FC Barcelona B faced Alcorcón this weekend in a match that went down to the wire. While Barça B looked to solidify their eighth position in the league table, the visitors, tied in third place with Villarreal and Almería (65 points), were keen to secure a position in the play-offs for promotion to the Primera División.
FC Barcelona has just reported that the club has agreed terms with Gerard Deulofeu (19) to extend the B team player’s contract until June 2017. The young winger has been watched by several English clubs, including Liverpool and Manchester City, and his new buyout clause of 35 million euros is a clear message from Barcelona to the rest of Europe that La Masia’s best are not for sale.
With speculation abounding over who will stay and go this summer, another question often slips through the cracks, a problem specific to FC Barcelona: who will get promoted from Barça B? Every year, a couple of the club’s youngsters are given first team contracts and a chance to prove their worth. Last year, Cuenca, Fontàs, and Thiago joined the team. This year it was Dos Santos, Tello, Bartra, and Montoya. Next year, likely candidates for promotion are center-back Marc Muniesa, whose season was disrupted by a severe muscle tear this fall, midfielders Sergi Roberto and Rafinha Alcântara, and winger Gerard Deulofeu, crown prince of La Masia. Read on after the break to find out what challenges these youngsters might face in their development.
FC Barcelona’s players were back at work following Tuesday’s draw in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals against Paris Saint-Germain. The players, who returned from Paris in the early morning hours, trained at the Ciutat Esportiva this Wednesday morning. The session took place without Messi and Mascherano, who were both injured at the Parc des Princes, and the starters against PSG spent the session doing recovery work.
The rest of the team trained focused on the next game, a league match on Saturday against Mallorca at the Camp Nou (22:00). Four Barça B players took part in today’s session: goalkeeper Oier Olazábal, forward Gerard Deulofeu, midfielder Sergi Roberto, and defender Marc Muniesa.
Six FC Barcelona players were selected to play for the U-21 side of Spain in friendlies against Norway U-21 and Russia U-21. Left back Carles Planas was called up earlier, but he picked up a minor injury days before the game. Tonight was the first match of the friendlies before the U-21 Championships which will be held in Israel this June.
This has to go down as one of the poorest team performances that I’ve seen from a Barca B side in a long time.
Things didn’t look good for the visitors as they stepped onto the pitch for the pre match rituals, the near side of the pitch full of divots and pockmarked areas – certainly not conducive to the Barca style of crisp passing and movement along the floor.
I’ve been following youth football at Barça for a while now. And there have been many talents produced, many “safe” stars for the future. However, most of those “safe” future stars, those everyone thought would make it, didn’t. In other words, they didn’t live up to their potential. Instead, a few of those no one really paid much attention to, did make it.
But how can we really know that a youth player will make it? That he will go all the way to the first team or even become one of the best if not the best in the world one day? This task might prove impossible. Because the ball is round and everything can happen in football, and everything can happen in life. Even the most talented lad can drop his focus for one reason or another or get injured or take the wrong decision at the wrong time. We simply cannot predict who will make it big.
Barcelona’s Miniestadi was jumping as the teams took to the pitch in front of a sell out 16,000 crowd.
Top scorers in the Segunda Division, Barca B sat comfortably in 5th place going into this match whilst their 16th placed opponents Real Madrid Castilla were making their first trip to the miniestadi in 15 years and were hoping to do better than their last visit which resulted in a 5-0 loss back in 1998.
FC Barcelona submitted their 30 man squad for the 2012/3 UEFA Champions League two weeks ahead of the first group stage fixtures. The highlight inclusions are the last man to raise the trophy for the club, Eric Abidal, and La Masia gem (but also increasingly controversial prospect) Gerard Deulofeu. Abidal has set a goal to return to action by December or January so he will not take part in any of the group stages, but there was no way that the Barça ethos would have let him be excluded from the list. Tito and the club have been extremely supportive of the Frenchman, saying that they are waiting for him and ready to help however they can.
Gerard Deulofeu has been one of Barça’s most talked about youth players for a long time. He was only 9 years old when he was featured in an interview on television for the first time. He was 14 years old when he was dubbed ’the new Ronaldinho’, the next wonder kid at La Masia, and this is also when the top English clubs started to fight over who could land this Barça talent at their club. The hype hasn’t stopped. This summer he helped Spain secure the U-19 European Championship title without a problem. He was there to help the youngsters on the team, though he himself was only 18 years old. Last season also marked his debut with the first team, meaning that the expectations and talk about Gerard Deulofeu that has existed since he was 14 years old has blown up even more. He has already featured on the covers of the major sport papers in Barcelona more than once, and now, instead of calling him the new Ronaldinho, people are calling him a future Ballon d’Or winner.
Gerard Deulofeu was the star on the night with two goals and the decisive spot kick in the shoot-out victory against France, as Spain reached a third straight UEFA European Under-19 Championship final. But speaking to UEFA.com after the match, the FC Barcelona winger was quick to share the credit, “This isn’t a team, this is a family,” he said.
The Spanish under-19 national team defeated France on penalties to book a place in the final match where they will face Greece for the title. The Spaniards, led by a Gerard Deulofeu brace, were stretched to the limit in the match which eventually ended 3-3 after extra time. Deulofeu, one of the pearls of the current Barcelona youth system, scored the fifth and decisive penalty for Spain giving them the victory [4-2].
The final match will be held on Sunday July 15 at 20:30 local time [Estonia].
Spain U19 enjoyed a successful start to the defence of their UEFA European Under-19 Championship title in Estonia with goals from Jesé Rodríguez and Derik Osede helping them to a 2-1 win against Greece. Barcelona pair Gerard Deulofeu (18) and Alejandro Grimaldo (16) both produced impressive outings, with the former providing the assist for the first goal and playing a role in the second, while the latter earned plenty of plaudits for his performance, from both Cules and neutral fans alike, on the social media outlet twitter.
Perhaps it was the team building go-kart session, or the good record that has now extended to six games unbeaten. Either way, Eusebio Sacristan’s team added another three points away at Real Murcia on Saturday, thanks to two second half goals from Deulofeu and Tello. The win moves FC Barcelona B into 12th place, with 19 points after 14 games in the League so far this season. More details of the match can be found after the jump.
Barca B striker Gerard Deulofeu made his senior team debut during Saturday’s 5-0 mauling of Mallorca, making him the 19th member of Barcelona’s youth squad to make debuts under Pep Guardiola. Deulofeu, still just 17, entered the match in the 63rd minute to take David Villa’s place in attack. Even more interesting: Deulofeu’s debut, on October 29, comes exactly nine years to the day after the debut of a certain Andres Iniesta, who himself tasted senior team action for the first time on October 29, 2002.
Stats: MundoDeportivo: • Image: Pep Morata [MD]
On Wednesday evening, Barça B was able to gain another away win, three more points, and the reserves have now moved further from the relegation zone, safely sitting in 15th place in the table. The lone goal on Wednesday evening was scored by Martí Riverola, despite both sides having a number of chances. More details of the match can be found after the jump.
Barca B player Gerard Deulofeu already seems to be knocking on the first team’s doors. The 17-year-old player is being treated like a new discovery of Barca’s cantera who, like all great players, goes through phases extremely fast. He debuted last year in Segunda A with Luis Enrique and Pep took him along this summer on Barca’s US tour in Miami, hours after he had won the UEFA Under-19 Championship.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday morning, Andoni Zubizarreta spoke extensively about the youth players, especially those who have the potential to move up from Barça B. The sporting director for professional football also discussed the future of a number of players that will be hopefully loaned out this summer, and briefly mentioned the Fabregas transfer negotiations.