The 50 most promising players at La Masia in 2011 - where are they now?

Barcelona’s La Masia used to be a conveyor belt of talent.

In yesteryear, the academy would churn out incredible talent every single season.

The likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi are obvious examples of coming through the academy and becoming club legends.

More recently, the academy hasn’t been quite as successful with Barca relying on spending money rather than nurturing their own talent.

But back at the start of the decade, Spanish journalist Marti Perarnau produced a list of the 50 most promising players at La Masia in his ‘Senda de Campeones’ book.

At the time of the book being published, the author picked players of all different ages. So, with help from Marca, we’ve decided to look at the 50 players and ask ‘Where are they now?’

Spoiler: Only one of them remains at the Camp Nou…

Ruben Mino | UD Logrones

The goalkeeper played four seasons for Barcelona B before making his one and only appearance for the first-team in the first leg of the Supercopa de Espana in 2010 against Sevilla, losing 3-1. He left Barca for Mallorca before moving to Oviedo, AEK Larnaca, Albacete, Politehnica Iasi in Romania and now UD Logrones in Segunda División B – Group 2.

Jordi Masip | Real Valladolid

Was at Barcelona for 13 years in total – mostly in the B side, making four appearances in the first-team. Has been Real Valladolid’s No.1 in the last three seasons.

Pol Balleste | Olot

Failed to make the first-team before moving to Atletico Malagueno and then El Palo, Cadiz, Granada B, UCAM Murcia and Badajoz. He’s now at Olot in the Segunda Division B – Group 3.

Fabrice Ondoa | KV Oostende

Ondoa didn’t even manage a game for Barcelona B before his move to Pobla and then Sevilla B. He’s now the goalkeeper for Oostende in Belgium and has played 42 times for his country, Cameroon – not bad for a 24-year-old goalkeeper. Incidentally, his cousin is fellow Cameroonian goalkeeper, Andre Onana.

Martin Montoya | Brighton & Hove Albion

Montoya managed 67 appearances for Barcelona before loan spells at Inter Milan and Real Betis. A permanent move to Valencia followed but the 28-year-old now finds himself in the Premier League with Brighton.

Albert Dalmau | Llagostera

The right-back made three appearances for Barcelona B before moving to Valencia B. Then came stints at Cadiz, Lugo, Cordoba, Hercules and Sepsi Sfantu Gheorghe in Romania. The 27-year-old is now at Llagostera, plying his trade in the Segunda Division B – Group 3.

Hector Bellerin | Arsenal

One of the most recognisable names in this list. Bellerin never made it at Barca and left for Arsenal in 2011 as a 16-year-old. He’s since played almost 200 times for the Gunners and is the club’s vice-captain. It’s crazy to think he’s still only 24.

Marc Bartra | Real Betis

Eighty-one appearances for Barcelona B and 103 appearances for Barcelona’s first-team. The centre-back then joined Borussia Dortmund before moving back to Spain with Real Betis.

Sergi Gomez | Sevilla

The defender made one solitary appearance for Barca but moved to Celta Vigo in 2014. After four seasons at Celta, he signed for Sevilla but has since fallen out of favour under Julen Lopetegui.

Oriol Rosell | Orlando City

Rosell has had an interesting career after he left Barcelona for Sporting Kansas City in the MLS, where he became the first Spanish player to win the league. He moved to Portugal with Sporting, going out on loan to four other Portuguese clubs before a return stateside with Orlando City.

Edu Campabadal | Lugo

Not many have trodden the path from Barcelona to Wigan but right-back Campabadal did – even if he did only last one match for Wigan. He’s represented Córdoba and Mallorca but is now at Lugo in the Segunda División.

Robert Costa | Atletico Levante

The centre-back made 13 appearances for Barcelona B and after a spell with Celta B, is now with Levante’s reserve side in Segunda División B – Group 3.

Roger Riera | NAC Breda

In 2013, Riera captained the under-19 side to their UEFA Youth League title but left for Nottingham Forest a year later. However, he never made it in England and returned to Spain to join Celta B and Villarreal B. He now plays for Dutch Eerste Divisie side NAC Breda.

Carlos Blanco | Villarreal B

After leaving Barca before making an appearance for either the B side or the first-team, Blanco joined Juventus for two years before then signing for Gimnastic. He joined Villarreal B in July 2018, where he remains.

