Alberto P. Sierra
Talented youngsters are coming through at Barça
Spurred on by financial necessity, injuries and Xavi’s eye for talent, Barcelona have been making full use of La Masia, the club’s youth academy.
In total, 13 youth products have made their first-team debuts for the Spanish champions since Xavi took over as boss in November 2021.
This year, Lamine Yamal has starred for the seniors, and Fermín López and Marc Guiu have also impressed. Marc Casadó has made his bow, too.
They’ve joined other youngsters, such as Gavi and Alejandro Balde, who came into this season already established as first-team fixtures.
A player who cuts through defences to create and score goals, Lamine Yamal heads into his first Clásico already a true star of the game.
The 16-year-old Spain international’s emergence has earned justified comparisons with that of Barcelona legend Lionel Messi.
A player given his debut by Ronald Koeman, Gavi is the ‘veteran’ among the young guns, with 108 appearances and 25 Spain caps to his name.
Xavi values the 19-year-old’s talent, work rate and competitive spirit. The 2022 Golden Boy winner has an old head on young shoulders.
Balde is a worthy heir to Jordi Alba at left-back, and is another youngster with no little experience. At 20, he’s already played 63 times for Barça.
Balde has also succeeded Alba at international level. Given his Spain debut in 2022, he went to Qatar - and has a bright future with La Roja.
A player growing with every game, Fermín has already scored in one Clásico. Injuries have opened the door for him to make his mark on another.
Meanwhile, striker Marc Guiu hit the headlines by scoring the winner on his debut against Athletic. However, he has Lewandowski ahead of him…
Finally, ‘B’-team captain Casadó was given his first run-out against Shakhtar Donetsk. He’s impressing Xavi, who needs another anchorman.
Other academy youngsters who are now making it into Barcelona’s matchday squads are the likes of Cubarsí, Fort, Garrido and Astralaga.