Over the weekend, CBS profiled FC Barcelona and its famous La Masia academy on the network’s popular news show “60 Minutes.” The wide-ranging report showcased La Masia as the underpinning of Barca’s recent success, which has seen the Catalan club win 14 of the last 19 competitions it has entered over the last four years. Veteran journalist Bob Simon conducted several interviews with La Masia products and current first-team stars Cesc Fabregas, Gerard Pique and of course, four-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi.
He also talked to current PresidentSandro Rosell about the significance of the club to the people of Catalonia. Rosell explained that the club’s slogan “More than a club” refers to the region’s struggle for independence from Spain. “We’re part of a country called Catalonia,” the Barca President said. Simon, who narrated the report, explained that in the struggle for independence “Barcelona players are the soldiers of Catalonia.”
To be sure, the “60 Minutes” report, which you can find here, was intended for the general public, not a soccer savvy audience. Even so, USSoccerPlayers’ “Corner” takes issue with the way in which La Masia is put on a pedestal. “Barca didn’t develop the academy system and there’s a good argument that they haven’t perfected it,” the column says. “We’re soccer people, we know that. The general audience might not.” Other issues: “No one mentioned what happens to kids who don’t make it through the Barcelona academy system,” and “There wasn’t even a brief on Barcelona’s business in the United States or that American youth players are attending La Masia.”