Getafe wide man Marc Cucurella has taken a shot at parent club Barcelona ahead of Saturday's La Liga clash, saying the Blaugrana lack patience with their youngsters and don't give them the chances they deserve.
Cucurella spoke to Sport ahead of the anticipated clash, which will see third-placed Getafe try to win their fifth La Liga match in a row. Second-placed Barcelona sit three points behind leaders Real Madrid.
The 21-year-old said Barcelona's emphasis on winning comes at a cost to the academy:
"I think that at Barcelona, which is a big club, the important thing is to win in the end. Maybe they don't have the patience that they had. As a cantera player, which I am, they don't give you the chances you deserve. I don't like it because I expected they would be more confident in the youth academy (cantera). In football the important thing is to win. Winning is more important than having patience."
Cucurella spent half a decade in the Barcelona academy, but he barely played for the senior team. He moved to Eibar on loan in 2018, and the Basques used a clause in the deal to make the switch permanent after a successful season for the full-back and winger.
Barcelona triggered their buyback option less than three weeks after Eibar made the deal permanent, only to loan Cucurella out once again, this time with an option set at €6 million.
Per Sport Witness, they effectively treated Cucurella like a commodity, rather than a prospect:
Getafe are likely to use their option to make this latest loan permanent, but the Blaugrana will maintain a stake in the player: They will be entitled to 40 percent of any future sale.
Barcelona's famed La Masia academy has long been the foundation of the club's success, but it has produced less talent in recent years. Youngsters haven't had many opportunities to make an impact, with promising forwards Abel Ruiz and Carles Perez the latest to try their luck elsewhere in January.
Talented midfielder Carles Alena was sent on loan to Real Betis, and Riqui Puig has yet to make a single La Liga start this season.
Ansu Fati has been a smash hit since making his debut, but Chumi, Alex Collado, Inaki Pena and Ronald Araujo are just a few of his fellow youngsters who are barely featuring for the senior team.
The list of top talents who have left the academy in search of opportunities elsewhere includes star prospects such as Paris Saint-Germain's Xavi Simons and Juventus' Pablo Moreno:
Cucurella may not have the tremendous upside of those prospects, but his play for Eibar and Getafe has been stellar, and his versatility would have been a welcome addition to this year's Blaugrana squad.