Barca Atletic coach Luis Enrique has found a real gem in Barca Atletic midfielder and Spanish youth international Sergi Roberto (18), to help lead his team towards the play-offs for the second division. The player, who has just turned 18, has become a main stay with the reserves, although in principle he should still be playing with Juvenil A.
Sergi Roberto started the season alongside players of his age group with the Juvenil A, but later he caught Pep Guardiola’s eye while Pep was scouting the Juvenil A side which gave him the opportunity to participate in four training sessions with the first team. His progression then continued with a call up from Luis Enrique to join the reserves, and Spain U-17 coach Ginés Meléndez then summoned him to the U-17 World Cup in Nigeria.
S. Roberto began his career with his native club Reus in Santa Creus. He later moved to Nastic, where he spent two more seasons. When he was still a 14 year old plying his trade in the Cadet B’s at Nastic, Sergi received an offer from Barca to join La Masia and the youngster did not think twice. The Cadet and Juvenil coaches at La Masia namely, Victor Sanchez and Javier Garcia Pimienta, played their part in polishing the youngster, and made him distinguished for his versatility. Although his natural position is the attacking midfielder role, Sergi can also play as a winger or central striker with equal effect. Last year, for example, he scored four goals in one match while playing as a central striker. Many at the Barca academy regard him as the successor to the legendary Luis Enrique, who coincidentally is the current coach of Sergi at Barca Atletic. The youngster is known for his great skill, technique, physique, pace and passing, all of which Lucho was so famous for.
S. Roberto recently signed his first professional contract with Barca until 2011, and will be part of the team of ‘babies’ a.k.a Barça Atletic, along with Marc Muniesa, Oriol Romeu and Marc Bartra. The youngster still resides in one of the rooms that the club has in the Nou Camp for their promising youngsters at La Masia, at gate 81, living next to Albert Dalmau, the promising full back of Juvenil A.
Besides being a wonderful footballer, Sergi is also an excellent student. Both him and Marc Muniesa are often seen travelling together to college, by bus, with books under their arms.
This season Sergi began with the Juvenil A’s and, after debuting with the reserves against Gava, left for the youth World Cup where he excelled with the U-17’s, scoring a hat-trick against Burkina Faso. He returned from Nigeria with a slight discomfort in his ankle and reacquired his pace with the Juvenil’s before Luis Enrique put his trust in him again. Since the last game of the first round against Orihuela, Sergi has appeared in ten consecutive games and has only twice been substituted in the second half, an irrefutable proof of his reliability.