“We don’t make soccer players, we make people who play soccer”

Is the rough quote from this ESPN video on Barcelona’s famous La Masía training facility, and it is shorthand for the Barcelona approach to youth development. I see a lot of similarities with what we saw at Santos. Also a difference, with more focus on developing the character of the people who come out of their school.

Players like Messi, Xavi and Iniesta have maintained very clean images in the public. They have handled their fame and fortune humbly and always seem to remember their roots. Compared to the tabloid-fueling excesses of other craques like C-Ron, Balotelli and Ronaldo, you can see the benefit of teaching the boys values and proper behavior.

The video is here.

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