During his stint as Barcelona boss, Xavi has handed out plenty of debuts to upcoming talents and we’ve checked in on how they’re developing in 2024.
While things have unravelled for Xavi this season, the 44-year-old has done a tremendous job when it comes to promoting young players from the academy.
In total, Xavi has handed out 11 La Liga debuts to teenagers during his spell as Barcelona boss and we’ve checked out how they are all developing in 2024.
Yamal made his debut at the backend of last season and became the youngest-ever player to feature in a competitive match for Barcelona. Being just 15 years old at the time, it was some achievement.
The La Masia prodigy has continued to develop this year and he’s been afforded plenty of first-team opportunities. Across all competitions, he’s made 31 appearances and has garnered plenty of praise for his impact.
“He is a talent. When you see him train you see that he is an exceptional talent, that he has courage, he dares, that he can make the difference one-on-one,” Xavi told reporters.
“The other day he had one of his best games with the first team. I’m happy, very happy that players of this calibre are coming out of La Masia.”
Cubarsi made his league debut earlier this year against Real Betis, just one day before his 17th birthday. With defensive injuries rife within the squad, Cubarsi has taken his chance to step up.
The 17-year-old has featured in four matches for Barcelona so far and Xavi was pleased with the impact Cubarsi had on his debut.
“I see him very prepared,” Xavi told reporters. “He is a footballer with a great mentality, our second goal came from him. A player with less personality pulls back, he looked for Frenkie.”
With Alejandro Balde and Marcos Alonso currently sidelined through injury, Fort made his La Liga debut over the weekend against Villarreal.
The 17-year-old was thrown in at left-back and played the first 45 minutes before he was replaced by Joao Cancelo at half time. Over these next few months, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the young full-back.
Akhomach was the first teenager who was handed his La Liga debut by Xavi. The winger made his first league appearance in November 2021 and left the club last summer after a lack of first-team action.
He subsequently penned a four-year deal with Villarreal and typically, scored upon his return to Barcelona. The 19-year-old bagged Villarreal’s second goal of the game as they beat Barcelona 5-3.
Ilias Akhomach vs Barcelona pic.twitter.com/kUAQsAGvSn
— Khalid 🇸🇦 (@Khalid_bossman) January 28, 2024
Pedrola made his debut back in 2021–22 and that remains the only senior appearance he has made for the club. He spent last season developing with Barcelona Atletic and is currently out on loan with Sampdoria.
In nine league appearances for the Italian club, Pedrola has managed to score three goals so far. No doubt the coaches at Barcelona will be keeping close tabs on his development in Italy.
The 19-year-old made five senior appearances for Barcelona last season and he’s spent the majority of the 2023-24 campaign continuing his development with the youth side.
Having recently arrived from Athletico Paranaense, Roque made his Barcelona debut earlier this month against Las Palmas.
Given the promise the teenager showcased in Brazil and the lofty price that Barcelona paid to land him, there is an abundance of hype surrounding the 18-year-old right now.
“Vitor is very young, he will have minutes and will continue to be important,” Xavi told reporters. “I believe he is a player who has qualities that can help us a lot.”
The teenage forward managed to score just 30 seconds into his senior debut against Athletic Bilbao earlier this season. In the process of doing so, he became the youngest and fastest debutant to score for the club.
Guiu also managed to score in the Champions League against Royal Antwerp and he’s currently averaging a goal every 22.5 minutes, albeit from a very small sample size.
WHAT A MOMENT! 😱😱
Just seconds after coming on for his first action as a Barcelona senior player, Marc Guiu scores what could well be a late winner! 🔵🔴 pic.twitter.com/qWX0gFTJhI
— Viaplay Sports UK (@ViaplaySportsUK) October 22, 2023
“He is a footballer that I like. Technically he is gifted,” Xavi told reporters after Garrido made his senior debut for the club last season.
The 19-year-old has only made one senior appearance for the club so far and he has continued his development this season with Barcelona Atletic.
Xavi handed Riad his first chance last season during a 2-1 triumph against Osasuna. The defender has spent this season on loan with Real Betis and has done well for Manuel Pellegrini’s side so far.
Riad has featured in 13 league games for Real Betis so far and he boasts a solid average match rating of 6.71. We’re looking forward to seeing more of the young defender in the years to come.
Torre was afforded his first chance last season as he made eight league appearances for Xavi’s side. The youngster was then sent out on loan in the summer and he’s now sat top of La Liga with Girona.
While most of his appearances have come from the bench this season, there’s every chance that Torre gets his hands on some silverware this year.