Barcelona pick team without La Masia graduate for first time in 16 years

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Mike Hewitt
The Catalan side were maybe preoccupied with their looming Copa del Rey final against Sevilla and rotated their team against Celta Vigo

Barcelona's starting line-up against Celta Vigo contained something of a shock, as it did not feature a single graduate from the club's famed La Masia academy.

The two sides played out a 2-2 draw in La Liga on Tuesday, with Ousmane Dembele and Paco Alcacer both on the scoresheet for the Catalan side.

Coach Ernesto Valverde potentially had one eye on this weekend's Copa del Rey final against Sevilla, and so rotated his squad, leaving out the likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique.

So, for the first time in 16 years, Barca's side did not feature a single academy graduate, with the likes of big-money signings Dembele, Philippe Coutinho and Paulinho instead preferred.

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The last time such an event occurred was in 2002, when Barca defeated Athletic Bilbao 2-0 in 2002 with an XI featuring Rivaldo, Luis Enrique, Marc Overmars and Javier Saviola.

Barcelona have enjoyed a successful season so far, and sit 12 points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid, with their Copa del Rey final date looming. 

The Catalan giants, however, were eliminated from the Champions League by Roma, surrendering a 4-1 lead by losing the second leg in Italy 3-0.

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