Messi pays glowing tribute to Barcelona youth system
The 26-year-old, who has four Ballon d'Or awards, is into his 10th season as a first teamer at the Nou Camp having joined the youth set-up in 2000.
"Barcelona have given me everything. I was educated with the values of La Masia and I am what I am, thanks to these values from the academy," he told Barca TV.
Messi's two older brothers, Rodrigo and Matias, failed to make the grade in Spain, but Messi remained determined to succeed despite them returning home.
"My brothers went back to Argentina but I always wanted to stay in Barcelona to fulfil my dream of playing for the first team," he said.
"I was delighted when Barça called me. I was unable to play for six months, as my transfer hadn't come through and when I could get to play, I was injured on my debut. It was a complicated time.
"It's an example to everyone when you see so many players from our youth system in the first team. We're always delighted to see players coming to train with us.
"We want them to enjoy themselves, because that's what this sport is all about."
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