The AEGON Future Cup will be held again, for the fourth year in a row, at the Toekomst sports park during Easter weekend this year. In four reports, Ajax.nl will present the tournament participants. In this edition: FC Barcelona and Benfica.
This marks the third time that the Barcelona u/17 players are participating in the Easter tournament in Amsterdam. They also took part in 2010 and 2012, when the Spaniards finished in seventh and third place, respectively. Barcelona thus hasn’t reached great levels at the AEGON Future Cup, but it goes without saying that the top club has a much respected youth academy. From that academy, where the so-called tiki-taka football method is taught, have come several world-famous players who still play for the flagship Barça team. Players such as keeper Victor Valdés, Xavi Hernández, Andres Iniesta and, last but certainly not least, Lionel Messi, who moved from Argentina to the east coast of Spain as a teenager.
Johan Cruijff’s son Jordi was also part of the Barcelona youth academy for years. He later made his debut in the Catalan club’s first team. That wasn’t the case for his nephew, Joshua Angoy Cruijff, who was still the centre of attention during the 2010 AEGON Future Cup. Joshua Angoy is no longer with the club, having moved to Wigan Athletic in England, where he currently plays. But even without a Cruijff offspring, Juvenil B, as Barcelona’s under 17 team is officially called, counts enough admirable players in its arsenal.
Just like Tottenham Hotspur, Sao Paolo and FC Toronto, the Portuguese team Benfica is also new to the AEGON Future Cup. It remains to be seen how strong its under 17 team is, but the Lisbon based club definitely has an eye for talent. The proof of this is the millions of euros that Benfica has earned in the past few years by selling players. Angel di Maria and Fabio Coentrào left for Real Madrid for the sum of thirty million euro, while David Ruis and Ramires were sold to Chelsea for similar sums.