The €8m glass structure, which is already home to 72 youth players, was unveiled in July 2011 to replace La Masia de Can Planes, the 18th Century farmhouse that had been home to the club’s aspiring youngsters since 1979. The inauguration was timed to coincide with the 32nd anniversary of the original Masia.
President of Catalonia Artur Mas and club President Sandro Rosell led the inauguration before an audience of former Barca dignitaries, players and fans as well as past and present La Masia residents. Coach Pep Guardiola and his first team squad also looked on as the ceremony, which featured spectacular audiovisual projections, musical performances and fireworks, was broadcast live on the internet.
11 of the current Barca squad, including Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi, are products of the world renowned academy, while 20-year-old Isaac Cuenca became the 18th La Masia debutante under Guardiola’s stewardship during Barca’s Champions League win over Viktoria Plzen. Iniesta, who took part in the inauguration, said: “It’s an emotional day. There’s a real change between the old and new Masia, you can see how things have changed and I’m thrilled to be a part of the first team and to be here for the opening.”
VIPs were given a guided tour of the new facility by its director, Carles Folguera, who explained how the spirit of the historic farmhouse had been transferred to a modern and functional centre of excellence, where the residents study, spend their free time and are shaped as players and as people.
“I will continue enjoying this excellence because there is a pool of very good players and coaches here. The new Masia is the continuation of a project that is a source of pride for all Catalans,” Folguera told Marca.
The Oriol Tort Training Centre is the most recent addition to the existing facilities at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper, which was opened in 2006 and has been the Barca first team’s training base since 2009. Featuring five grass and four artificial pitches, the extensive complex also boasts gymnasiums, medical and Press facilities, changing rooms and a pool and sauna area.
At 6,000 square metres, the new Masia is 10 times bigger than the old one and can house up to 82 students. All the bedrooms have en-suite bathrooms and wi-fi access and some can be adapted to accommodate injured players and even wheelchairs.
The ground floor contains administrative offices and a kitchen and dining hall. A games room and lounge features video games, bar football tables and a giant screen for watching matches and there is space for the players to meet with their families. In addition to classrooms, the centre also features study facilities where players can focus on their schoolwork, and where Coaches and technical staff can give talks to players.
As well as catering for the young players, two floors at the new centre are specifically equipped to provide separate training camp facilities for senior teams, with single rooms, a gymnasium, water area and massage parlour, dining rooms and audiovisual equipment.