Andreu Fontas | Sporting Kansas City

The centre-back spent three seasons playing for Barcelona B before making the step up to first-team football, playing 16 times. He had a brief spell at Mallorca before joining Celta in 2013. But in August 2018, the now 30-year-old moved to the MLS to sign for Sporting Kansas City.

Xavier Quintilla | Villarreal

Quintilla left Barca for Villarreal B back in 2017 but is now playing regularly for the first-team.

Juanma Garcia | Vorskla Poltava

The defender joined Liverpool’s youth set-up in 2016 but failed to make a way through at Anfield. He’s now in Ukraine at Vorskla Poltava.

Marc Muniesa | Al-Arabi

Muniesa managed four first-team appearances at the Camp Nou before four seasons in the Premier League with Stoke. A return to Spain with Girona came before a surprise switch to Qatar. Still only 27.

Brian Olivan | Girona

Olivan left Barca for Braga before moves to CSKA Sofia, Valladolid B and Granada B. He’s now on loan at Girona from Cadiz.

Alex Grimaldo | Benfica

Despite almost making 100 appearances for Barcelona B, Grimaldo never featured for Barcelona. He signed for Benfica in 2016 for £1.5 million and has since played more than 150 times for the Portuguese giants.

Fran Alvarez | Without a club

Alvarez left Barca for Monaco B and has attempted to make it at a whole host of clubs in Spain and Italy. He was last seen playing for Viterbese in Italy’s third tier before he was released in January.

Oriol Romeu | Southampton

Romeu made just two appearances for the first-team before a surprise move to Chelsea. He only lasted two seasons at Stamford Bridge, going on loan to Valencia and Stuttgart for two further campaigns. He signed for Southampton in 2015 for £5 million and has been an important player in their side since.

Patric | Lazio

Patric played once for Barcelona – a substitute appearance in a Champions League loss to Ajax. He signed for Lazio in 2015, where he remains despite being a bit-part figure.

Wilfrid Kaptoum | Almeria

The now 23-year-old managed three appearances for Barcelona before signing for Real Betis B. He played a handful of matches for Betis’ first-team but has been loaned out to Segunda Division side Almeria for this season.

Alex Corredera | CD Badajoz

Corredera left before making a first-team appearance in Catalonia and has since played for Almeria, Murcia and Valencia B. He’s now at Badajoz in Segunda Division B – Group 4.

Sergi Roberto | FC Barcelona

The only player in the list still at the club. The 28-year-old has now made almost 300 appearances and will always be remembered for THAT goal against Paris Saint-Germain during Barca’s incredible comeback.

Thiago Alcantara | Bayern Munich

Arguably the most talented player in the list. Barca may view Thiago as ‘the one that got away.’ The Spanish midfielder played 101 times for Barca before joining Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich, where he’s made 227 appearances, winning six Bundesliga titles.

Rafinha Alcantara | Celta Vigo

Rafinha is actually still contracted to Barcelona but is currently on-loan to fellow La Liga side Celta Vigo. The 27-year-old has played 90 times for Barca.

Javier Espinosa | FC Twente

A Barcelona B regular, making more than 100 appearances before short spells to Villarreal, Almeria and Elche. He’s now in the Netherlands with FC Twente.

Jordi Maso | Olot

Maos only played 19 minutes for Barcelona B before signing for Segunda División B’s UE Llagostera. Six seasons at UE Llagostera followed before he signed for Olot in the Segunda División B – Group 3 alongside former La Masia graduate Pol Balleste.

Pepe Palau | Rayo Ibense

Palau has spent most of his career in the lower leagues of Spain and is now at UD Rayo Ibense in Tercera Division, Group 6.

Pol Calvet | Retired

From Barcelona B, Calvet went to Deportivo B and then Llagostera. He decided to play college football in the United States at the University of Pittsburgh but failed to be offered a contract by Los Angeles FC and subsequently retired at the age of 24.

Nando Quesada | Atletico Sanluqueno

Signed for Barcelona at the age of nine but released by the age of 13. His next club was Utrecht in the Netherlands before returning to Spain with Llagostera and Formentera. He’s now at Atletico Sanluqueno in  Segunda Division B – Group 4.

David Babunski | FC Botosani

The Macedonian left Barcelona for Red Star Belgrade, playing a handful of times. Spells at Japanese clubs Yokohama F. Marinos and Omiya Ardija followed. He now playing for FC Botosani in the Romanian top-flight.

