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SBD Global/January 8, 2013/Media

FC Barcelona Uses Youth Movement To Climb To Top Of Football World

“La Liga club FC Barcelona is arguably the best team in the world,” winning over the last four years 14 out of a possible 19 trophies, which has “never been done before,” according to CBS’ Bob Simon on a segment of Sunday's 60 Minutes. Many experts refer to the club’s youth academy for its success, La Masia, “which recruits boys, often no more than 7-years-old, gives them a rigorous education and teaches them Barça's unique way of playing the game. In some matches this season, all 11 players on the field were graduates of the football academy.” Spanish newspaper El Pais football columnist John Carlin said there are a “lot of serious people in the game who believe that this is the greatest football team that has ever been seen.” Simon said to Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, “Masia has been called a football factory. Is that unkind?” Pique: “I think factory, I don't really like this name. No, because finally we are humans, we are people.” Simon said because of the “Masia system, these days Barça doesn't have to spend a fortune buying good players. Barçabreeds them.”

GOING GLOBAL: Simon said, “Barça has changed from what was once something of a neighborhood club to a global franchise. It boasts the second-highest grossing Nike store in the world and it's worth an estimated $1.3B.” The club is not owned by “some rich mogul” but instead is a “not-for-profit owned by the club's members, 170,000 of them, each one with a vote.” Simon asked FC Barcelona President Sandro Rosell, “The slogan is, ‘More than a club.’ What does it mean?” Rosell: “It's a feeling. It's part of our lives. It's within our heart. It's something that is part of your culture and that's the reason it's more than a club.”

MORE THAN A CLUB: The club “means so much more” to its fans because it is an “affirmation of who they are, Catalans.” Barcelona is the capital of the Spanish region of Catalonia and “many here want to secede from Spain and form their own state. The Barça players are their soldiers.” Rosell: “What this club represents to us, it represents to be part of a country called Catalonia.” Simon noted, “Over the last few months Barça fans have been acting like they're at a political rally. During every match the stadium erupts with cries for independence.” More Simon: “The politics may be particular to a piece of Southern Europe. The football belongs to the world” (“60 Minutes,” CBS, 1/6).
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