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La Masia

Started on 30 May 2019 by Lewys96
Latest Reply on 11 July 2019 by Jack
Lewys96's avatar Group Lewys96
4 yearsEdited

"La Masia de Can Planes" or as it is more commonly known as "La Masia". In English it translates to "The Farmhouse". This is the academy home of global footballing powerhouse; FC Barcelona. This is where it all began for some of the worlds finest footballers. In recent years it has seen the likes of Xavi, Andrés Iniesta, Carles Puyol, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Piqué, Cesc Fàbregas, and Lionel Messi pass through its doors and grace the hallowed turf at the Camp Nou. The players previously mentioned have been instrumental in leading not only the club through its most successful period in history; but also resulted in the Spanish national teams most successful period in history (with the exclusion of Messi); winning 2 European Championships and 1 World Cup between 2008-2012. La Masia is where the clubs youngsters learn their trade, and are schooled in the art of strangling the opposition into submission through their mesmeric method of ball retention.
La Masia's ideology and conception was spearheaded by former player, and Dutch legend Johan Cruyff. When Cruyff moved from Ajax to Barcelona in 1973, he brought with him the blueprint of Dutch footballs "total football" approach to the game. Total football is a tactical approach that requires every outfielder to be able to play in every position. This allows the team to keep its shape and fluidity. One of La Masia's many high points since its introduction, was that 9 graduates of this prestigious academy where included in Spain's 23 man squad which won the World Cup in 2010. During the same year; 3 La Masia graduated made up the top 3 players in the world, at the Ballon d'Or awards; Messi, Xavi and Iniesta. These 3 players where intergral members of Pep Guardiola's team; winning 14 trophies in a 4 year period. Its rather fitting that the most successful manager in the clubs history, was also developed at La Masia.
Barcelona made history on the 25th of November 2012 when, for the first time in the clubs history, fielded 11 players at the same time, that had all come through the system at La Masia. It could be argued that from this point; until present day; that the production line at La Masia has been on a downward curve. Since 2012 only Sergi Roberto has managed to establish himself within the first team since coming up through the ranks. Instead of looking towards the academy for potential stars; the club has taken a more "Galáctico" styled approach when bringing players in. Huge transfer fees has become the norm within modern day football; and Barcelona are no exception to this approach. Philippe Coutinho was signed from Liverpool for an initial £105m (potentially rising to £142m), and Ousmane Dembélé was signed from Borussia Dortmund for an initial £96.8m (potentially rising to £135.5m). Both players have so far been deemed failures by fans, and members of the press since arriving at the club.
Less and less players from the academy are breaking through into the first team; and those who do; few survive multiple seasons. However; in spite of the academy's failings to bring through first team quality players; the clubs success hasn't wavered. 12 trophies since 2015 is an impressive achievement for any team.
However; is this new approach worth abandoning the morals that have helped establish this club as one of the best in the world? Going in search of already established top class players instead of nurturing their own? Throughout this story, I shall aim to bring back the days of old; where 7+ players starting a first team game learned their trade at La Masia...
Interesting! I look forward to seeing who will bring about these traditions once again.
ScottT - Going to try and keep the actual game-play as interesting, and as difficult as possible. I find that going one of the bigger teams within the game can lead to the game getting a bit boring and easy. So I'm gonna try and keep it fresh, with some surprises along the way.
Barcelona Manager Sacked!!!

Pete Graves - Sky Sports News "We've just been handed some breaking news; Barcelona have parted company with their manager, and former player; Ernesto Valverde. The former Spanish forward spent 2 years at the club as a player between the years of 1988 - 1990 and was given the job as first team manager at the start of the 2017 -18 season. Prior to becoming Barcelona's manager, he was previously in charge of Athletic Bilbao, where he spent 4 years at the club, before taking over as Barcelona's manager last season; replacing the outgoing Luis Enrique.
In his only season as club manager; he boasted an impressive 69.49% win ratio across all competitions; winning 41 games out of the 59 games that they competed in; winning La Liga and the Copa del Rey in the process. He also lead the team to the quarter finals of the Champions League; and finished runners up in the Spanish Super Cup.
It really is quite astonishing that the club has made this decision; given that they almost went the entire league season unbeaten last time around; their only loss came in the second to last game, in a thrilling encounter away to Levante; in which they lost 5-4. We can only speculate as to why the club felt they needed to make this decision at the moment; but we shall continue to bring you updates throughout the day on this story."
Club Statement:

FC Barcelona club president Josep Maria Bartomeu has released the following statement:

" We would like to thank Mr. Ernesto Valverde for all the hard work that he, and his staff have contributed to FC Barcelona over these last 12 months. Myself, and the other board members, did not make this decision lightly, at our end of season meeting. We spent many hours deliberating the teams performances over the course of the season; and although there was success, we felt that the club had lost some of its identity.
We shall not be making any further comments regarding potential candidates to fill the vacant managerial position. The club shall now take the next several weeks to identify the individual to take this club forward, and restore some of the values; that we feel the club has lost."
They Have Their New Man!!

