Gudjohnsen's boys schooled at the Nou Camp

Icelander's sons are learning game at famous Barça academy, and are showing signs they could be as good as dad. Sam Wallace reports

Since leaving Barcelona in 2009, Eidur Gudjohnsen has led a nomadic football life playing for Monaco, Tottenham (on loan), Stoke City and now Fulham on loan again – separated for the first time in his career from his three sons, who live in Barcelona.

Being apart from Sveinn, 13, Andri, nine, and five-year-old Daniel, as well as his wife Ragnhildur, has been the toughest part of it for Eidur but the consolation is that his two eldest sons are getting arguably the best football education in the world. Both are part of the Barcelona academy where these two little Icelanders are being honed to follow in their father's footsteps.

Eidur, 32, grew up outside his native Iceland, spending seven years in Belgium where his father Arnor played for Anderlecht before Eidur went on to join the PSV Eindhoven academy in Holland. When he left Barcelona for Monaco in 2009 the plan was for his family to join him eventually in the south of France but his spell at the French club got off to a poor start and looked like it might be short-lived so they decided to stay put.

As a result he has had to follow his son's progress with telephone calls and dashes back to Spain whenever days off allow it. Sveinn, a left-winger, is in the Barcelona academy proper, the talent hothouse which produced so many of the current Barcelona team as well as manager Pep Guardiola.

"The set-up is semi-professional," Eidur says. "He turns up for training with his washbag and they get their kit provided. They have to be there 45 minutes before training three times a week and they play every weekend. They have a squad of 22 players and they rotate through. Everyone has their position and they play in a league against boys one year older because, as a team, they are very good. The club want them always to be up against top opposition.

"Andri [a centre-midfielder] is at the Barcelona school, which is open to younger kids to train. They have to have a level of talent to train there and if they don't, the coaches will politely say, 'This might not be for your son'.

"Andri comes home every month with the equivalent of a school report. It has a list of categories: 'Control – left foot; control – right foot; his vision; his attitude; his punctuality; his respect towards team-mates; his respect towards coaches'. There is a list of 50 things that he is marked on – 'below average, average, good, very good' etc. He is nine!

"There are two coaches and I don't know how many kids and they all get a report card. They play every Saturday whether it is against other teams or among themselves. They play in a Barcelona kit, seven-a-side. It is at this school that you see what Barcelona football club is about. They teach them in training at a very young age to control the ball and look around, everyone in their position, the ball played into feet."

As for five-year-old Daniel, his father says: "He loves football but he only wants to start playing when he can train with Barcelona!" The club have hinted strongly that Andri will also be taken into the academy which means both have a chance of following their father and wearing the famous shirt at the Nou Camp. The boys have both said that if they make it as professionals then, like their father and grandfather, they want to represent Iceland.

Eidur famously made his debut for Iceland in 1996 as a 17-year-old substitute coming on for his father Arnor, then 34, although a subsequent injury for Eidur meant they never played at the same time. Eidur says that his grandfather, a fisherman in the northern part of Iceland, might also have made it as a professional footballer had he been given the opportunity.

"They might not become footballers but the oldest one at least seems to be very determined," Eidur says of his sons. "I don't really mind as long as they know right from wrong and respect people around them. Then I'll be the proudest dad in the world."

Sport
footballLIVE City face Stoke, while Warnock returns to Palace dugout
Arts and Entertainment
books
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone