Tactical Insights

“They teach you to win”

Cesc Fabregas has explained the different teaching methods used by Barcelona and Real Madrid’s coaches in their respective youth academies. The iconic former Blaugrana midfielder feels these methods may put Catalan players in a worse position to flourish if they move on.

Fabregas claimed Barca’s La Masia academy is more tactical, emphasizing the philosophy implemented at Camp Nou. He argued that this can be a hindrance if a player moves on. He told Rio Ferdinand presents FIVE YouTube channel:

“This [La Masia focusing too much on systems and tactics] could be a positive thing or sometimes even negative. If you don’t make it to Barcelona’s first team and then you go to a different club, you may face problems.”

Fabregas highlighted how Real Madrid‘s academy is focused on a winning mentality but with a different approach:

“In Madrid it’s the opposite. They teach you to win, but in different ways. So a lot of players from the Madrid academy end up leaving [the club] and are comfortable playing around Europe.”

He added:

“Barcelona [youth players] struggle a bit more [in that sense], but the ones that make it to the first team, they are top [class].”

Barcelona‘s La Masia academy is regarded as one of, if not the greatest, youth systems in world football. It’s produced several world-class talents, including Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, and Xavi.

However, some La Masia academy graduates tipped to become world beaters have failed to meet expectations. Bojan Krkic, Ansu Fati, and Giovani Dos Santos arguably failed to reach their potential.

Real Madrid’s success has often been down to its astute transfer business, which constantly adapts to a new generation of talent. It has pulled off blockbuster transfers such as Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009, Jude Bellingham last summer, and Kylian Mbappe just last month.

However, Los Merengues have their fair share of legendary talent from their La Fabrica academy. Raul, Iker Casillas, and current vice-captain Dani Carvajal stepped up from the youth system.

“I prefer (our) philosophy” – Barcelona president Joan Laporta’s dig at Real Madrid’s spending

Joan Laporta prefers Barcelona's philosophy over Real Madrid's.Joan Laporta prefers Barcelona's philosophy over Real Madrid's.
Joan Laporta prefers Barcelona’s philosophy over Real Madrid’s.

Real Madrid have just finished a season in which they won the UEFA Champions League, the La Liga title, and the Supercopa de Espana. Bellingham shined in his debut season at the Santiago Bernabeu alongside Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, and the retiring Toni Kroos.

Los Blancos aren’t resting on their laurels. They have pulled off one of the biggest transfers in history. Mbappe has finally joined Carlo Ancelotti’s side, signing a five-year deal, and will be officially unveiled next month.

Barcelona have watched their El Clasico rivals sign arguably two Ballon d’Or contenders in as many years. There is a glaring difference between the two La Liga giants’ spending capabilities.

However, Barca president Joan Laporta was adamant that he preferred the Catalans’ vision. He said when asked about the Mbappe move (via the club’s official website):

“I prefer the philosophy that we have here, the one brings players from the youth teams to the first team. I am not changing our sporting philosophy.”

Barca has been plagued by financial issues for several years, which led to Messi‘s departure in 2021. They have been cautious with spending and are unlikely to make big-money moves this summer.