Football school where Messi honed his skills is now in India

New Delhi: FCBescola, the school that taught the likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas the basics of football, will kick-start in India in April 2013, it was announced here on Wednesday.

Having organised clinics almost all over India under the supervision of Antonio Claveria, Technical Director - FCBEscola India, FC Barcelona and Conscient Football will now start their "most ambitious project" as the Catalan club termed it, with a capacity to train a total of 300 kids in the age group of 6-16 years.

"India is our most ambitious project, given the growing interest of football in the country. We have seen great talent while conducting FCB camps across the country. The Escola will certainly bring the much required impetus to grassroots training in India," Claveria said here today.

This is to ensure that aspiring Indian footballers get to train the Barca way within the next few months.

The Escola (school) will operate out of two centres, with The Heritage School, Gurgaon as the main centre and IOS Maidan, Centre of Sports Excellence at Shivaji College, Delhi as a satellite centre.

India will be just the seventh country outside Barcelona to have a permanent Escola.

FCBEscola is the official football school of Barcelona. The school operates with an intensive program that runs year round, in which the players train twice a week and play matches once every week.

Once a player is selected to the Escola he can graduate to the next year based on performance and hence goes through a continuous development program under the watchful eyes of Escola coaches.

Escola prepares players for the rigours of professional football and is a major feeder school to the club`s world class academy La Masia.

Barcelona boasts of some of the top names in world football who have come through their own youth development programs like the Escola and La Masia.

Some of the world`s best players like Messi, Fabregas, Xavi Hernandez, Pep Guardiola, Gerard Pique, Victor Valdes, Carlos Puyol and Iniesta are only a few of the illustrious names that have graduated from this system.

The academy, which is meant for serious footballers, will be headed by Claveria.

With the Escola, FC Barcelona aims to provide sustained world-class grassroots training to aspiring footballers and help India build the foundation for better performance at global level.

Under the system, the precocious talent will be tapped at a young age and will be placed under the same model that players like Messi, Iniesta and Xavi followed.

Scolarships will be provided to the 15 most talented kids from the economically weaker sections, said Anupama Jain, Director, Conscient Football.

"We will finally have a world-class football training school where our kids will have an opportunity to learn from the best club in the world year round. We intend to open more such schools in other states of the country in the next few years," Jain said.

Apart from Claveria, there will be a coach from Barcelona to train the kids.

"The idea is also to develop our coaches. Our coaches have been trained by Barcelona coaches, and have already organised seven camps," Jain said.


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