Xavi Praises La Masia Graduates As Barca Beats PSG In The UCL

April 11, 2024

Xavi Hernandez, the manager of Barcelona, said that he was “proud” of the La Masia players who contributed significantly to the first leg of their quarterfinal matchup with Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League. Teens Pau Cubarsi and Lamine Yamal both got off to a good start in the match at the Parc des Princes, helping the Catalans come back from behind to win 3-2.

After two La Masia players shone as the Catalans overcame a deficit to defeat Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal, Xavi Hernandez heralded the beginning of “a new Barca.”

In a match that was crucial to both teams, 16-year-old winger Lamine Yamal and 17-year-old center back Pau Cubarsi were selected to start at the Parc des Princes and seized the opportunity to make an impression.

In the 37th minute, Yamal’s clever outswinging ball into the box set up Raphinha’s first goal. Cubarsi, making only his second appearance in Europe’s top club competition, handled danger at the other end of the field with skill.
Given that Pedri, 21, and Fermin Lopez, 20, are coming off the bench, it makes sense why Xavi, who will go at the end of the season, is feeling so positive about the future.

“We have to be proud,” Xavi told TNT Sports. “With Cubarsi, 17, Lamine, 16, Fermin is a player from La Masia also and they have more commitment with the team, so I’m very happy because it’s a new Barca and we are in a good way I think.”

Raphinha’s well-taken first goal gave Barcelona the lead at the half, but two goals in three minutes just after the break stunned them.
Before Vitinha turned the tide of the match in the 51st minute by squeezing past Marc-Andre ter Stegen, former star Ousmane Dembele tied the score with a spectacular goal to bring PSG level.

However, Barcelona’s replacements turned the tide back in their favor.
In the 61st minute of play, Pedri made his debut by superbly setting up Raphinha with one of his first touches of the match. Then, Andreas Christensen headed past Gianluigi Donnarumma to give Barcelona a narrow lead heading into the second leg at Camp Nou next week.

“It’s a big win of course, playing away in the Champions League,” Xavi added. “We did really well in defence and attack but especially in defence. Everybody worked for the team and tactically we did really well.

“The wingers helped us a lot. Cubarsi jumped so well, first against Kang-In Lee, sometimes to Asensio because they changed a lot of players.

“We defended so well against [Kylian] Mbappe with Jules Kounde and Ronald Araujo and we created many chances.

“I think Robert [Lewandowski] made a difference, Raphinha, and then the players that came inside really helped us a lot, especially Pedri.

“I’m very happy and very proud of the team. It’s just a small advantage but it’s a big win.”