6 ‘Ones To Watch’ at FC Barcelona: the Youngsters to get in your Collection!
Being a Barcelona youngster is a highly-prized line on your footballing CV, but who are the kids currently lighting it up in Catalonia?
For those of you who don’t know, Futera have recently signed a Licence with FC Barcelona.
This means two things 1) the kid in all of us just leapt in excitement and 2) we get to have regular looks at what’s happening at the Camp Nou!
So, first things first, we’ve taken a look at the current crop of Barcelona youngsters and here are the six names we think you won’t want to miss out on once cards for these players hit our store.
Why Barcelona youngsters?
Football fans all over the world will know Barca’s La Masia academy is one of the most fiercely scrutinised in the game, and with good reason.
After all, this particular place of learning has given a footballing education to some of the world’s best players. Need some examples? How about Lionel Messi, Carles Puyol, Andres Iniesta, Pepe Reina, as well as Pep Guardiola and even the current Blaugrana manager Xavi.
With that in mind, you can start to see why there’s such a large helping of prestige attached to this academy.
So, how about we give you a bit more info about the latest charges raising eyebrows in “The Farmhouse”.
It may be difficult to imagine anyone getting too excited about a goalkeeper, but Barcelona youngster Arnau Tenas is starting to make the right sounds around La Masia. In fact, Barca are that keen on him, they tied him to a three-year contract in 2020 with a release clause believed to be somewhere in the region of 100 million euros.
As you might expect Tenas has tasted success with the Barca academy sides, winning championship honours from U12 right up to U19 level. But, after winning the European Championship with Spain’s U19s in 2019, Tenas has now started to penetrate the Catalans’ first team squad.
Certainly one to watch if ever we saw one!
Tenas was a tough act to follow but we think Alejandro Balde is more than up to the job. A skilful yet robust centre-back who commands his position on the pitch, Balde could be lining up to be the new Pique.
After signing for Barca at the tender age of eight years old from fierce rivals Espanyol, Balde has consistently played in the year above in the Barca academy. Despite playing above his age group, the 18-year-old has won league honours at U12, U14 and U16 levels.
The young centre-half who has Guinean and Dominican parentage is certainly one for the future - he might also face a tough choice re his international loyalties soon too.
Those with their finger on the European football pulse may already be aware of Pablo Martín Páez Gavira or ‘Gavi’. Since making his Barcelona debut in August at the tender age of 17 becoming the fourth youngest player to play for Barca, Gavi’s stock has continued to rise.
Following on from breaking through at club level, no mean feat in itself, the Barcelona youngster has gone on to become the youngest player to represent Spain after featuring in Luis Enrique’s side’s 2-1 UEFA Nations League Semi-final win over Italy.
Many may have questioned the decision by Enrique to select a youngster with little under 400 minutes of first team Barcelona football under his belt. However, it proved to be a masterstroke as Gavi excelled on debut, and Spain overhauled the Italians ending the Azzurri's 37 game unbeaten run, leading ESPN to pronounce him Spain’s present and future.
We’ve had potentially the next Pique, now we come to a man who many are calling “the next Busquets”. So no prizes for guessing the style of Nico’s play.
But there must be some truth behind the name as the Blaugrana only recently managed to keep Nico at the club following interest from Guardiola’s Manchester City. It seems it takes one former Barca academy graduate to know the quality of another.
After winning piles of titles in the Barcelona youth set-up, Nico could now be set to start lighting up the Nou Camp with fellow ball-playing central-midfielder Xavi at the helm.
Anyone who knows Barcelona youngsters will know about Pedri. He’s also the man who’s seemingly been tasked with returning the Barca glory years. However, he could be the red herring in terms of this blog at least, as he only joined the Blaugrana in 2020 from Las Palmas.
Nevertheless, he’s now a Barcelona youngster to us and they must be pretty enamoured with him as they’ve recently signed him up to a contract which would take him to 2026, with a release clause reportedly worth 1 billion euros.
But why are the Catalans so keen on keeping Pedri in the famous red and blue? Well, it could be something to do with the fact that he’s mustard. Pedri, Gavi and the next man on our ‘ones to watch’ list Ansu Fati have been nominated for the prestigious Tuttosport Golden Boy Award - an accolade which celebrates the most promising footballers in the world under 21. It’s a trophy which proudly counts Lionel Messi among its list of winners - but then there aren’t many trophies in world football which don’t nowadays.
However, one difference to this year’s Golden Boy long-list is, when Tuttosport announced the list they named the article ‘Chasing Pedri’. Someone should probably tell the Italian publication about the scourge of spoiler alerts.
Here we are then, the final stop on our tour of the creme de la creme from The Farmhouse. Last, but by no means least, comes Ansu Fati. Again Catalonian aficionados might already be aware of Fati’s virtues. But there’s some serious hype building around this lad.
Like Pedri, Barca have been quick to snap up Fati on a long-term deal which also features that eye-watering one billion euro release figure. But, unlike Pedri, Fati has actually been at the club for plenty of years, working at his craft in La Masina since 2012 when he joined the Blaugrana at 10 years old.
Fast forward seven years, and Fati became the youngest person to ever play for the Barca first team in the league when he replaced Carles Pérez in the 78th minute against Real Betis. Six days later Fati was breaking records again when he became the youngest Barcelona player to score a league goal, after heading home a Perez cross against Osasuna in their 2-2 draw.
As we’ve said, with such an exemplary history, it’s easy to see why people are always looking for the next product from La Masina. And we’re no exception, that’s why we can’t wait to get this sextet gracing Futera cards in the near future.
We’ve got plenty of big Barcelona Futera Cards on the way. So, as ever, keep your eyes peeled on our socials for all the latest set announcements and reveals.