Pitchside Europe

Barcelona field entirely homegrown team

Barcelona's fabled La Masia academy scored another triumph on Sunday when the Liga giants fielded an entirely homegrown team during their 4-0 Liga victory against Levante.

History was made in the 14th minute when coach Tito Vilanova sent on Martin Montoya to replace the injured Dani Alves - completing a team full of La Masia products for the first time in the modern era.

Not even Vilanova's predecessor Pep Guardiola managed the feat, fielding a maximum of nine homegrown players at any time.

Brazilian substitute Adriano Correia broke the monopoly in the 75th minute, by which time Barca were four goals to the good.

Although every player was an academy product, that's not to say all were born within a stepover or two of the Camp Nou.

Lionel Messi hails, of course, from Argentina but moved to Barcelona aged 12. Pedro Rodriguez is from Tenerife, while Andres Iniesta's childhood home of Fuentealbilla is closer to Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu stadium than to Barcelona.

And three of last night's players flew the nest - costing Barca a fortune to re-sign them.

Gerard Pique (Manchester United), Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal) and Jordi Alba (Valencia) all spent time away from Barcelona, who paid a combined £40 million to bring them back under their wing.

Nevertheless, it is a remarkable feat in an increasingly cosmopolitan game. By contrast, the Chelsea team that played Manchester City on Sunday contained just one Englishman (Ashley Cole) and no products of the club's youth academy.