Home cooking and triangles for Barca’s victorious youth

“You simply walk in off the street. Football’s best youth academy is housed in an old brick farmhouse in downtown Barcelona. Inside you are given a coffee and a friendly welcome at the bar. The Masía – FC Barcelona’s academy, named for the Catalan word for farmhouse – recalls AC Milan’s legendary training ground, Milanello. Both places feel like neighbourhood canteens, simple clubhouses where men gather for fellowship and coffee. Yet the Masía is unique. It has produced half the world’s best team, Barcelona, which plays next door in the Nou Camp stadium. Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Carles Puyol come from this farmhouse. So do Liverpool’s Pep Reina, Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas and Everton’s Mikel Arteta. Together they would be a competitive World XI. Luckily, three of the academy’s staff – Albert Capellas, Ruben Bonastre and chief scout Pep Boade – are happy to gather around a little table and divulge the Masía’s secrets.” (FT – Simon Kuper)

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