La Masia graduate Bojan Krkic
FC Barcelona is known around the world for developing some of football’s top performers, and their academy, La Masia, is regarded as possibly the best on the planet.
However, it is understandable that some players just do not make the cut. But that is not always a worry, as leaving the Catalan club sometimes provides the best chance to earn one’s place in the first team.
Gerard Pique, Cesc Fabregas and Jordi Alba all left Barcelona at a young age only to return after becoming a few of the game’s most impressive players. So the question must be asked, what other former Barcelona players could return to the club?
In this article we will take a look at some of the players who no longer wear the Blaugrana shirt but may do so again one day.
We will begin our list with the two players most likely to return to the club. Mainly because both La Masia stars left on loan this summer with the sole purpose of returning next year as more developed footballers.
Both have been two of the most impressive players to recently graduate from La Masia and could have fought for their place in Barcelona’s lineup. However, the club deemed it necessary for them to spend a year abroad to further develop their abilities.
Expect both Rafinha and Deulofeu to be wearing the Blaugrana shirt next season. They left only to return better, and that is exactly what they will do.
Alberto Botia could also find his way back to Barcelona, and it is somewhat odd that he hasn’t already. The Spanish center-back joined the club’s young academy in 2003 but only made one appearance for the first team.
Because of his recent success it was quite shocking to see Sevilla loan Botia to newly promoted Spanish club Elche. But the loan move could show his availability should Barcelona want to bring back the former La Masia star.
Botia is a tall and strong defender who rarely makes mistakes and is more than capable of defending set pieces. With Barcelona’s need for a center-back, many may wonder why the club has not enquired about bringing the 24-year-old back to the club.
It is a wonder to many why Bojan Krkic is still a Barcelona player. The Catalan striker has been out on loan since 2011 and has yet to earn his way back to his boyhood club.
Most recently, Bojan joined Dutch giants Ajax on yet another season-long loan.
Though he's only 22 years old, it seems Bojan has been gone forever. It is very unlikely that he will ever be able to earn his way back to the club, but judging by the fact that he has not yet tried to leave the club completely, he apparently thinks it is still possible.
Marc Muniesa is another defender who will could possibly return to Barcelona. But the problem is that he never should have left.
The Catalan center-back was, with Marc Bartra, one of the most dominant defenders to graduate from La Masia in recent years. Muniesa was finally promoted to the first-team last season, but a tragic ACL tear ended his year before it could even begin.
This summer, Barcelona chose not to renew Muniesa’s contract, and the 21-year-old officially signed with Stoke City to the surprise of many.
Before his injury, Muniesa was arguably the best defensive prospect at Barcelona. If he can recover the form he once showed, you can expect that his former club will notice.
La Masia has been creating a wonderful crop of wingers over the last few years, but not many strikers. However, 16-year-old Sergi Canos could be the best striker to come out of the Barcelona system in years.
Canos has already been a star for Spain’s U-16 squad and could be the future of Catalonia’s attack. The only problem is that he is no longer with the club.
Earlier this summer, Canos left Barcelona to sign a professional contract with Liverpool where he may get the chance to face tougher competition. But the loss of Canos was surely a shock to those at La Masia.
The 16-year-old may follow the same path as Cesc Fabregas or Jordi Alba and return after several years. He has the talent to be a star, and hopefully he will be just that at his boyhood club one day.
Yet another La Masia star that left Barcelona this summer is midfielder Josimar Quintero. The Ecuadorian recently joined Chelsea and should become a star very quickly.
Barcelona is already very deep at the midfield position. But in several years the club may be in need of more depth and could turn to Quintero, who has the potential to become one of the best players in the world at his position.
Could Julio Pleguezuelo become the next Cesc Fabregas? Absolutely. The 16-year-old defender recently joined Arsenal and could immediately have a big impact at the club.
The former La Masia defender was possibly the closest thing to Carles Puyol that the club has seen since the captain himself. Pleguezuelo has the talent to back up his hype and is destined for great things.
By the time Pleguezuelo is ready to lead a defense, Gerard Pique could be in the final years of his career. The Catalan defender may be the most likely player to return to Barcelona on this list, and fans sure hope that he will someday.
Will any of these stars return to Barcelona? If so, who? Should anyone else be on this list? Leave your thoughts and comments below.
Tre’ Atkinson. Follow me on Twitter for more discussions on Barcelona and all Spanish football.