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Luis Enrique put out a full starting eleven of homegrown players for Saturday’s friendly in Helsinki, with Masip in goal, Montoya, Piqué, Bartra and Jordi Alba at the back, Sergio Busquets, Sergi Roberto and Andrés Iniesta in midfield and Rafinha, Munir and Pedro up front.
Eleven in Valencia
Barça have long been committed to producing top players at La Masia and this isn’t the first time that the Club have played with a completely homegrown first team – on November 25 2012, Tito Vilanova fielded 10 players who had come through the academy system for the game against Levante at the Ciutat de València - Valdés, Piqué, Puyol, Jordi Alba, Busquets, Xavi, Cesc, Iniesta, Messi and Pedro- alongside Dani Alves who limped off after 15 minutes to be replaced by Martín Montoya. With 11 homegrown players on the pitch, Barça went on to win 0-4.
The Barça model
Saturday’s game was, though , the first time all eleven players in the starting line up had come through the academy and despite the different generations – Iniesta, Piqué, Busquets, Montoya and Munir for example, it was clear that all eleven shared the footballing values that flow through the Club – control, possession, quick passing, pressing and the ability to build patiently from the back. In the end, it lasted just 45 minutes, as Ratikic came on for Iniesta after the break, but Saturday’s line up showed once again that the Barça model is very much alive and kicking!
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