‘Barca can’t boast about academy’

Iker Casillas has commented that Barcelona’s use of homegrown talent should not be boasted about, whilst he has backed Real Madrid’s academy.

Debate this season has centred on the two clubs’ different strategies in using their academies, with Barcelona recently fielding a team of 11 players to have developed in their youth system whilst Coach Jose Mourinho has been criticised for his reluctance in picking players from Madrid’s youth system.

For Casillas, the situation is reflective of a cycle in the game and not necessarily reflective of history for either club.

“Well, there’s this whole thing about Barcelona playing 11 players from their academy, but I remember 11 or 12 years ago when they played with 11 foreigners,” commented the Madrid captain in the second part of his interview with La Sexta published today.

“These things come in cycles, and they cannot be showing off now that they have 11 homegrown players. The slogan they put out now communicates that, but years ago there were hardly any homegrown players, when Puyol and Xavi started.

“At Madrid of course I would like see more from the club come through, but Madrid is an important club that wants the best players in the world and sometimes the best have to come from abroad.

“The Real Madrid academy is impressive. It has provided great players around Spain and worldwide. We have nothing to envy other academies about.”

Casillas was asked for comment on whether he believes clubs should take an active involvement in politics. Barcelona have sparked this debate in recent weeks with their support of Catalan independence.

 “I like the club where it is. It is universal and transversal. We respect and understand the ideologies around the globe and that has greatness.

“The players would do wrong to mix sports with politics too, as any phrase of our can be taken out of context and may become national debate nowadays with social networking. It is better to be away from these issues.”

The ‘keeper, who discussed the European Cup and potential retirement away from Los Blancos in part one of his interview, concluded with a thought on the ongoing financial crisis to have hit Spain.

“Of course we talk about the crisis in the dressing room. Being a player that people recognise on the television does not mean we are disconnected. Iker Casillas has friends, family and people that he knows who are suffering.”

Tags Casillas