Pep Guardiola gave 8 La Masia players their Barcelona debuts - where are they now?

Pep Guardiola gave Gerard Pique his Barcelona debut

Pep Guardiola's time as Barcelona manager was truly iconic.

The Spaniard rose through the managerial ranks at the club to succeed Frank Rjikaard in 2008.

There was hope surrounding his appointment, but nobody foresaw the success Guardiola would have at the Camp Nou.

With Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez all in their pomp, Barca were simply unstoppable, winning two Champions Leagues and three La Liga titles in just four seasons.

And the majority of players in that all-conquering team hailed from the club's famous La Masia academy.

However, Guardiola himself didn't promote many of them from the B team, but he did select eight players from the academy to make their first-team bows during his reign.

So where are they now? Well GIVEMESPORT have done some digging and discovered that two of the octet are now club icons, while others have fallen into obscurity over the past few years.

Gerard Pique

Pique signs for Barcelona

Well, he turned out alright, didn't he?

Guardiola decided to bring Pique back to his hometown from Manchester United and he became an instant hit alongside club captain Carles Puyol.

Trophies have become the norm in Pique's time at the club and he's still the main man in defence to his very day. A true legend!

Oier

Oier with Barcelona

After realising his Barca dream was never going to come fruition, Oier sought pastures new with Granada in 2014.

However, he failed to make the cut there as well, so he joined Levante in 2017 where he has finally found regular game time.

He is still with the La Liga outfit, but has missed most of the 2019/20 season with injury.

Thiago Alcantara

Thiago with Barcelona

The man who was born to replace Xavi at the heart of Barcelona's midfield.

Sadly, Thiago was sold too early in 2013 to Bayern Munich, where he has turned into one of world football's most formidable midfielders.

A deep-lying playmaker extraordinaire, Thiago was built for the Blaugrana, but he was sadly born in the most competitive era in the squad's history.

Alberto Botia

Botia in a press conference

Botia made just one appearance for Barca's first team before embarking on a journeyman career.

Sporting Gijon, Sevilla, Elche, Olympiakos and Al-Hilal have all played home to the Spanish defender.

The 30-year-old is now playing in Saudi Arabia with Al-Wehda.

Sergio Busquets

Busquets in action

Like Pique, handing Busquets his first-team debut was a master stroke by Guardiola.

Ever since his first appearance, the Spaniard has not looked back, anchoring the midfield to perfection and establishing himself as the most elegant enforcer in world football.

Guardiola has been searching for another Busquets for the past decade and has never really found the perfect replacement.

Marc Muniesa

Muniesa in action

So much was expected of the centre-back when he made his first-team debut in 2011/12, but it just never worked out.

Muniesa moved to Stoke City in 2013, before joining Girona in 2018 after an underwhelming spell in English football.

He's now with Qatari outfit Al-Arabi.

Victor Sanchez

Sanchez with Espanyol

The versatile Spaniard played eight times for the Barca senior team, before joining Swiss side Neuchatel Xamax in 2011.

However, he was back in Spain a year later, signing for Barca's city rivals Espanyol and he remains there to this day.

Sanchez has already made 12 appearances for Espanyol this season.

Xavi Torres

Torres with Betis

To say Torres has never settled at a club after his two appearances for Barca in 2009/10 would be an understatement.

The 32-year-old has played for Malaga, Levante, Getafe, Real Betis, Sporting Gijon, Perth Glory and Elche - a hefty CV.

Like Muniesa, Torres is now with Al-Arabi.

If you ever needed proof that graduating from La Masia is not enough to seal a top professional career, a number of players on this list should do just that.

Professional football is one of the hardest working environments on the planet and success is never guaranteed, regardless of the foundations.

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