It is well known that La Masia, Barça’s youth system, constantly produces talented players for Barça and other clubs. A report published by Diario Sport a few days ago describes for us the players that might make an impression in the near future. Included are those that are already making their mark in football, as well as others known only to those that frequent La Masia’s fields.
1. Gerard Deulofeu - The player born in Riudarenes is known for his talent and speed on the wing. He joined Barça B at only 17 years old (he’s 18 now), which has allowed him to improve his defensive attitude that was practically non-existent before. He can make it to wherever he wants, as he has the skills to do so. His one-on-one game is excellent, he always shows himself to be brave when taking on opponents, he scores, and has been a leader in all the youth categories of both Barça and Spain.
2. Jean-Marie Dongou - The striker from Cameroon is a fantastic example of high work rate, sacrifice and, above all, the ability to score and to lose markers. He has always played with team mates older than him. He dominates spaces and moving without the ball as he has had years of experience. He has a strong personality, and is not afraid of asking for the ball even after he makes a mistake. By the way, he speaks perfect Catalan!
3. Àlex Grimaldo - Just like Dongou and Deulofeu, he has joined teams consisting of team-mates older than himself. A left back that is considered one of the most promising players of his generation, he makes every move right: he goes up the left side and comes back quickly, and makes really good long passes from the left. He is also part of Spain’s U-19 first XI.
4. Rafinha - Thiago’s little brother has his own personality. He can play, and do it well, as an attacking midfielder, on the wing, or even as ‘false 9′. He can score too, as he has proven to be excellent in shooting from outside the area. He might need a bit of improvement in defensive tasks. If he is willing, he can drive rivals mad with his passes and little tricks with the ball.
5. Javier Espinosa - He has been growing into a key player for Barça B, even if some others have had more relevance for the press. He is an attacking midfielder who knows how to control the game, with and without the ball. He is excellent at passing and also in his shooting abilities. It might seem that he needs more time to get into the game, but he always ends up being crucial.
6. Sergi Samper - Another jewel in La Masia, he knows what to do with the ball before it gets to him. He always knows what to do and makes the right decision all the time. He is not afraid to make these decisions, and he also dominates the ‘pivot’ position (Busi’s at the moment).
7. Xavi Quintillà - He is a left footed centre back that can also play at left back. He has great passing abilities, is a very complete player and might even move to midfield.
8. Sandro Ramírez - A fabulous ambitious striker with a strong shot. He is also great in the air, which is a rare quality in La Masia.
9. Lionel Enguene - Attacking midfielder from Cameroon who has been showing his amazing talent since he first played in Infantil B. He also can score and is amazing in one-on-one plays, which is rare coming from a midfielder.
10. Adama Traoré - A very, very fast right winger, who is always looking to pass the ball into the centre.
11. Joseph Ondoa - Strong and fast goalkeeper, who also has ability playing with his feet. He only needs to improve on blocking shots in order to become a great keeper.
12. Rodrigo Tarín - A right back with an excellent constitution. He has a fantastic sense of anticipation. Already becoming a leader, he’s captain of Spain’s U-17 team.
13. Fran Álvarez - A player that can play both as left back or left winger. He has an amazing game getting rid of rivals and great vision to make passes to the centre of the attack.
14. Wilfried Kaptoum – An ideal player to occupy Busi’s place in front of the defense. He has a great technique, and also the necessary vision to give rhythm to the game. He needs to improve his game when the ball is at the rival’s feet.
15. Munir El Haddadi - A versatile forward that can play in the three positions of the attack. He’s hard working, has an awesome one-on-one game and is a scorer. He also can make excellent headers.
So, there you go, a lot to look forward to from La Masia in the coming years. And this is without even considering all the young rising stars that are currently featuring for the first team, players such as Cristian Tello, Isaac Cuenca, Thiago Alcántara, Martín Montoya, Marc Bartra and Sergi Roberto. . . .