5 Barcelona youth products who succeeded elsewhere
Barcelona has one of the most famous and successful youth academies in world football. It was modernized by the Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff and became known to many as La Masia.
Barcelona's youth system has produced some of the greatest players in world football. Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernadez, Andres Iniesta, and Sergio Busquets are all products of La Masia.
While some climbed up the ladder at the Blaugrana, others found it extremely difficult to stamp their presence. They left the club for better opportunities or were forced out. Many went to prove that it was not the end of the road and succeeded at other clubs.
On that note, let's take a look at the youngsters who failed at Barcelona but succeeded elsewhere.
#5 Mikel Arteta (ex-Arsenal & ex-Everton)
Currently, an assistant coach Manchester City joint, Mikel was a product of the La Masia. who joined Barcelona's youth system at the age of 15. Despite his potential, the Spaniard failed to break into the first team and went out on loan to Paris Saint-Germain in 2000. Upon the end of his loan spell in 2002, Arteta was sold to the Scottish giants Rangers in a £6m transfer deal.
He then returned to his hometown club Real Sociedad after a hugely successful 2-year spell at Scotland. He had an underwhelming start to his Sociedad career and was sent out on loan to Everton in January. Arteta helped Everton to a 4th place finish in the Premier League that season and his switch was made permanent during the summer of 2005.
2005/06 was the breakthrough season of his career as he picked up Everton Player of the Season award. 2006/07 was even better. He scored 9 goals and assisted 9 more in his 39 starts. After a six and a half years of successful spell at Everton, Arteta moved to Arsenal in 2011.
He had 3 great seasons with Arsenal but injuries curtailed his game time during the 14/15 and 15/16 seasons. He finally left Arsenal in 2016, after making 149 appearances. He could have been a great midfielder at Barcelona had things worked out his way.