Hayley McQueen - Sky Sports " After weeks of speculation; we're hearing that FC Barcelona have made a decision on who they've appointed to take over as first team manager, following the sacking of Ernesto Valverde. We can now cross over to our Spanish football expert; Mr. Guillem Balagué. Good evening Guillem; what updates can you provide us with so far, regarding this new appointment."

Guillem Balagué "Good evening; well, the man that they have chosen to take over as first team manager goes by the name of Miguel Rodríguez. Heard of him? Well its no surprise if you haven't. The 38 year old was a former member of the clubs B team. He was only there until the age of 21 when he suffered a career ending injury. After 18 months of rehabilitation he started working with the clubs Juvenil B team; which is part of the clubs under 19 team setup. It sort of acts as an u19s B team if you like, and is the first step that La Masia graduates go through in terms of aiming to make it into the first team. After spending 10 years working at this level whilst collecting his coaching badges, he then moved into the B team setup, where he then briefly worked with Pep Guardiola, before Guardiola was made manager of the first team. After spending several years as a coach within Barcelona's B team; former manager Luis Enrique brought him into the first teams coaching setup, during his tenure as manager. He has since remained within the first team, and has now been named manager of FC Barcelona."

Hayley McQueen "You could say that it has been in the making then, for him to take up this position?"

Guillem Balagué "He's a man who has always been highly regarded within Barcelona. He's from Cataluña; he joined the club as an 8 year old, and was expected to break into the first team as a player before his injury. He's someone that the players have a good relationship with, and I'm also hearing that club captain Lionel Messi recommended that he be given the chance to take the team forward."

Hayley McQueen "Do you have any information regarding the length of his contract?"

Guillem Balagué "Well it is being reported that it is only an initial 1 year contract. I think that they've only given him a short term deal, just to see how things go initially, before deciding upon offering an extended deal. You've got to remember that this is his first managerial job. He's worked as a coach for many years yes, but managing and leading is all new to him. So it shall be interesting to see how the season develops."

Hayley McQueen "Thank you Guillem. So that was Guillem Balagué providing us with an exclusive update on Barcelona's new manager; Miguel Rodríguez."
Having worked with both Pep and Enrique, Rodriguez has certainly learnt from the best. It'll be interesting to see what aspects he brings to his own style of play and whether he incorporates the best of each men's philosophies. Having been recommended by Messi himself, he has a lot of pressure on his shoulders.

Ricardo Pruna - FCB TV presenter "Hello and welcome to this exclusive interview with the new Barcelona manager; Miguel Rodríguez. Miguel; can you tell us just what this means to you, and the emotions that you're experiencing right now."

Miguel Rodríguez -Well obviously I'm delighted to be here, and manager of this great club. Its a very proud day for me. I have lot of respect for the people associated with Barcelona; the way the club looked after me when I was going through my rehabilitation for my injury. I just hope that I can repay the trust that they have put in me."

Ricardo Pruna "What can the fans expect to see from you and your team, in terms of how you intend to play football?"

Miguel Rodríguez " I think that the previous two managers that the club had favoured a more direct approach; aiming to get the ball forward to our forward line as quick as possible; where they can be at their destructive best. However; I'm going to revert back to the more possession based approach. We're going to impose a style where we respect possession of the ball first and foremost. Then we'll develop attacking transitions and interplay. Also I want to have a clear vision and pathway for our youngsters to break into the first team. As former player and fan; there's nothing more satisfying than seeing an academy graduate mixing it with the first team."

Ricardo Pruna "So it sounds to me as if you're going to try and emulate Pep Guardiola's approach then?"

Miguel Rodríguez "That's going to be the blueprint of course yes. In fact Pep was one of the first to call me and congratulate me; which of course was huge. Having one of the best managers in the game wishing you good luck."

b]Ricardo Pruna "Finally; one last question. Can fans expect a busy summer transfer window?"

Miguel Rodríguez "I've got a few targets in mind which I think can really add some quality to the team. I've got to speak to the chairman first and have that conversation with him. We'll try and get a couple of deals done."

Ricardo Pruna "Thank you for your time Miguel. Well; there you have it; the new Barcelona manager. Lets hope he can lead the club through another golden period."
ScottT - He's clearly got something about him to be involved with 3 top class managers over the years. Lets see if he's got the capability to lead the first team, and put his own mark on Barcelona's history.
Great start mate! Look forward to who will be coming in to the team in the summer whilst also maintaining the youth approach! Good luck!
TheLFCFan - Cheers mate; think its a stronger start compared to the last one that I started. Will try to upload something tonight if I get chance to.
Preseason Update:

Ricardo Pruna - FCB TV presenter "The early fixtures of preseason gave new manager Miguel Rodríguez the chance to look at some of the clubs younger players, as many of the first team did not report back to preseason training until the 5th of August. Out of the 6 games played; the team won 4, drew 1 and lost 1. Averaging 59.6% of possession across the 6 games. The team also averaged 15 shots at goal over the course of the preseason fixtures. Early signs are looking promising for Barcelona's new manager, as it looks as though he's already getting through to this group of players, in terms of how he expects them to play. I caught up with Miguel to get his views on how he felt preseason went; he had this to say.."

