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It's great to be young. That's certainly true in Barça's case right now. Xavi Hernández is in charge of the youngest set of blaugrana players since the 2001/02 season (when the data starts) with an average age of 25 years and 169 days. Note that this statistic does NOT refer to the total number of players in the squad, but only to the actual minutes of football played on the pitch.
It is the first time since 2005 that the Barça average has dropped below 26 (25 years and 285 days to be precise), when the regulars included breakthrough talents like Carles Puyol, Samuel Eto'o, Ronaldinho and Andrés Iniesta. Oh, and Xavi himself! That was also the year that a very young Leo Messi made his debut.
Barça squads tend to average between 26 and 27 years, but in 2015/16 there was an unusually senior bunch of players whose mean age was 28 years and 60 days.
Only counting minutes on the pitch, the current Barça team is the youngest of the century
Barça's youngest starting XI since 2005 was actually the one that lined up just a month ago at Real Sociedad. Xavi picked a team that averaged just 24 years and 45 days: Ter Stegen, Araujo, Christensen, Eric, Balde, Frenkie de Jong, Gavi, Pedri, Ferran, Dembélé and Lewandowski.
The Barça XI against Real Sociedad, the youngest since 2005
Xavi was also the coach for the fourth youngest line-up in this period, the game away to Mallorca in January.
The other three in the top five were the choices of Ernesto Valverde (two) and Pep Guardiola (one). However, it should be noted that all three of these games were played immediately before key Champions League matches (the two legs of the 2019 semi-final in Valverde's case and the 2011 final under Pep). Both managers were clearly resting their more veteran players for the big games ahead, which adds to the merit of Xavi's recent selections, which were not conditioned in the same way.
Last weekend's game with Elche ended with an average age of 23 years and 88 days. Marc ter Stegen, born in 1992, was the oldest blaugrana on the pitch when the final whistle blew.
The team is belying its youth with some amazing performances. This is the best start to a league campaign for five years and the goals are flying in. Neither is it going unnoticed, for Barça have five nominees in the latest Golden Boy list.
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