The Barcelona youth academy, known as “La Masia,” is regarded as one of the sport’s finest institutions. The famed academy is known to identify and nurture world-class talent from a very early age. Some of its graduates include Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Carlos Puyol, and Pep Guardiola, to name a few.
The academy, which was established by Barcelona legend and visionary Johan Cruyff, has played a massive role in the Blaugrana's dominance of Spanish and European football over the years.
Five Barcelona academy players who had forgettable stints at the club
2010 was a historic year for La Masia, as it became the first youth academy to produce three Ballon D’Or finalists in a single year - Messi, Xavi and Iniesta. While the aforementioned names are famous for their exploits with Barcelona, some La Masia graduates have failed to make a mark at Camp Nou.
On that note, let’s take a look at five Barcelona academy players who failed to make their mark at the club.
#1 Jordi Cruyff
Jordi Cruyff, the son of Barcelona’s biggest icon and the man who founded the famed La Masia itself, Johan Cruyff, joined the La Masia academy as a teenager.
Cruyff Jr. made his debut for Barcelona B in 1992 and made an immediate impact, gaining promotion to the first team in just two days. Operating as an attacking midfielder, Cryuff played a vital role in the Blaugrana’s league campaign.
Moreover, the Dutchman won the Spanish Super Cup in his inaugural season and went on to make 53 appearances for Barcelona. Cryuff scored 11 goals in the red and maroon and later went on to represent the likes of Manchester United, Celta De Viga and Espanyol, among others.
#2 Giovani Dos Santos
Next up, we have a La Masia graduate who broke through to the Barcelona first team alongside Bojan Krkic and Lionel Messi. The three were tipped to be 'the trident of the future,' but things didn’t quite pan out that way - not for all parties involved, at least.
Dos Santos was one of the few who earned his reputation in international football rather than club football, as he flourished more under the Mexican flag.
It was evident from the early years of his career itself, as the now-31-year-old was extremely inconsistent in the 40 appearances he made for Barcelona. The same continued in Tottenham Hotspur, but he showed his best form in club football for Villareal. Dos Santos was involved in 33 goals (18 goals, 15 assists) from 74 appearances for the Spanish club.
However, the Mexican truly prospered in international football, winning the silver ball in the U17 World Cup and the bronze ball in the U20 World Cup. Dos Santos was named the Player of the Tournament in the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
In 107 appearances for the national side, Giovanni Dos Santos has notched up 19 goals.