Barcelona: What happened to the Class of '03 - La Masia's greatest team?

Yes, that is Lionel Messi in the mask...

Pretty much every football fan knows about La Masia.

Barcelona's world-renowned academy has produced some of the greatest footballers of all-time down the years.

Six-time Ballon d'Or Lionel Messi is undoubtedly the youth system's biggest success story and in 2003, the Argentine maestro was part of a quite incredible under-15 side.

In 2002/03, La Masia's Class of '03 completed their U15 campaign unbeaten, winning the Catalan league title, the Spanish league title and the Copa Catalunya.

Gerard Pique and Cesc Fabregas were also part of that all-conquering side alongside Messi. But what about the rest of the players in a famous photograph of the starting XI from April 2003 found below?

Barcelona's Class of '03 before a game vs Espanyol

Barcelona's famous Class of '03, including Messi & Pique

Well, let's find out...

Dani Plancheria

The goalkeeper only made it as far as Barcelona's B team and he spent much of his career in Spain's lower leagues with the likes of CE L'Hospitalet and CD Montcada.

Plancheria did have trials at Blackburn Rovers back in 2011, but they opted not to sign him. The 34-year-old is now retired.

Jose Hinojosa

Hinojosa never actually made it as a professional, which is slightly surprising given he was part of such a stellar U15 team at Barcelona.

The man who shared a room with Fabregas instead coaches young footballers in Catalonia, while also playing for amateur side Martinenc.

Major Erling Haaland to Chelsea update | Football Terrace

Gerard Pique

Pique's done okay for himself, hasn't he? The Spaniard is arguably one of the greatest centre-backs in history and has played 566 games for Barcelona.

The lanky defender has won every trophy available as well, including four Champions Leagues and a World Cup.

Marc Valiente

Valiente - who captained Barcelona at youth level - has enjoyed a pretty successful professional career after leaving the Catalan club in 2008.

The towering defender has played for the likes of Sevilla, Real Valladolid and Partizan Belgrade. He's now with Sporting Gijon in the second-tier of Spanish football.

Valiente in action

Cesc Fabregas

Fabregas remains one of the most successful La Masia graduates. He evolved into a world-class operator at Arsenal, before rejoining Barcelona in the summer of 2011.

The silky midfielder then returned to England in 2014 and joined Chelsea, where he cemented his status as a Premier League legend. Fabregas is currently on the books at AS Monaco.

Roger Giribet

Giribet actually signed for Barcelona on the exact same day as Messi, although the two players' career bare no similarities whatsoever other than that.

The defender failed to break into the Blaugrana's senior team and has spent most of his career in Spain's lower leagues. He's currently with CE Artesa De Segre in the country's sixth-tier.

Giribet in action

Lionel Messi

We don't really need to say much here, do we? Messi is arguably the greatest footballer in history and is still going strong for Barcelona.

The little Argentine magician has scored 672 goals for the club and won 36 major honours. La Masia will never see another player quite like Messi.

Franck Songo'o

The former Cameroon international failed to break into Barcelona's first-team, which resulted in a move to English side Portsmouth in 2005.

Songo'o didn't have much of an impact there, though, spending most of his time out on loan at Bournemouth, Preston, Crystal Palace and Sheffield Wednesday. He returned to Spain in 2008 with Real Zaragoza and then retired from the sport in 2014.

Songo'o in action

Julio de Dios Moreno

Another player who failed to make the grade with Barcelona after excelling at La Masia. Moreno has represented 11 clubs in Spain's lower leagues after leaving Catalonia at the age of just 20.

The midfielder is currently with fifth-tier side Real Jaen.

Eugenio 'Pitu' Plazuelo

The right-back didn't even make it as far as Barcelona's B team, so he decided to sign for Real Mallorca's B team in 2007 instead.

Pitu has been on the books at a number of lower-level Spanish clubs and can currently be found at Cerdanyola FC in the fourth-tier.

GMS Giveaway

ENTER GIVEAWAY

Juanjo Clausi

Clausi was actually the set-piece taker for the Class of '03, ahead of Messi - which is something of a claim to fame.

But that's about as good as it's got for him. The forward has never played outside of Spain's lower leagues, representing 15 different teams during what's been a journeyman career. He's currently in his second spell with Paterna CF.

1 of 20
p1f0bdjs3f11tgicl1nl313081nh43.jpg

Which city was Lionel Messi born and raised?

News Now - Sport News