Barcelona had no academy players in starting XI against Celta as starlets plot exit

19 April

On 6 April 2002 against Athletic Bilbao, Barcelona failed to field even one academy graduate in their first team. After 16 years, Ernesto Valverde broke that record in his side’s 2-2 draw against Celta Vigo on 18 April.

The Catalan club’s starting lineup was Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Nelson Semedo, Yerry Mina, Thomas Vermaelen, Lucas Digne, Paulinho, Andre Gomes, Ousmane Dembele, Denis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho and Paco Alcacer.

Lionel Messi and Sergi Roberto were on the bench against Celta, meaning the former Bilbao coach ended the 16 year streak on Wednesday. The 11 players who started against Bilbao in 2002 clash are mentioned below.

Roberto Bonano, Michael Reiziger, Philippe Christanval, Abelardo, Franceso Coco, Fabio Rochemback, Phillip Cocu, Luis Enrique, Rivaldo, Javier Saviola and Marc Overmars.

Valverde’s decision to not include a player graduated from Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy may not go down well with their fans, especially after they were eliminated from the Champions League by AS Roma.

Barcelona have seen several young prospects leave their academy and move elsewhere. Adrià Bernabé and Sergio Gomez joined Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund respectively, while Eric Garcia and Jordi Mboula have followed them out of the club. Another academy graduate Abel Ruiz could also be on his way out, who is attracting interest from Juventus.

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