Barcelona's first team destroys schemes on and off the pitch. The last couple of games, against Real Madrid and Roma, have shown the potency of a squad built on a mix of big signings and cantera products.
One of the more curious details is that Barcelona have four of five of the best players in the world but none of them belong to one of the five large agencies. An atypical case.
It's not a written rule, but the club have been following it for some time. They want to work in the market without tethers, free of favours and faithful to the agents who have always been in the Blaugrana orbit.
In other words, the antithesis, for example, of Real Madrid. Nothing to do with large agencies or tycoons, like Jorge Mendes, who have a say when it comes to structuring squads, technical bodies and even funding.
Bar a couple of specific agents, such as Orobitg, Pere Guardiola or Ramon Sostres, no agency can boast ties to more than two players who work under the command of Luis Enrique. In contrast to this model, the club has chosen to incorporate players who are mostly linked to advisers or linked to more discreet environments where the family has signficant weight, like Rakitic.
Opting for a model without the big 'sharks' does not mean that a policy of veto is practiced. Not that long ago footballers whose representatives were illustrious magnates joined the club. Mendes, among others, advised Thiago Motta, like how Mino Raiola worked with Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Operations that, for now, have been forgotten.
None of the five major agencies are represented in the best football team of the last decade. These great sporting results have been achieved without the major agencies.
The miracle of the cantera
The cantera model offers two huge advantages. The big signings come slower, with time to plan them without the need to go to the 'sharks'.
The great promise of Barcelona's youth football and a potential future at the club gives agents a certain willingness to prolong the career of their players at the Camp Nou. A philosophy which contrasts with the usual desire to move the players regularly, forcing transfers and juicy commissions.
In recent months, it is true that the arrival of some of these companies and investment funds in the cantera have generated an occasional stir. These are isolated cases that have not spread. The model remains in force and secure. A guarantee of success in the short and medium term.