House of (Young) Gods
I recently watched the 60 Minutes special on FC Barcelona, which specifically focused on their youth academy. The academy, called La Masia, has produced some of the best soccer players in the world today, like Cesc Fabregas, Pepe Reina, Gerard Piqué, and, last but not least, Lionel Messi. In fact, La Masia has been around for about 40 years. The interview summarized what life is like within La Masia as well as talk about how FC Barcelona has gone from friendly neighborhood football (yes, it’s called football, not soccer) club to international best-selling brand.
Something that must be understood when talking about FC Barcelona is that they have an extensive history. The club has been around for years and has always had a reputation of excellence. During the segment, Piqué was being interviewed about his time at La Masia. The interviewer posed the question of whether Piqué considered the place to be like a factory that pumps out football talent. Piqué, in an answer I strongly agree with, simply said that he didn’t think it was a factory because he didn’t like the connotations of the term. Basically, Piqué doesn’t consider himself to be some factory-made product and, quite frankly, I wouldn’t want to be either.
The main point of the segment, however, wasn’t about La Masia, but rather FC Barcelona itself. In the last four years, the club has won an incredible 14 out of a possible 19 trophies. This has never been done before, and there is seemingly only one reason for this success—Lionel Messi. This soccer god is only 5’7’’ but he doesn’t stop scoring goals. Most likely, the reason for the success of Messi and the team is because 17 of the 25 players came out of La Masia. What this means is that, since the players have played with each other for so long, their team chemistry is on expert level.
The scariest thing about Barça (as the team is called) is that they’re only getting better. I just hope that their overwhelming success and global popularity can make football popular here in the United States.