The Man Who Made Barca

Paul Grech Wednesday, November 27, 2013 , ,
In hindsight, it has to rank as one of worst decision in the history football.  When San Lorenzo dithered about paying for the treatment that a kid by the name of Leo Messi needed, they were letting slip through their hands a boy who would go on to become one of the finest players in the history of the game.

That story is fairly well known but there was also a time when Messi wouldn’t have found an opportunity at Barcelona either.  Not because of the expense involved in the treatment that he needed but because he wasn’t as tall as they expected players to be.

Johann Cruyff is often credited as the man who set up the youth focused philosophy at Barcelona but, in truth, he was building on what was already there.  In fact, the man who began it all was Laureano Ruiz and one of the changes that he put in place was the abolishment of a policy where only players of a certain height were considered.

“When I arrived at Barça there was a sign on door of the coaches’ offices that said "if you come with a youth who is shorter than 1.80 meters, turn around!" he recalls.  “This obsession with height wasn’t limited to one club but it was a general view.  If they’d been born earlier none of Messi , Xavi or Iniesta would have made it to the first team.”

Full article can be read on Blueprint for Football.
Copyright 2010 Paul Grech: Writer