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FC Barcelona's starting line-up against Levante / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

From China to France to the Unites States, from Catalonia to Spain, sports news outlets from around the globe took notice of the highly unusual feat accomplished at the Ciutat de Valencia when the Blaugrana fielded a team completely made of up La Masia – Barça’s youth academy – graduates.

International press hail homegrown XI

This morning, France’s L’Équipe leads with “Levante get a footballing lesson signed by La Masia.” The article praises Iniesta, who scored a screamer of a goal and provided three assists, for becoming the Barça player with the sixth-most appearances for the Club (422). L’Équipe goes on to quote the Barça players, “we are thankful for everyone that works and have worked at La Masia,” and Tito Vilanova, who is “proud that seven or eight of the players are Catalan.”

Meanwhile in Argentina, ‘Ovación online’ explained that the Barça “dream came true of playing with 11 players that were genuine products of La Masia”. The Argentinians particularly highlighted the presence of Lionel Messi, who “despite being born in Rosario, spent his childhood at La Masia along with most of his current team-mates. Barcelona won convincingly with a homemade team. Something to copy”.

Yahoo! China’s headline screams “11 La Masia players, glorious FC Barcelona take win while Real Madrid flounder.” The Chinese sports site goes on to say “Barça’s 11 players on the pitch” against Levante “were all from La Masia.” In addition, the website notes that “Xavi and Puyol have featured more than 500 times for the Club, while Valdés, Iniesta and Messi have made over 300 appearances. Players that came up with Guardiola, Pedro and Busquets, and the players that have played for other teams – Piqué, Cesc, and Alba, and the new addition to the team, Martín Montoya,” made up Barça’s all-homegrown team on Sunday. “There is a 13-year difference between the players, but they all play the same style of football, the beautiful football that’s played at La Masia.”

Sina Sport echoes Yahoo! China’s headline with “Historic Barça, 11 Blaugrana from La Masia stun the world.” Sports QQ declares: “La Masia 11 miracle, an FC Barcelona team completely made up of homegrown players equals China’s ping pong team against the world.” The Chinese sports site equates Barça’s all-homegrown team with the ping pong tournament held in Shanghai, which will pit an all-Chinese team against a selection of international players.

“La Masia XI shoots Barcelona eleven clear,” reads ESPN. The North American website highlights that Tito Vilanova has won “37 out of 39 points so far [...] Credit must be given to a confident newcomer who has managed to keep this group of players hungry for victory, eager to improve and ready to compete for reaching even higher heights.” In conclusion: “Fielding the first ever La Masia eleven will also go down as one of the proudest moments in over 100 years of Blaugrana history.”

Catalonia and Spain

“It doesn’t happen every day that Madrid find themselves behind Barça by eleven points in the Liga BBVA,” says El Mundo Deportivo. The Catalan daily notes the uncanny way in which Barça nabbed its eleven-point lead: “Fate was capricious as it gave the Blaugrana an eleven-point lead with eleven youth academy products on the pitch.”  The Madrid-based news outlet, Marca, leads with “11 points away with 11 canteranos [youth academy products],” and the byline: “a Barça completely made up of players from La Masia pass over the Ciutat de Valencia like a hurricane and leave Madrid 11 points adrift.”

“His Majesty Iniesta” reads El País’ digital version. The paper highlights the midfielder’s exquisite performance, which included a goal and three assists,  against Levante. In addition, El País declares that Barça’s victory in Valencia featured an “historic homegrown team from La Masia.”

As, another Madrid-based sports daily, are more neutral in their approach: “Barcelona have an 11-point lead over Madrid.” La Masia XI is mentioned at the end of the article, however.


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