Barca academy to hone new superstars

While Europe's elite are still figuring out how to stop the Barcelona machine from winning, the Catalans already have a plan in place to stay on top for years to come.

Football News: Messi, Iniesta, Xavi

On Thursday, the club unveiled its new academy centre for youngsters - a new production line bent on creating the next Lionel Messi or Andres Iniesta to take the club forward when their current crop of superstars retire.

"It's a world recognised centre and I'm thrilled to be here for the opening," Iniesta told the club's website.

Iniesta came to the Masia in 1996 when he was just 12 years old and is just one of the many players who have come through the academy to go on to do great things for the club in the first team.

"The secret is doing things in the right way from the very start and they try to improve you as a player and as a person too," he said.

He added: "They [the students] have to be aware of what they have - to value going to school and being able to train every day - because the time goes by really quickly."

"It's hard to leave your family and so you have to appreciate what you have here - I'd tell them to enjoy themselves."

Iniesta admitted that the opening of the new Masia was "an emotional day" for him given his history with the famed youth academy.

"There's a real change between the old and new Masia, you can see how things have changed and I'm thrilled to be a part of the first team and to be here for the opening," he said.

 

"What an amazing opening of the new Masia. Very proud to have spend some time living there and learning so much. Many more talents coming up!"

Barca midfielder Cesc Fabregas on the opening of the new Masia.

 

Iniesta remains a key figure in coach Pep Guardiola's bid to retain their UEFA Champions League crown. The Spain midfielder scored a superb goal to help inspire his team to a 2-0 win in the competition over Group H rival Plzen this week.

Iniesta played two one-touch one-twos with Lionel Messi and, having got the ball back for the final time, flicked it inside a defender and slid a low finish inside the near post for his goal.

"When that kind of thing works out, it leaves you with a great feeling. I don't think I invented that little piece of skill," he said.

"It was a really quick move, you find yourself in a small space and with a defender ahead of you. I knew the defender would stay on the ground. It was a nice move with two or three one-twos with Messi. I'm very happy about how it turned out, because we scored and it put us on the road to a win".

David Villa got the second goal in the 2-0 win which moved Barca to seven points, level with AC Milan at the top of Group H.



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