Miguel Rodríguez - Barcelona Manager "Overall I think it went well; disappointed with the result of the last game, but the players were playing in the right way, we just lacked that cutting edge in the final third; which ultimately Roma made us pay for. So overall I'm relatively pleased with how things went; but you can always improve and do better; but that will take time of course. The earlier fixtures gave me a chance to work with some of the players from the B team, as well as the under 19's team, and I've got to say I was really impressed with them. They weren't fazed from being in that first team environment at all. It can always be a bit daunting making the step up, but I thought they all handled it well and I was delighted with some of the performances."

Ricardo Pruna - FCB TV presenter "He certainly seems to be willing to give the clubs younger generation a chance amongst the first team. Of the 26 players used throughout the preseason fixtures; 5 players where drafted in from a combination of the B team and u19s team. Not to mention 2 of the clubs new signings; 16 year old goalkeeper Iván Martínez who was signed from CD Iruña; and promising 17 year old attacking midfielder Pelayo Morilla; signed from Sporting de Gijón; where both heavily involved during the clubs preseason fixtures.
That's it from us for tonight; you've been watching FCB TV's roundup of the teams preseason action. Until next time. Goodnight."

Preseason's Top Performer:

Pelayo Morilla

This was a tough decision to make between two players; but the award goes to new signing; Pelayo Morilla. Although it was a close call between him and Malcom. The young Spaniard registered 2 goals in his 5 appearance; 3 starts and 2 substitute appearances. His overall average rating across these games was only a 6.84 however; I felt this didn't reflect his overall performances, and I was impressed by him the most. Both of his goals came against top class opposition; scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win over FC Bayern Munich; and also scoring the winner against A.C. Milan. He provided an additional 2 key passes throughout his appearances across preseason for his new club. Certainly one to keep an eye on.
Barcelona's Super Cup Success!

Barcelona lifted their first trophy under new manager Miguel Rodríguez. A 2-1 victory against Sevilla Fútbol Club in the Spanish Super Cup. The contest was an even affair throughout 90 minutes and required Extra Time to separate the 2 sides. Barcelona youngster Abel Ruiz who was a 71st minute sub; scored his first senior goal for the club on his debut; the goal coming in the 97th minute of play. Brazilian inside forward Malcom also scored on his first competitive appearance for the club; with his goal coming on the stroke of half time of extra time. Portuguese striker André Silva; who is on loan from A.C. Milan provided some brief hope for Sevilla; scoring in the 116th minute. However; his goal proved to be nothing more than a consolation goal. Barcelona manager Miguel Rodríguez had this to say after winning his first trophy with the club..

"We knew it was going to be a tough game. Seviila are a top quality side; who a lot of teams struggle against. I thought we played well during the 90 minutes; we just couldn't find that end product though. We made a couple of changes towards the end of regular time, which I felt made us look more threatening. When extra time came along; both sets of players tired, and spaces began to open up. Abel Ruiz got the opener with a good finish from close range; we all know how talented he is, and what a player he can become. So I'm obviously delighted for him on getting his first goal for the club. Malcom also took his goal really well; then when they pulled one back it was all about managing the game, and getting over the line. Overall I'm delighted to get the first win and first trophy in the bag; but its a long season and we want to be achieving more than just wining the Super Cup; come May."

August Update:

Only two competitive games were contested in the month of August. The 2-1 Spanish Super Cup win against Sevilla; and a 1-0 away win against Valladolid in the first league game of the season. With both games being narrow victories; it was hard to pick a player of the month award. All three goals that have been scored so far have been through different goal scorers; and the two assists provided have been by two different players as well. So player of the month is going to have to go to the player with the highest average rating so far; right back Nélson Semedo.

Player of the Month:

Nélson Semedo

After an uninspiring first 2 games of the season; Nélson Semedo was the player of the month for the club. The Portuguese attacking right back picked up an average rating of 7.25 out of the two games played. The full backs only other notable occurrences throughout both games, was that he picked a yellow card in both games. Which tells you just how poor an opening couple of games it has been in terms of quality. Still; 2 wins out of 2, and a lot more football to be played!

August Results and Goal Scorers:

19/08/18 Spanish Super Cup - Sevilla 1 - 2 Barcelona
André Silva (116) - Abel Ruiz (97), Malcom (105+1)

26/08/18 La Liga - Valladolid 0 - 1 Barcelona
Luis Suárez (90+1)

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