On April 8, 2007, during the youth football tournament 'Vila de Peralada,' Barça's team, then trained by Albert Puig, caught the media’s attention with a lesson in sportsmanship.
They were playing for the title against Espanyol, and during the early stages of the match a Barça player was injured. Espanyol kicked the ball out so that they could receive treatment, but when play resumed with a throw-in, the Barça players didn’t return the ball and went on to score.
Espanyol protested the decision to allow the goal and were confused as to why it had been allowed in the first place. Puig then insisted that his charges allow Espanyol through to score in reply.
It was one more lesson for the youngsters, and a typical example of how the youth system aims to create not just great players like Messi, Iniesta or Xavi, but also players with the same fair-minded attitude. This action was later recognised, and Albert Puig was given several awards for his fair play.
Puig latterly acknowledged that he might have never been encouraged to write his book, ‘The Power of a Dream,’ without that incident occurring. It’s a book on the values that young people must learn both in sports and in life, and it proves that sportsmanship and respect are entirely compatible with the desire to compete and win.