This article is part of Football FanCast’s In The Pipeline series, which takes a look at some of the most promising young talent either linked with clubs or emerging from their academies…
Recently, it feels like Barcelona have seen a resurgence coming from their youth ranks.
Of course, whenever a talent as exciting and as vibrant as Ansu Fati, the 16-year-old prodigy, steps onto the stage, the footballing world just holds its breath and hopes for the best.
And sure, Fati has been in incredible form.
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The 16-year-old prodigy has managed to break all sorts of records during his first couple of outings for the Blaugrana seniors and just like that, he became somewhat of a regular presence. And that in itself is a huge thing, especially taking into account how difficult it is for youngsters to break into the first team and stay there for good.
Riqui Puig, their 20-year-old La Masia talisman and one of their finest young players, can surely attest to that.
Puig is still playing for Barcelona B back in Spain’s third division and even though the team is struggling here and there and the competition is fierce, the young Catalan prodigy has already outgrown his rivals and looks ready to make the step up.
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But with so many midfielders at the squad and with all the hype surrounding Fati, as warranted as it may be, the spotlight has completely turned away from a prospect that looked bound to explode.
Not to mention that the 20-year-old has recently been named as the Catalan Young Player of the Year by the Catalan Football Federation and has already participated in three official games for the seniors in the past, netting one assist along the way.
For Barcelona B, however, he has tallied 41 games under his belt, scoring twice and assisting a further eight goals in the process. This season alone, he’s been on fire – bagging two goals and one assist and is not likely to stop any time soon.
Puig is still very much the player Barcelona should keep an eye on and as soon as their middle of the park becomes a bit less crowded, they should be looking to give the 20-year-old a proper shot.
As it currently stands, his qualities and talents are being wasted with Barcelona B and as much as they can use him in their mission to get promoted in the not so distant future, Puig’s development is very much at stake and should be of bigger concern to the Blaugrana.
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The future definitely looks bright for the Catalan giants but only if they play their cards right.
Puig is very much an ace in that pack.