Where are they now? Barcelona’s 18 wonderkids from Football Manager 2014
Barcelona had just emerged from the most successful period of their history when Football Manager 2014 was released in October 2013, with some of the best players in the history of the game in their squad and plenty of promising teenagers on their books.
They had no shortage of promising youth prospects emerging to help bolster the first-team squad, but how well did they fare in reality?
FM 2013 earmarked no fewer than 18 wonderkids at Barcelona that year and, while a few of them have enjoyed successful careers, the list is a testament to the fact that you can’t produce once-in-a-generation talents like Xavi Hernandez, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique every year.
Banuz was released by Barcelona B in 2014 after just five appearances for the side. In the past nine years, he’s enjoyed a journeyman career throughout Spain’s lower leagues and currently plays for Cultural Leonesa in the third tier.
Another goalkeeper who never played for the first team, Ortola still remained on Barca’s books until 2019 after being loaned out on two separate occasions.
He joined Tenerife and was first choice throughout the 2019-20 season until he lost his place to Dani Hernandez at the beginning of the following campaign.
Ortola has since spent time at Girona and Belgian side K.M.S.K. Deinze before joining CE Sabadell FC this year.
Born in Cameroon, Bagnack arrived at Barcelona thanks to the Samuel Eto’o Foundation in 2008.
He made 43 appearances for the club’s B team before leaving for Nantes in January 2016. In the time since, Bagnack has played in France, Austria, Slovenia, Kazakhstan and Russia.
Aged 28, he’s currently playing for Kairat in the Kazakh Premier League.
The local-born centre-back clocked up nearly a century of appearances for Barca B between 2009 and 2014, but his only appearance for the first team was a 3-1 defeat to Sevilla in the 2010 Super Cup. Pep Guardiola’s men went on to overturn the result with a 4-0 victory in the second leg.
Gomez left the club in 2014 and has gone on to forge a respectable career in Spain. He made over a hundred appearances for Celta Vigo, played a role on the fringes as Sevilla won the Europa League in 2019-20, and is now back in Catalonia with Espanyol.
Tarin never played for Barca’s first team, but was an important member of Barca B’s squad between 2015 and 2018.
After 50 appearances for them, the centre-back left for Leganes, but left in January 2022 after finding first-team opportunities limited.
He’s now playing in the Segunda for Real Oviedo and can count Santi Cazorla among his team-mates. Lucky guy.
Having been named in the Team of the Tournament as a part of Spain side that won the Under-19 Euros in 2012, Grimaldo was talked up as being a prospect capable of challenging Jordi Alba.
But the left-back only ever received opportunities for Barca B. Eventually he left in search of first-team opportunities, joining Benfica in December 2016.
He shone for Benfica before moving to Bayer Leverkusen this summer. His first goal for the Bundesliga side was something special…
A STUNNING free-kick from Alex Grimaldo 🤯 pic.twitter.com/KWBBRmoE7n
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) September 15, 2023
Patric made just one appearance for Barcelona as a substitute in a 2-1 defeat to Ajax in the Champions League, but he’s had a solid career after departing for Lazio.
Now 30, he’s made 181 appearances for the Serie A side and will play in this season’s Champions League.
Some believed the La Masia graduate to be the future of Barcelona’s midfield, but he suffered with injuries and never quite kicked on and broke through, despite making over a hundred appearances for the B Team.
He left the club in 2019 and moved to Vissel Kobe alongside Andres Iniesta.
“Andres was key, he called me many times and told me it was a good club to grow at, and Gerard was the one who told me the news so I’m very grateful to him for that,’ Samper said upon joining.
“Andres has told me that Kobe want to play like Barca and that their style of play will suit me and I’ll be able to enjoy myself.
Samper spent four years in Japan before signing for FC Andorra this summer.
Kaptoum joined Barcelona from the Samuel Eto’o Academy as a youngster in 2008.
The midfielder went on to represent Cameroon’s Under-20s and featured regularly for Barcelona B in 2015-16.
This was the same season in which he scored in one of his two appearances for the first team – a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Gary Neville’s Valencia (Barca had won the first leg 7-0).
