Konrad De La Fuente: Things to Know About the Young American Winger

Nov 25, 2020, 3:15 PM GMT
Konrad De La Fuente mad his Barcelona debut on Tuesday night
Konrad De La Fuente mad his Barcelona debut on Tuesday night | Alex Caparros/Getty Images

There was cause for celebration for football fans in the United States on Tuesday night as Konrad De La Fuente made his senior debut for Barcelona against Dynamo Kiev.

The 19-year old winger came off the bench in the 83rd minute of the Champions League tie and became the seventh US player to feature in this year's edition of the competition - a new record.

Although the youngster didn't get the minutes to leave a mark on his debut, there is no doubt he's highly rated at Barcelona and is becoming widely regarded as a hot prospect on the football stage.

Here's what you need to know about De La Fuente.

1. Haitian-American Origins

Wales v USA - International Friendly
Konrad De La Fuente was born in Miami | Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

A newly capped US international, De La Fuente has a unique origin story.

Born in Florida with Haitian family origins, he moved to Barcelona as a child when his father got a job in the Haitian consulate.

While his dad's work put him in place for a Barcelona move, the teenager has credited his mother for his journey in football so far.

The winger revealed his story started when his mother forced him to join an indoor football club in his hometown of Miami.

2. Ronaldinho Was His Barcelona Inspiration

Ronaldinho, Brahim Hemdami
Ronaldinho was De La Fuente's childhood idol | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The winger revealed to ESPN that, at the age of six, he told himself that he had to feature for Barcelona one day, and line up alongside the likes of Messi.

However, he also admitted that he'd always idolised Ronaldinho as a child, rather than Messi, and had been inspired by the Brazilian in his early years.

De La Fuente - who joined Barça's academy aged 12 - said: "I was like six, and I wanted to be like Ronaldinho, so I was like, I need to play for Barcelona, and eventually it happened."

3. He's Already an International.

At just 19 years of age, the hype surrounding De La Fuente was enough to earn him a call up to the US national side earlier this year - before he had even made a senior appearance at club level.

US head coach Gregg Berhalter gave De La Fuente his first international appearance in November as the winger started in the friendly fixture against Wales.

Already earning a cap to his name, future appearances for Barcelona will push the youngster to regularly feature in America's promising national team.

4. The Americans Are Excited.

The US haven't been too successful in football over the years, but there is no doubt they have a golden generation coming through. The Barcelona man was part of the Under-20s side that reached the quarter finals of the World Cup in 2019, memorably beating France in the process.

De La Fuente is the latest American name to have featured in the Champions League this season and the winger played alongside countryman Sergiño Dest.

5. He's Quick, Tricky & a Bit Like Ousmane Dembele

Konrad De La Fuente
De La Fuente is fast and skilful | Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Barcelona's La Masia has a history of producing technically gifted players, and De La Fuente seems to have combined his explosive natural pace with spatial awareness and an ability to pick a pass.

The winger has said he bases his own game on that of the likes of Messi and Ousmane Dembele.

“The first-team player that I admire most is, of course, Messi, but given my characteristics as a player I also follow Dembélé closely,” he told the Guardian in 2019.

Similar to other young stars with natural physical talents like Adama Traore, La Masia has allowed De La Fuente to pair has traits with a top-rate footballing education that has pushed him to develop classic Barcelona player qualities.

6. Ronald Koeman Rates Him Very Highly.

Ronald Koeman
Ronald Koeman took charge of Barcelona in the summer | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has publicly showed his support for the young winger.

In the summer, Koeman said, as quoted by planetfootball: "If I had to highlight one of the youngsters, I would say Konrad, I am really happy with him... We have a great future ahead of us."

It seems clear that De La Fuente features in the manager's plans, and looks set to be given more chances after making his debut against Dynamo Kiev on Tuesday night.