As we know, in recent time FC Barcelona have released one of the best players ever to play football, Lionel Messi, and they have certainly been in turmoil for a few years especially regarding their finances. They recently said that they were in an estimated 1.35 billion Euros. However, there is some good news! Their world-famous youth academy continues to churn and create some of the best young talents in world football, but will these young men be enough to help rebuild this footballing giant?
Ansu Fati – the New Messi?
I am not inferring that this young man will become Lionel Messi! I do not honestly think that is possible. However, after Messi leaving Barcelona, Ansu Fati has taken the famous number 10 shirt and has taken a lot of responsibility on his young shoulders. I am an avid watcher of La Liga, the Spanish top division, and in particular FC Barcelona. Ansu Fati flew onto the scene during the 2019-2020 season, aged 16 years old! 16! He became the second youngest player to debut for the historic club, even this is an achievement on its own!
Only in his first month playing for the Spanish giants did he score his first professional goal, becoming the third youngest to score in La Liga in the history of the league. This young man, now aged 18 years old, has already broken all sorts of records in both La Liga and the UEFA Champions League. He became the youngest player to score in the Champions league in December 2019, scoring the winner against Inter Milan. The statistics say it all about this young talent – scoring 14 goals in 46 appearances in La Liga. Relatively impressive considering he was playing alongside Lionel Messi the whole time!
However, it is not all about the records and statistics which show why this Spanish sensation is so brilliant. It is also his general play while watching him, he is one of the most pacey and direct players in the world at the moment, but he also has the final product. Having watched him, he makes very few errors or wrong judgments and is also able to finish a move off. I believe he is one of the hottest players in the world right now, and is definitely a superstar in the making for both FC Barcelona and the Spanish national team.
Pedri – the Young Iniesta?
Again, it is hopefully clear that my intentions are not to say that Pedri will become the legend that is Andres Iniesta, who is a Barcelona and Spanish icon. However, it is clear to see that there are lots of similarities between the two spaniards.
He started to play for FC Barcelona during the 2020-2021 season and has already racked up 56 appearances for the club in La Liga, this excludes games in other competitions. After the end of the 2020-2021 season , he was called up to play at the Euro Finals for the Spanish national team. After making an impact for the team (some pundits saying that he was Spain’s best player in the tournament), he was sent to Tokyo to play for Spain in the Olympics. The number of minutes this young 18-year-old has already undergone shows firstly how good his fitness is, but more importantly how crucial a player he is to both the national team and for his club.
A lot of people liken him to players such as Andres Iniesta and Xavi. These people are correct. Having watched both of these Barcelona legends play football when I was growing up, there are a lot of common themes when comparing them to young Pedri. They all can use both feet, a very important attribute when playing in midfield. However, the most important and distinct similarity is that the vision and range of passing that he possesses is almost supernatural for such a young player. He has so many years to improve on this, alongside other skills he can develop.
I honestly can say there are not many more footballers that I would rather watch than Pedri on the field. He is so precise with his movement and passing, it is hard to take your eyes off of him. At such a young age, it is very obvious why he will be a superstar when he is older, and it might be a lot sooner than we think!
Gavi – the Young Xavi
Like Xavi, Gavi is a Spanish player who currently plays for FC Barcelona. Considering Gavi has only played a handful of times in his footballing career it is crazy to suggest that he will become a club legend like Xavi, however there are many similarities in their style of football.
This 17-year-old wonderkid shot onto the scene this season, 2021-2022, after being called up to Ronald Koeman’s senior squad for Barcelona. He has made 7 appearances in La Liga so far and is looking to follow in Pedri’s steps to play more and more football for the Catalan giants. Unbelievably only after these few appearances, he was called up to the Spanish national team squad, and became the youngest player to ever represent Spain in the senior team. He started the game on his first call up, and was picked in a high-pressure situation. The game was against Italy in the semi-final of the Nations League, what a great moment for the young man.
Having only watched him play in 3 games, it is difficult to describe his style of play in lots of detail, however it is clear why critics are comparing him to Xavi. The way they are both box-to-box players and have a great range of passing shows the importance he has to the team already. Personally, I loved how aggressive he was against Italy, he didn’t fear the occasion and got stuck into the Italy players which I loved to see. Although he is very new onto the footballing scene, it is very clear on why this young man is a bright prospect for both his club and country for years to come.