FC Barcelona

Barcelona's first-team youngsters - ranked

Tom Gott
Jan 25, 2021, 3:45 PM GMT
Pedri has been a revelation at Barcelona
Pedri has been a revelation at Barcelona | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Is La Masia finally back?

After years of neglecting the academy in favour of ill-advised purchases, Barcelona appear to have finally started to turn their attention back to what is widely accepted to be one of the greatest talent factories in world football, and it's left them with a handful of young players who look capable of taking over the world one day.

Let's take a closer look at them all.

10. Konrad de la Fuente

De la Fuente still spends time with the reserves
De la Fuente still spends time with the reserves | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Miami-born winger Konrad de la Fuente might have the coolest name of all the first-team youngsters, but he also has the most to do to establish himself.

He's a pacy winger who loves dribbling into the box, but one trait he also possesses is a little recklessness in the final third. It's not a major problem for a 19-year-old, but when others his age have already figured it out, the pressure is on for De la Fuente to rectify that issue quickly.

There are plenty of young wingers ahead of him in the pecking order, so it's hard to see De la Fuente climbing up the ranks anytime soon.

9. Ilaix Moriba

Moriba's potential is frightening
Moriba's potential is frightening | Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Ilaix Moriba has been in the headlines for most of his career, and he's only just turned 18.

Putting the technical, powerful midfielder so low on this list feels wrong, but he's here because he's still just potential. Moriba has made a mockery of youth football but is yet to be given the keys to senior kingdom, so judging his real quality is tough.

There's reason to believe he could end up as the best young player at the club, but Moriba wouldn't be the first player to fail to live up to that billing, and he wouldn't be the last either.

8. Inaki Pena

Pena is a squad regular
Pena is a squad regular | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Promoted to third-choice goalkeeper in 2018, Inaki Pena has been a regular part of the substitute's bench for Barcelona ever since.

With a sweeper-keeper style that is perfect for Barcelona, Pena has risen through the ranks and earned a decent amount of trust, yet not enough for him to actually make any impact on the senior side.

Concerns over his one-on-one saves have previously been touted as a reason for his lack of role, but his limited sample size makes it hard to comment on Pena just yet.

7. Sergino Dest

Dest has plenty of room to grow
Dest has plenty of room to grow | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

An exciting, versatile full-back, Sergino Dest's time in Barcelona has raised more questions than answers.

Having only convinced a portion of the Ajax fanbase that he was worth keeping around, with concerns over his defensive ability proving too strong to ignore.

Having said that, Dest is an exhilarating attacker, and he's following in the footsteps of Dani Alves at Barcelona, but gone are the days where full-backs can get away without much defending.

6. Oscar Mingueza

Mingueza's development has been a pleasant surprise
Mingueza's development has been a pleasant surprise | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

One of just four players to ever start as an Under-7 and make it to the first team, centre-back Oscar Mingueza's form has been vital to Barcelona this season.

The 21-year-old has taken the senior squad by surprise with just how comfortable he has been on the big stage, and his form convinced Barca officials not to panic-sign a new defender in January.

A vocal, aerially dominant defender, Mingueza has been a breath of fresh air at Camp Nou, and he has already been billed as a long-term fixture of Barcelona's defence.

5. Francisco Trincao

Trincao has been tipped for big things
Trincao has been tipped for big things | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Tipped to 'define a decade' by Braga president Antonio Salvador (via AS) when completing his €31m move to Barcelona, Francisco Trincao was excellent during his time in Portugal.

He's the kind of goal-and-assist machine that is keeping De la Fuente out of the fold, and although we're yet to see him put up big numbers in Spain, his quality is clear to see.

Whether he will go on to become the best player of his generation is up for debate, but to ignore his sky-high potential would be foolish.

4. Ronald Araujo

Araujo is a regular starter
Araujo is a regular starter | Alex Caparros/Getty Images

When Barcelona discuss their senior centre-backs, Ronald Araujo's name isn't even last on the list. He's viewed in a better light than Samuel Umtiti, and the club are ready to keep him in their plans for the foreseeable future.

Touted as the heir to Gerard Pique's throne at the club, Araujo has gone from strength to strength since his promotion to the team in 2019/20, impressing with his no-nonsense style of defending.

Separating Araujo and Mingueza is a tough one, but the former's extra first-team experience just gives him the edge.

3. Riqui Puig

Puig is a gifted passer
Puig is a gifted passer | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

The poster boy for La Masia's recent struggles, Riqui Puig looks like he's finally close to a long-awaited breakthrough.

A terrifyingly gifted passer of the ball, Puig is a midfielder built in the mould of Xavi or an older Andres Iniesta. He's long been heralded as one of the most naturally gifted players to emerge from the academy in a long time.

Puig's lack of minutes has left many Barcelona fans furious for years, and he's just waiting for the right moment to explode on to the senior stage.

2. Pedri

Pedri looks like a superstar in the making
Pedri looks like a superstar in the making | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Shortly after a 16-year-old Pedri made his debut for Las Palmas, Barca struck a €5m deal to bring him to Camp Nou, and that fee already looks like a ludicrous bargain.

Still only 18, Pedri has now commanded a spot in Barcelona's starting lineup because of his uncanny creativity and ability to link up with players. He makes Barcelona better, and he's still a teenager.

You don't often see players his age with the kind of intelligence Pedri brings to the game. He's truly a generational talent, and he only cost €5m.

1. Ansu Fati

Fati is an outstanding talent
Fati is an outstanding talent | Eric Alonso/Getty Images

First brought in to make up the numbers during an injury crisis, Ansu Fati quickly made sure he was right at the very top of the pecking order at Camp Nou.

What makes Fati so special is he makes you forget his age. He might only be 18, but the Spaniard plays like a player who has been in the senior game for over a decade. He just gets it.

Fati has been making a mockery of defenders ever since he arrived in the first team, and long may it continue.

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