Six La Masia gems that didn't reach their potential

There are a lot of players who come through at Barcelona who are tipped to be future stars. In the NBA they have a word for this type of expecatation - 'hype'. 

Exaggerated publicity catapults these players onto the media's radar and excites fans. It puts the youngsters under pressure which can be difficult to live with. 

Here are six players who were brought up at La Masia and had to take detour to find their place in the world of football, even though they'd been marked for success at Barça. 


Some coaches whispered that he was the player they had seen at La Masia most similar to Lionel Messi. Things began to look tough for Gai Assulin, though, when Pep Guardiola didn't call him up for the first team's pre-season in 2009. 

Assulin didn't take it well and arrived late for Barça B training. "Everyone has the same days off and Gai and Emilio are not here - maybe the club know why," said Luis Enrique, who was then Barça B boss.

Remembered for... a devastating start, great flair and dribbling skills akin to Messi.

Career: Barça, Manchester City, Racing, Granada, Hercules, Mallorca, Hapoel Tel Aviv.


Those present at the Mini Estadi in 1998 were usually focused on the No.10 shirt - even though Xavi and Carles Puyol were also on the pitch. 

Mario Rosas was the player that caught the attention. It was easy to spot him from far away due to his distinctive hair cut and his street-style of play. 

Despite catching Louis van Gaal's interest, he never managed to find his place in the first team. He struggled when he wasn't in possession of the ball. 

"He couldn't get used to playing without the ball, the physcial part of the game. I was partly to blame. If I had let him go to a team where he would play more, he could have returned to Barça like others did. But I made a mistake and it was impossible to reverse it." 

Remembered for... playing alongside Puyol, Xavi, Jofre, Luis Garcia, Gabri and Miguel Angel in the B team that achieved promotion at the Bernabeu. "Mario Rosas was the good one," Xavi remembers when asked about that team. 

Career: Barça B, Alaves, Salamanca, Numancia, Cadiz, Girona, Hercules, Castellon, Murcia, Salamanca, Lankaran, Huesca, Hercules, Eldense, Roda.

He's currently coaching Roda's Juvenil B team.


He debuted in the first team against Badalona in December 2006 in the Copa del Rey under Frank Rijkaard. His presence didn't surprise anyone because the name Crosas had been ringing around for years due to his academy form. 

Crosas was a midfielder with Barcelona DNA. He was a No.4 who could pass, but he found opportunities hard to come by, with Iniesta and Xavi blocking his route to regular football. 

Remembered for... his impact on Scottish and Mexican football. Also for his beard and his political standing - he's openly pro-independence.

Career: Barça, Lyon, Celtic, Volga Nizhni Nóvgorod, Club Santos Laguna, Universidad de Guadalajara, Cruz Azul.


His performances at Barça B led to comparisons to Juan Sebastian Veron. His style, his gestures and his head led to the comparison. 

Roberto Trashorras debuted in the first team in 2001, replacing Luis Enrique in a Champions League game. 

On August 30, 2003, though, he left for free and joined Real Madrid Castilla. He never played for Los Blancos' first team.

Remembered for... his performances with Barça B. The midfielder was one of the most-liked players among the fans. 

Career:  Barça, Real Madrid Castilla, Numancia, Las Palmas, Celta and Rayo Vallecano.


He burst onto the scene. Under Louis van Gaal, he became the big promise of the academy. Fernando Macedo da Silva Rodilla, better known as Nano, lived his dream one night against Atletico Madrid in August.

The year was 1999 and he became the youngest player to debut for Barça at 17 years, six months and seven days old. He was tipped for a big future. 

But Nano never found continuity in the first team. "To play at Camp Nou was one of the most wonderful things in my life. It was worth rejecting Arsenal for," he said after the game against Atletico. 

Remembered for... his performance against Atletico when he came on for Rivaldo and the praise he received afterwards. 

Career: Barça, Atletico, Getafe, Cadiz, Racing de Ferrol, Numancia, Osasuna, Alaves, Racing de Ferrol.

La veterania es un grado#LlenemosAMalata#Volvemos#EstoEsFerrol #HabráRevancha


A member of the Messi generation. Victor Vazquez was one of the players who stood out along with Cesc, Messi and Pique. 

Those that were around at that time speak of a player who, along with Messi, was the most decisive. 

His impact in youth football, though, did not translate into elite football. "They were talking about me more than Messi," he remembers now. 

Victor stood out for his skills and his goals. Along with Leo, he formed a terrifying front line. Guardiola spotted his talent and gave him chances, but he never took them. 

Remembered for... control of the ball and his form at La Masia.

Career: Barça, Club Brugge, Cruz Azul


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