Barcelona start just one academy graduate vs Alaves for first time in over 14 years


BARCELONA’S change in philosophy was evident as only one graduate of the club’s famed La Masia academy started their shock defeat to Alaves — the first time that’s happened for over 14 years.

Luis Enrique named the likes of Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta on the bench with Sergio Busquets — who was named captain for the occasion — the only former youth team player in the starting XI.

(From Left) Barcelona's Turkish midfielder Arda Turan, Barcelona's midfielder Denis Suarez, Barcelona's Argentinian defender Javier Mascherano, Barcelona's forward Paco Alcacer, Barcelona's Dutch goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen, Barcelona's defender Aleix Vidal, Barcelona's French defender Jeremy Mathieu, Barcelona's French defender Lucas Digne, Barcelona's Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic, Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar and Barcelona's midfielder Sergio Busquets line up before the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona vs Deportivo Alaves at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 10, 2016. / AFP / LLUIS GENE (Photo credit should read LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)
Sergio Busquets was the only academy graduate starting against Alaves
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BARCELONA - APRIL 23: Thiago Motta of Barcelona runs with the ball during the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg match between Barcelona and Real Madrid played at the Nou Camp, in Barcelona, Spain on April 23, 2002. Real Madrid won the match 2-0. DIGITAL IMAGE. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Thiago Motta in action for Barcelon against Real Madrid in 2002 Champions League
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The last time Barca started a match with just one La Masia graduate was against Real Madrid on April 24, 2002 — with then boss Carles Rexach opting to select Thiago Motta for the Champions League semi-final first-leg at the Nou Camp.

The Catalans are renown for giving youth players a chance.

Pep Guardiola included an incredible nine players who graduated from La Masia in the victorious 2011 Champions League final squad.

However, no prospects have emerged since and established themselves in the side.

BARCELONA - APRIL 23: Barcelona merchandise during the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg match between Barcelona and Real Madrid played at the Nou Camp, in Barcelona, Spain on April 23, 2002. Real Madrid won the match 2-0. DIGITAL IMAGE. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Barcelona few stars to graduate from famed La Masia academy back in 2002
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Leo Messi and Luis Suarez during La Liga match between F.C. Barcelona v Alaves, in Barcelona, on September 10, 2016. (Photo by Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Lionel Messi started on the bench for Barcelona in their 2-1 defeat at home to Alaves
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BARCELONA, SPAIN: Real Madrid's Raul (C) fights for the ball with Barcelona's Frank de Boer (L) and Christianval during the Champion's League Semi-Final first leg soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona in Barcelona, 23 April 2002. Real Madrid won 2-0. AFP PHOTO Pierre-Philippe MARCOU (Photo credit should read PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images)
Barcelona last started just one academy graduate in 2002 Champs Lge clash with Real Madrid
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Though, Guardiola did buy Jordi Alba, who started his youth career at Barca, for Valencia the summer after that final victory over Manchester United at Wembley.

The five-time European champions have splashed out on big-name stars such as Neymar and Luis Suarez as top quality La Masia graduates are nowhere to be seen.

Enrique also splashed out on the likes of Arda Turan and Andre Gomes, who are not even guaranteed starters.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 10: Sergio Busquets of FC Barcelona runs with the ball during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Deportivo Alaves at Camp Nou stadium on September 10, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Sergio Busquets was named Barcelona captain for 2-1 La Liga loss to Alaves
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Finale de la Champions League a Wembley FC Barcelone vs Manchester United (Photo by liewig christian/Corbis via Getty Images)
Barcelona had nine academy graduates in squad for 2011 Champs Lge final
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For their Champions League clash with Celtic, as well as Gerard Pique, Alba, Messi and Iniesta — who have been in the starting line-up for five seasons — Barca will have Sergi Roberto available, who is far behind the others in terms of quality.

It is another clear indication that the Catalans’ famed academy is failing them.
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