Ansu Fati Joins List of La Masia Graduates Who Flopped As De Zerbi Criticizes Barcelona Star

Ansu Fati Joins List of La Masia Graduates Who Flopped As De Zerbi Criticizes Barcelona Star

Elijah Odetokun
April 3, 2024 at 10:34 AM
In this article:
Ansu Fati logo
A. Fati
FC Barcelona logoFSpain logo
R. D. Zerbi
-MItaly logo
Brighton Hove Albion logo
Brighton Hove Albion
FC Barcelona logo
FC Barcelona
Giovani Dos Santos logo
G. D. Santos
Club America logoFMexico logo
Riqui Puig logo
R. Puig
Los Angeles Galaxy logoMSpain logo
Bojan Krkić logo
B. Krkić
Vissel Kobe logoFSpain logo
Carles Aleñá logo
C. Aleñá
Getafe logoMSpain logo
  • Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi has criticised Ansu Fati’s performances
  • The Barcelona star is on loan in England to get his career back on track
  • Fati joins a list of La Masia graduates who fell off after an initial hype

Barcelona’s academy, La Masia, is widely regarded as the best in the world and has produced several stars, including Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez.

As much as they have produced stars, they have players whose stardom stayed within their youth days and massively fell off despite the promises shown.

Roberto De Zerbi, Ansu Fati, FA Cup, Brighton, Wolves, Molineux Stadium.
Roberto De Zerbi is critical of Ansu Fati's performances on loan at Brighton and Hove Albion. Photo by Chris Brunskill.
Source: Getty Images

Sports Brief looks at five Barca academy stars who flopped despite their potential.

La Masia graduates who flopped

1. Ansu Tati

Ansu Fati broke into the first team as a teenager in 2019 and was seen as the heir apparent to Messi, but a series of injuries, including a meniscus tear in his knee in 2020, derailed his career.

At the start of the 2023/24 season, he was loaned to Premier League club Brighton to kickstart his career. Per Football Espana, Roberto De Zerbi is unimpressed and publicly said the 21-year-old needs to do more.

2. Bojan Krkic

Bojan was one of the many footballers hailed as the next Messi due to similarities with the Ballon d'Or winner, and he is the fourth cousin of the Argentine. His career tailed off when he left the club for AS Roma in 2013. After playing for eight clubs in 10 years, he returned to Camp Nou to announce his retirement.

3. Riqui Puig

Puig shares similarities in style of play with Iniesta and made his debut after the departure of the midfield maestro. However, he struggled with game time under four managers. Xavi sanctioned his sale to the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2022, where he plays till date. Per an official statement, the club retains the right to repurchase and also have a 50% sell-on clause.

4. Carles Alena

The midfielder was touted as the next Xavi after he broke into the first team, but like many others seen in the mould of Barcelona legends, it did not work for him. He left the club to join Getafe in 2021 after two loans, including at Real Betis.

5. Giovani dos Santos

Dos Santos is another academy graduate who is likened to a club legend. The Mexican forward was dubbed the next Ronaldinho. He left the Catalan club after just a season and joined Tottenham Hotspur. He has played for eight clubs since then. He last played for Club America in 2021.

Five next 'Messis' who flopped

Sports Brief previously analysed five players called the next Messi but flopped and failed to have a career that justified their potential and comparison.

Bojan tops the list as he had a direct family relationship with Messi and was in the first team alongside the 2022 World Cup winner, all of which never helped him.

Elijah Odetokun photo
Elijah Odetokun
Elijah Odetokun is Reuters-trained journalist with three years of experience having previously worked at Daily Times Nigeria, OmaSports and El Futbolero.