If you are a youngster, breaking into Barcelona’s starting XI might be one of the hardest tasks there is in professional football.
But despite boasting a handful of La Masia’s graduates in the senior team at the moment, it’s been difficult for the current crop of youngsters at Barcelona B to stake a claim in the first team.
Barcelona’s erstwhile manager, Luis Enrique, didn’t appear to be a firm believer in youth, but the new man in charge, Ernesto Valverde has promised to give the club’s youngsters a chance during his reign.
So which Barcelona B players could be giving the big boys a run for their money next season?
At 19, the Spain youth international has a lot of work to do if he is to feature more regularly for Barcelona next season.
However, considering that he has spent 12 years at the club already, Aleñá surely knows what it takes to break into the first team having seen a lot of older teammates do so.
A central midfielder by trade, Aleñá marked his Barcelona debut with a goal last November in a Copa del Rey clash with Hércules, and though he only made 3 La Liga appearances last term, the future remains very bright for this fine dribbler.
The teenage sensation is an excellent passer of the ball, while he also has an eye for long-range screamers. His goal against Roma in the UEFA Youth Champions League in 2015 made him a viral sensation, and he has all it takes to become the next Iniesta the club is in dire need of.
South Americans are famous for their extraordinary footballing abilities, so Barcelona knew exactly what they were doing when they secured a permanent switch for the services of the young centre-back from Fluminense last month.
Despite making just 3 appearances for Barcelona last term, his defensive nous and playing style has already convinced Valverde. And the new manager approved a permanent stay for the Brazilian.
Marlon impressed in Pique’s absence at the tail-end of last season, with his ball-playing abilities and confidence hinting at why he could be the next Puyol.
He completed 93% of his passes in the 2 full La Liga games he played, and could give Umtiti stiff competition for playing time next season.
Samper’s loan at Granada was a huge flop, but it would be harsh to judge him off that. The 22-year-old actually has everything it takes to step into the shoes of Busquets.
At 29, Busquets isn’t much of a long-term option in Barcelona’s deep midfield, and it is why Samper should be allowed to remain at Camp Nou next season to grow.
Built in the mould of the typical Barcelona defensive midfielder, the Spain youth international is a master at maintaining possession, playing short passes, and acting as anchor between the defence and the attack.
A chance to prove himself at Camp Nou next season could be all that is needed for Samper to retire Sergio Busquets.
Having captained at every level for Barcelona except the senior team, this born-leader has it in him to excel where many youngsters break.