Barcelona Youth Carries Xavi's Men Into Champions League quarterfinals After Win Over Napoli

Barça defeated Napoli 3-1 in the Champions League opening leg to advance 4-2 on aggregate and into the round of eight. With Fermin Lopez and Joao Cancelo's goals, Xavi Hernandez's unusual formation held off Napoli's chase of Andreas Christensen in defensive midfield.

 Pedri and Gavi, two of Barcelona's most famous first-team La Maisa graduates, were excluded, but three under-20 players contributed to Barcelona's win.

After this difficult season, Xavi will leave Barcelona, but his experimentation with his younger players has paid off. This season, Barcelona has 11 or less under-21 players in La Liga or Champions League.

This season, Barcelona's youngest player, 21-year-old Lamine Yamal, has played the eighth most minutes in the two competitions.

Yamal has become Barcelona's second or third-best forward behind Robert Lewandoski and Raphinha with six goals and seven assists in all competitions at 16. Having him play minutes in a top-five league at his age is different from predicting his contribution.

One is attracted by Yamal's soccer play. Yamal is flourishing for Barcelona and has been called up to the Spain squad owing to his vision, work rate, dribbling, and capacity to create something from nothing.

Most students are contemplating who to invite to their school's homecoming dance. After a deep pass found Raphinha, Cancelo set up Barcelona's second goal.  Even though Yamal played well, Pau Cubarsi was named man-of-the-match for his defense.

Barcelona might not win any titles this season, but if their improvement continues, this could be a golden age. Relying on the academy helps ease budgetary problems, and Xavi is improving them.

 By using home money in the Champions League last eight, Barcelona will become a formidable opponent. No pressure and no risk help a team function well. Catalonia's academy must decide how far their manager can go. Just reaching this point will guide Xavi.

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