Xavi: La Masia got complacent

Team of the Week – Matchday 12

Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi has accused the club's youth system of resting on their laurels in recent years after a lack of Academy graduates developing into first-team players.

The former Spain international, now 37 and playing for Qatari side Al Sadd, came through the ranks along with other current and former stars, but the flow of players from La Masia to the first team has dried up in recent years.

"I think, in general, Barca became a bit complacent," Xavi told The Tactical Room. "I'm sure people thought: 'There's Puyol, Iniesta, [Lionel] Messi, [Victor] Valdes, [Gerard] Pique … Pedro and [Sergio] Busquets are coming though. This is all going well. Surely every two years or so more players will come through, too.'

"But it's not like that, that's not how things work. I learned to play in La Masia, not in the first team. The academy coaches have to develop players, they have to teach.

"Winning the [youth] league doesn't matter. You have to form players at that age. If you win, good, but it's not the objective."

Barcelona B recently won promotion back to the second tier of Spanish football, which should, in theory, make the leap between the club's first and second teams less daunting, but Xavi is convinced.

"I'm glad for them but it's not essential," he added. "Guardiola took over the B team in the fourth division and took Busquets and Pedro into the first team — Jeffren, Victor Sanchez and Bojan, too.

"The B team being in the second or third division doesn't matter. The main point is to develop players for a certain style of play. That's the priority.

"The first question is: How many players have the ability to play for the first team? Right now, the answer's not positive.

"The B team's objective is to have six, eight, even 10 players with the potential to go straight into the first team. Not two or three.

"The first team coach needs to rely on the full-back or the midfielder if players get injured. That's why there's an academy. And, in general, I think Barcelona have fallen asleep in that regard."