Barcelona discover secret of eternal youth
Wednesday, 7 December 2011
The strength of FC Barcelona's youth system was there for all to see in the 4-0 defeat of FC BATE Borisov with first-team veteran Pedro Rodríguez talking up a "continuous flow of great talent".
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The quality of the young FC Barcelona players who beat Belarusian champions FC BATE Borisov 4-0 at Camp Nou are testament to the club's youth academy training, with the colts justifying coach Josep Guardiola's faith in a comprehensive UEFA Champions League success.
Isaac Cuenca, Barcelona forward
The coach told us to go out and demonstrate lots of attitude; to play calmly but also to produce the Barça brand of football. I think we achieved that. I have played with some of the first team guys since the summer which includes pre-season training and some Liga matches since then. However, I have trained with some of the others who were chosen tonight for many years. You could see the confidence we had in each other. Perhaps, at first, I was a touch nervous despite what the coach asked of us but the confidence flooded in with each passing minute. I finished the match pretty content with how I performed.
Martín Montoya, Barcelona defender
I suppose it feels like Christmas has come early: making my debut in the Champions League and then marking it by scoring a goal, which as a full-back does not happen often. I am very happy and proud of the team. The boss gives us a lot of freedom to choose when to overlap down the wing. In fact he has told me to race forward whenever I want, but to choose those moments intelligently.
Pedro Rodríguez, Barcelona forward
If the coach playing so many young lads makes me a veteran, that is fine because it signifies that I have been in the first team for a long time. I am also pleased for the guys who have come through the youth system because they put a lot into the display and produced great football. We have done well in a match which was not easy.
That we can leave out so many UEFA Champions League winners and still beat BATE 4-0 is an indication that the youth system here is functioning very well. There is a continuous flow of great talent. We all feel privileged to see it happening this way. The young players come through and learn from the senior guys in the first team. We feel very proud of how well they come through, the attitude they demonstrate and how well prepared they are by our youth coaches.
Isaac [Cuenca] is a great player who gave a tremendous display today. He can go outside his man, cut inside, possesses great quality and when he reaches the penalty area he shows a calm head. Anything I can do to help him continue to grow as he is doing at the moment I will.
It was a good first goal I scored but above all I was pleased that it helped the team and made the result more secure. Naturally it was a boost for my confidence, after missing a few games, to continue improving my form - especially with an important match in Madrid this weekend.
Renan Bressan, BATE midfielder
We thought Barcelona's reserve players would be top-class, but this was something else. By the end, I did not feel there was much difference between this side and the first team. We honestly thought we would be able to compete with them, but they were much better than we expected. If this is what lies ahead for the first team - these young players, this academy - then Barcelona will be top of the world for the next ten years. As for us, we just had a poor match.
Aleksandr Volodko, BATE midfielder
Nothing went for us, but we were up against Barcelona, not just any old team. Even their reserves are fantastic. We thought the players would be of a lesser quality and that the structure of their game would be different, but it wasn't; they were top-class, even with this fresher lineup.