THE LEGACY of Johan Cruyff was in the air this morning when Donegal schoolboy Charlie White lined out against FC Barcelona.
Carrigans resident White, a student at St Eunan’s College in Letterkenny, played against Barça for Club NI Under-14s in the Mediterranean International Cup.
Picture caption: The Club NI Under-14s, including Charlie White (extreme right, back row), before their game against FC Barcelona
The scholars from La Masia, the youth academy proposed by Cruyff in 1979 to José Luis Núñez, the then FC Barcelona President, defeated Club NI 6-0, but for White and the boys in green it was the experience of a lifetime.
Cruyff passed away yesterday in Barcelona at the age of 68, but his philosophy lives on.
‘The legacy is clear, profound and present,’ wrote Sid Lowe in The Guardian. ‘Before 1990 Barcelona had won 10 league titles in their entire history and no European Cups; since then they have won 13 leagues and five European Cups. But it is not about the trophies, or not only; it goes beyond that, to philosophy and identity. Winning, sure; a way of winning too.’
The Los Cules youngsters of now are groomed in that same ‘total football’ mould.
For centre-back White, this morning’s game in Castell-Platja d’Aro – even after such a heavy defeat – was one to cherish.
“Even just walking out against Barcelona was some experience,” White told Donegal Sport Hub from Spain.
Charlie White takes to the field against FC Barcelona
“They’re so good technically and they’re very clinical in front of goal. They knock it around so quick and they just don’t give the ball away at all.
“Playing against Barcelona was amazing.”
Club NI is the IFA’s Elite Programme and White is a regular in the Under-14 team, managed by former Finn Harps full-back Pascal Vaudequin.
White scored yesterday evening in a 6-0 win over FC Central Los Angeles while Club NI drew their other two games 1-1, against UD Perfeccionam Global and CD Mostoles Uric.
That was enough to take them through to face the might of Barcelona this morning.
The Mediterranean International Cup is regarded as one of the top tournaments in the world and a list of graduates says it all: Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr, Jordi Alba, Cesc Fàbregas, Sergio Busquets, Juan Mata, Marc Bartra, Oscar, Phillipe Coutinho and Lucas Leiva all made their bow while playing in the MIC.Tags: