Football: He preaches the La Masia way

Football: He preaches the La Masia way

Few would have thought it possible, but there is actually a path to the famed FC Barcelona academy of La Masia in Singapore for young footballers of exceptional talent.

Based on the system adopted by the Spanish giants that have produced such delicious talents like Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, FCBEscola (FCBE) set up shop in Singapore last September, and the school's technical director, Carles Martin, has been instructed to keep his eyes peeled for prodigious youngsters.

"That is my job: if I see someone with very good skills - exceptional - I must fill the report and immediately send it back to Barcelona," Martin (right) told The New Paper. "It's not easy to explain what it is we are looking for, but having been coaching for 12 years, it's easy to see.

"The club don't like to contract players (who are too young) and prefer to get players living in Spain. Maybe not now, but perhaps in the future I will be writing this report."

FCBE works with children aged between six and 12 years and next week, Martin will travel with 24 boys from the school here to compete in the third edition of the annual FCBEscola International Tournament in Barcelona.

Like so many youngsters around the world, he dreamed of being a professional footballer.

But a serious knee injury cruelly ended his chance.

Today, the Catalan - he joined Barcelona as international coordinator for FCBEscola in Spain - is working hard to try and help others realise their dream.

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