But what is not so widely known is that one of their current crop of young stars once trained with the Spanish giants after shining while at the Fife-based soccer academy AM Soccer.
Footage has emerged of the then eight-year-old Archie Meekison training in the shadow of the Nou Camp.
The midfielder, who turned 19 earlier this month, scored his first goal for Dundee United against Motherwell last week. AM Soccer, which was founded by FC Midtjylland and Northern Ireland assistant coach Austin MacPhee and is based in Cupar, is proving a productive source of players for United.
Loius Appere, who also spent time training with AS Roma, is an established part of the first team squad having spent a decade at the soccer academy. He was joined in the starting line-up by Meekison as United manager Micky Mellon turned to youth after the Tannadice side secured their top-flight status.
From the evidence of what Meekison and 21-year-old Logan Chalmers brought to the team, United can have more ambitious plans than simply staying up in the future. Chalmers set up Meekison’s strike from the edge of the box in the 2-2 draw against Motherwell last week. Meekison is now on holiday for four weeks but plans to return to the gym in a fortnight to give himself the best chance of maintaining his current progress – and continue putting into practice what he learned on a memorable day in Catalonia in April 2011.
“When I was younger, I was with AM Soccer and they did a sports tours event where we went away to Barcelona,” explained Meekison. “It involved playing a tournament there against a couple of teams, one of which was Espanyol, and having a training camp.
“At the end of the trip there was an awards night, for the three age groups – the winners got a chance to train with Barcelona.”
Meekison had caught the eye in his age-group and returned to Spain the following Spring.
“It was such a good experience training with young boys at the La Masia,” he said. “It was very surreal, knowing Messi and what not were training up the end of the road!”
The memory of playing in such proximity to the Nou Camp remains vivid to this day.
Despite being so young, he was alert to the boost such a setting is designed to give young hopefuls. In the footage, MacPhee can be heard pointing out the Nou Camp in the distance. He adds: “And there’s the mini Nou Camp – and the mini, mini Nou Camp”.
The latter pitch was where Meekison and two teammates from the innovative Fife soccer school demonstrated their talent.
“To train in front of Camp Nou, it really gives the kids inspiration,” said Meekison. “It’s the same at Dundee United. We have our training pitch at the academy at the GA Arena at Gussie Park, right in front of Tannadice.
“When I was a young boy, I was always told that if I worked hard enough, then that’s where I would play. I look back on that now and I am very proud.”