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Every player that comes through the Club’s youth system shares the same dream - to make their first team debut for Barça. From now on, fulfilling this dream will be recognised by the practice of allocating a consecutive number to every player who debuts in a competitive national or international match. It will start from the inauguration year of La Masia, the Club’s residential facility for sportspeople and currently a worldwide benchmark for its singular training model and commitment to youth football. As such, every footballer that has played at any youth level since the 1979/80 season has been allocated a consecutive number for their debut, whether while resident at La Masia or during their development as young players before regularly featuring for the first team.
After a thorough search, the Documentation and Study Centre has prepared the list of youth and development players that have played at least one competitive national or international game for the Barça first team, excluding the Catalan Cup, given the inconsistent participation over the years. If more than one player made their debut in the same match, the minute they entered the pitch was used to determine their number. Another of the parameters used to establish the order of each one in the case of various players making their debuts in the same game is the minute of the game in which they debut, and if that does not separate them then alphabetical order is used based on the player's sporting name. This census created a list of all debuts to date, with future debuts to be added as they occur. Having been approved by the Players Association and the authors of Big Dictionary of Players, the list includes every player from either youth or Barça B level.
Joan Josep Estella is the first footballer to feature on the list starting from the 1979/80 season, having made his debut during a La Liga match, before going on to play 100 competitive games for the first team. As such, every home-grown footballer who has helped to write this Club’s amazing history over the past four decades has been allocated a number. Notable entries include Leo Messi (93), Xavi Hernández (70), Andrés Iniesta (85), Pep Guardiola (44), Carlos Puyol (75), Guillermo Amor (33), Gerard Piqué (119), Victor Valdés (83), Sergio Busquets (120), and Jordi Alba (143). Some of the latest players added since their debuts are Ansu Fati (178), Ronald Araujo (179), Mingueza (181), Nico González (185), Gavi (186), and Estanis Pedrola (192), as the latest entry.
A new ‘ritual’ to present footballers
This new practice will come with a presentation, whereby every youth player that debuts with the first team receives a jersey with their debut number. Players already on the list will also receive their shirt when they renew their contract. As part of the ‘Made in La Masia’ concept, the Club has also created an audio-visual piece to be shown across the Club’s different channels. The aim is to both showcase this practice and raise awareness and brand value regarding the ‘More than talent’ concept and all the work undertaken the past 43 years, recognising the footballers who fulfilled their dream and made their first team debut. La Masia is one of the cornerstones supporting the world-famous ‘More than a Club’ slogan that makes FC Barcelona unique, forming part of its core aspects and unique identity.
Recognition for earlier ‘home-grown’ players
Barça created this list from the 1979/80 season onwards after the inauguration of La Masia de Can Planes residential facility. However, along Club’s history, many more players have spent time in development teams before fulfilling the dream of making their first team debut. Despite this, the list of players up to the end of 1970s cannot be considered definitive, given that the Documentation Centre doesn’t have that much information on players from the 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s who spent time at youth level prior to making their debut. This is why the 1979/80 season and the La Masia inauguration was chosen as the criterion for creating the list.
We have to go back to the 1910s and the creation of the first Barça youth team to find the first documented player, meaning the legendary Paulino Alcántara was the first footballer to play for the youth teams before going on to debut for the first team. There are a total of 70 players from 1910 to 1970, with Ramon Alfonseda last on a list that features such legendary players as Alcántara, Seguer, Biosca, Manchón, Gràcia, Tejada, Olivella, Vergés, Rodri, Sadurní, Fusté, Eladio, Rifé, Rexach, and Torres.
1970 saw the foundation of Barcelona Athletic (a merger of the two Barça youth teams at the time - Club Esportiu Comtal and l’Atlètic Catalunya). There are 17 players from that decade up to 1979, starting with Bartomeu Paredes, including Pere Valentí Mora, Francisco Fortes, José Vicente ‘Tente’ Sánchez, Antonio Olmo, Joan Vilà, and Lobo Carrasco, and ending with José Manuel Martínez ‘Manolo’. All these footballers are part of Barça’s history of home-grown players, many of whom are still involved with the FC Barcelona Players Association.
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