Sergi Samper | Vissel Kobe

After 18 years at Barcelona, Samper joined Japanese side, Vissel Kobe, at the start of March. In those 18 years, he only made 13 first-team appearances.

David Zalzman | Deportivo Tachira

The Venezuelan spent five years in Barca’s youth sides before returning to his native country. A short spell in the United States followed but he’s now for Deportivo Tachira in the Venezuelan Primera Division.

Simon Colina | Sandnes Ulf

Has anyone ever gone from Barcelona to Partick Thistle? Colina has. However, he failed to make a single appearances for the Scottish side before moving to Cyprus with Nea Salamis, Poland with Radomiak Radom and now Sandnes Ulf in Norway.

Lionel Enguene | FC Telavi

Enguene joined Turkish side Antalyaspor after leaving Barcelona but now plays for Georgian club FC Telavi.

Cristian Tello | Real Betis

Tello had a pretty decent record at Barcelona, scoring 20 goals in 86 appearances. After loan spells at Porto and Fiorentina, Tello is now turning out for Real Betis. He has just one solitary cap for Spain.

Isaac Cuenca | Vegalta Sendai

Cuenca played 30 times for Barcelona during the 2011/12 season but has had stints at Deportivo and Granada in Spain, either side of a 19-appearance spell at Bursaspor in Turkey. A move to Israel and Hapoel Be’er Sheva FC proceeded a switch to Japan. First with Sagan Tosu and now with Vegalta Sendai.

Gerard Deulofeu | Watford

Deulofeu has had a yo-yo career. Six appearances in his first spell at Barcelona before loans at Everton and Sevilla. He returned to Everton on a permanent basis but went on loan to AC Milan for the second half of the 2016/17 campaign. Barcelona then activated their buy-back clause but 17 appearances later, he was back in England with Watford. Watford then signed him on a permanent basis. Still only 26, he’s played four times for Spain.

Cristian Herrera | Intercity

Herrera has spent his entire career in the lower leagues with the likes of CD Castellón, UD Ibiza and UD Almería B. He’s now at Intercity SJ Alicante in Tercera División – Group 6.

Ivan Romano | FC Santboia

Another player who quickly disappeared into the lower reaches of Spanish football. Romano has had spells at UE Cornellà, Montañesa and is now at Catalonian side FC Santboià in Tercera División – Group 5.

Maxi Rolon | Fuerza Amarilla

From Barcelona, Rolon briefly signed for Brazilian side Santos. A return to Spain with Lugo followed, then onto Arsenal de Sarandi in Uruguay before moving to Chile to sign for Coquimbo Unido. He’s now at Fuerza Amarilla in Ecuador.

Adama Traore | Wolves

Traore played four times for Barcelona before a move to England with Aston Villa. He was relegated with Villa before suffering the same fate with Middlesbrough as he played one season in the Championship. Wolves took a chance of him, paying £18 million. This season, the 24-year-old has been sensational and is finally fulfilling his potential.

Keita Balde | Monaco

Lazio snapped up 16-year-old Keita and the Senegalese went on to play 137 times for the Italian club. He moved to Monaco for £25 million in 2017, where he remains – although he did have a loan spell at Inter. He’s also played 30 times for his country.

Jean Marie Dongou | FC Honka

Dongou came through the Samuel Eto’o Foundation and played 132 times for Barcelona B. He even made three appearances for the first-team – scoring on his debut in the Copa del Rey. After spells at Zaragoza, Gimnastic and Lugo, Dongou now plays for Finnish side Honka.

Sandro Ramirez | Real Valladolid

The 24-year-old did manage seven goals in 32 appearances for Barcelona before a successful 2016/17 campaign for Malaga. That earned him a move to Everton but he’s struggled at Goodison Park. He’s currently out on loan at Real Valladolid.

Antonio Sanabria | Genoa

Considering he’s still only 24-years-old, Sanabria has had quite a career. Sassuolo, Roma, Sporting Gijon, Real Betis and now Genoa on loan. He’s also played nine times for Paraguay.

Sergio Buenacasa | Malaga

Buenacasa left Barca for Juventus but failed to make the grade at the Old Lady. He returned to Spain with Basque side Barakaldo and now finds himself at Malaga.

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