Kaptoum left for Real Betis in 2018 and has since played for Almeria and MLS side New England Revolution.
He returned to Spain in January and helped Las Palmas win promotion to La Liga, but is currently unattached.
Chendri became the first Frenchman to join La Masia when he signed for Barcelona in 2012, but FIFA handed Barcelona a transfer ban and banned Chendri from playing until he was 16 as a result.
Following this verdict, Chendri’s mother gave an interview with Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, stating that FIFA’s decision was doing more harm to the young footballers concerned than the clubs who had breached the rules.
Things were a lot less dramatic once Chendri returned to action; he left Barca in 2016 before spells in France, Denmark and Spain. He is currently playing for Zamora in the Spanish third tier.
The second player from Cameroon on our list, Enguene spent his time at Barcelona with the B team before moving to Turkish side Antalyaspor in 2016.
The midfielder has never played more than 30 times for any club during his career, including spells in Portugal, Kuwait and Georgia. Now 27, he plays for Valencian side Olimpic de Xativa.
After turning heads for his performances in Manchester City’s youth set-up, Suarez returned to Spain as a 19-year-old in 2013.
He continued his development in the B team at first before going out on loan to Sevilla before being sold to Villarreal and bought back after a season.
Finally, after a long wait, the midfielder finally got opportunities during the 2016-17 season, making 36 appearances in all competitions as Barcelona missed out on both the league and Champions League.
He failed to make a place for himself in the team and rejoined boyhood club Celta Vigo in the summer of 2019. The 29-year-old moved to Villarreal this summer and has made four appearances for his new club.
A strange back-and-forth career saw Deulofeu feature for Barcelona in different stints, with convoluted loans and buy-back schemes never seeing him quite settled anywhere until his mid-to-late 20s.
Best known for intermittently turning on the magic in the Premier League with Everton and Watford, Deulofeu is now turning out for Udinese. He’s now into his fourth season at the Stadio Friuli – his longest continuous spell at any club.
It's Gerard Deulofeu's birthday! 🥳
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) March 13, 2021
Traore became a Premier League cult hero during his time at Wolves, lathering himself in baby oil before scaring the life out of defenders with his size and speed.
Despite an unflattering goals and assist record, the winger even spent half-a-season back at Camp Nou in 2022 and helped Xavi’s side qualify for the Champions League from an unpromising position.
The Spain international joined Fulham this summer after his contract at Molineux expired. We still get excited whenever he’s in action.
The younger brother of Thiago Alcantara, Rafinha stuck around at Barcelona a lot longer than his famous sibling.
His talents have seen him go on to represent Brazil like his World Cup-winning father Mazinho, unlike Spain international Thiago.
Rafinha won Olympic Gold with the Selecao in 2016 and was on the fringes of Barcelona’s squad as they won a raft of silverware between 2011 and 2020. But injuries curtailed his career and he failed to kick on at PSG.
The 31-year-old has since joined Qatari side Al-Arabi.
Espinosa failed to break into the Barcelona midfield, and moved to Villarreal on a free transfer in 2014.
However, the Spaniard continued to struggle and was eventually loaned out and released by the La Liga side.
After a few more loans, Espinosa has played in Cyprus for AEK Larnaca since 2021.
The Cameroonian arrived as a 13-year-old at Barcelona through Samuel Eto’o’s foundation back in 2008.
He since broke through to the star for the B team and made three appearances for the first team in 2013-14, scoring once.
Dongou has since spent the majority of his career in the lower reaches of the Spanish football pyramid, with a spell at Greek second-tier side Anagennisi Karditsa thrown in too.
He last played for FC Osaka in Japan.
Ramirez scored seven goals in 32 appearances for Barca after being promoted to the senior squad by Luis Enrique in 2014.
The forward followed that with 16 goals in 31 appearances at Malaga to earn his Premier League move only to spend the majority of his time at Everton back on loan in Spain with Sevilla, Real Sociedad and Real Valladolid.
His goalscoring touch has seemingly vanished, having recorded just 18 strikes in all competitions since the start of the 2017-18 season. He’s recently joined La Liga new boys Las Palmas.
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