Most professional football teams and clubs have a B team or team 2 which is comprised of players under a contract with the club. FC Barcelona also has their team B, commonly known as Barca B.
Regardless of whether you are a fan of Barcelona or not, you may have wondered how Barca B contributes to the team and also how they fit into the Spanish league system.
Here’s what you need to know.
What is the difference between Barcelona B and Barcelona?
The FC Barcelona B team, also referred to as Barca B, is the club’s reserve team comprised of players under a contract with the club who typically don’t play in the main team in the first-tier leagues. Barca B competes in the Primera Federacion- Group 2, the third-tier league of the Spanish League system.
In Spain, the reserve teams play in the same league system as the senior team instead of playing in a reserve team league, although they must play at least one level below the main squad and they are not eligible to play in the Copa del Rey.
Barca B serves as a stepping stone for all players on the club’s lower levels, including the youth squad. The B team players develop, gain the necessary experience, and establish a good reputation for themselves before being called up to the main squad. Barca B is distinct from the youth team as it can host players of all age groups, while the youth team is comprised of under-19 players who compete in the Group 3 of the Division de Honor Juvenil de Futbol.
Johan Cruyff Stadium is the home venue for Barcelona B, whereas Camp Nou is the venue for FC Barcelona’s home games.
History of Barcelona B
Barcelona B started off as Espanya Industrial and later on became the reserve team for FC Barcelona in 1943. Espanya Industrial quickly advanced to the Segunda Division after earning a promotion to Tercera Division. It became independent of FC Barcelona and changed its name to CD Condal after winning the promotion play-off in 1956, enabling it to compete in La Liga for the 1956–1957 season.
In 1968, CD Condal re-joined FC Barcelona family and further merged with another junior club Atletic Catalunya forming Barcelona Atletic. The team participated in a total of 10 seasons at the second level before relocating to Segunda Division B in 1988–89. Eventually, the team was renamed Barcelona B in 1990.
Can Barcelona B players play for Barcelona?
Barcelona B players are eligible to play for the first team of Barcelona. The Barcelona reserve team, or Barca B, acts as a link between the top team and lower divisions. Barca B is the home to the brightest talents of La Masia, Barcelona’s youth academy.
Players would rise through the ranks of the academy and establish themselves in the B team before being called up to the first squad.
The Spanish Football Association has granted exceptional freedom to teams like FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, allowing them to transfer players from their B teams at any time during the season, even after the transfer window has closed.
The B team players’ skills and sharpness determine whether they are eligible for promotion to the main squad since they have accumulated enough experience and training to be prepared for some main team action. However, significant injuries to the first squad may also prompt the call-up of outstanding players from the B team.
Notable Barcelona B Players
Over the years, Barcelona has consistently seen many significant players switch from the B team to the main team. The importance of Barcelona’s skill-based hierarchy is demonstrated by the emergence of world-class players from lower levels like Barcelona C and Barcelona B.
Here are three of the most prominent players who emerged from Barca B and joined the first team.
#1 Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi today is widely regarded as one of the greatest football players to ever live. Messi, like many other Barcelona legends, started his career with Barcelona in the La Masia and has over 21 years of senior team experience with the club.
From 2004 to 2005, Messi competed for Barca B, where he earned the recognition of football superstars like Ronaldinho, smoothing the way for his promotion to the first squad. Lionel Messi signed his first contract as a senior team member on his 18th birthday and the rest has been history ever since.
In addition to his seven Ballon d’Or titles, six European Golden Shoes, and Olympic Gold Medal, Lionel Messi also holds other prolific records, including the most La Liga goals and the most goals in a single La Liga and European League season.
#2 Xavi Hernandez
Xavi Hernandez, a former player and the current manager of FC Barcelona is considered as one of the best midfielders of all time.
Hernandez was also a prospect of Barcelona’s La Masia, which he enrolled in when he was 11 years old. Xavi climbed his way through the youth and reserve teams and was an eminent member of the Barcelona B team that won promotion to the Segunda Division.
His development through Barcelona earned him a first-team debut in 1998 in the Copa Catalunya.
Xavi won four UEFA Champions League titles and eight La Liga titles while playing for Barcelona. In 2015, he finished second to Messi for the UEFA Best Player in Europe award. One of the few players with over 1000 verified professional appearances is Xavi Hernandez.
#3 Andres Iniesta
Andres Iniesta, one of the greatest midfielders in history and currently the captain of Vissel Kobe, spent the majority of his career at Barcelona, where he captained the team for three seasons.
Similar to the other Barcelona giants mentioned above, Andres Iniesta also started his professional career in La Masia, after migrating from his birthplace of Fuentealbilla. Iniesta led the Barcelona under-15 team to victory in the Nike Premier Cup in 1999 after entering La Masia.
He worked his way up to making appearances for Barcelona B, earning praise from renowned Pep Guardiola at a young age. Iniesta made his first-team debut in 2002 at the age of 18, and from the 2004–05 season until 2018, he was a regular.
Andres Iniesta was a crucial part of Barcelona and currently possesses four UEFA Championship titles in addition to nine La Liga titles, making him the most decorated player in Spanish football history.
The B teams serve as an essential foundation for the clubs to produce top-notch football. Similarly, Barcelona B has given FC Barcelona a number of outstanding players who have helped Barcelona become one of the best football clubs in history.
Compared to youth teams at Premier League clubs, Barcelona B team gives La Masia talents the opportunity to compete against older, more seasoned players, which helps them get ready for what’s to come once they join the main squad.
You can find out whether ‘B’ teams like Barcelona B get promoted in this article here.
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