Alex Grimaldo
Grimaldo had been a Barcelona player from 2008 to 2015. After playing for the club's youth system for about 4 years, the 23-year-old finally had his official debut for the B team on September 2011. The Spaniard did impress on the junior side, featured prominently in his last 2 seasons.
Sadly, Barcelona already sold him to Benfica before the defender could even have a single opportunity to play for the first team. His move to the Portuguese side, however, has been an enormous success so far.
Grimaldo is now arguably one of the best young left backs in Europe and, several giants, including Barcelona themselves, have been going after him. A complete package, Grimaldo has amassed an average of 2.3 tackles per game and impressed in attacks, scored 6 goals and bagged 5 assists combined in the league and European competitions.
#2 Andre Onana
Had Barcelona not letting Andre Onana go for Ajax in 2015, the goalkeeper perhaps would not be as successful as he is now. The young Cameroonian started his career in Samuel Eto’o Foundation, an academy owned by former Barcelona’s legendary forward with the same name before joining La Masia.
However, the 22-year-old did not make to the first team, and the Blaugrana eventually sold him to Ajax for a mere €150,000. After impressed in Ajax youth team, Onana gradually promoted to the Dutch giant’s first team and started serving as a backup for Jasper Cillessen. Cillessen’s departure to Barcelona then meant that the Cameroonian would become a regular for Ajax.
Now many have touted the goalkeeper as one of the hottest talents in Europe. He is the key for Erik Ten Hag to progress to the Champions League quarterfinal, beating Real Madrid in the knockout stage and made his team unbeaten in a group consisting of Bayern Munich and Benfica.
#3 Thiago Alcantara
Thiago Alcantara started his career in the lower level of CR Flamengo before joining La Masia in 2005. He promoted to Barcelona's first team in 2009 and was gradually given chances to play by Pep Guardiola.
Following Pep's departure to Bayern Munich and series of a mixed season at Camp Nou, the 27-year-old was then sold by Barcelona to the German giant for €25 million.
Fortunately, Alcantara's Bundesliga career has been a success so far, making his price skyrocket. A report even states that Manchester City are willing to break their transfer record to lure the technically gifted playmaker away from Bayern.