Barcelona Youth Team Prospects to Keep an Eye On

Tre' Atkinson@@TreAtkinsonFeatured ColumnistOctober 10, 2013

Barcelona Youth Team Prospects to Keep an Eye On

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    The world is quite aware of the fame and talent of those coming through Barcelona’s fabled La Masia.

    Every year more stars find the spotlight and this season is no different.

    In this article we will take a quick look at a few promising players from the Barcelona youth ranks and reveal if they have a future at the club or not.

    For this specific list, I have included only players aged 18 and younger. This list is in no way meant to cover every rising La Masia star. That would be a very long list.

    Note that player information is courtesy of Barcelona’s player pages on

Alex Grimaldo

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    If you follow Barcelona regularly, then you will be quite aware of Alex Grimaldo.

    The Barcelona left-back just turned 18 a few weeks ago but has always seemed older than his stated age. He has spent most of his youth career playing with much older players and that is continuing at Barcelona B.

    Grimaldo has already been capped by Spain’s U-19 and U-21 side, showing just how promising the young defender is.

    He is known for his pace and is one of the quickest defenders to come out of La Masia recently. The teenager is just as capable of attacking as he is defending and is drawing comparisons with Barcelona’s Jordi Alba.

    Having just joined the reserve team, it will be a few years before he is ready to compete at the top level.

    By that time Adriano is unlikely still to be wearing the Barcelona shirt, giving Grimaldo a good chance of earning a backup role in the first team.

Sergi Samper

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    There is no other way to describe Sergi Samper than to compare him with Sergio Busquets.

    The 18-year-old midfielder is tall and can read the game better than anyone his age should be able to. He is phenomenal at breaking up play and also happens to be quite an able passer.

    His comparisons to Busquets may seem like a bit of conjecture, but they are actually quite accurate. The two play the same position in the exact same way and with very similar style.

    Samper has already been recognised internationally and is arguably the best upcoming defensive midfielder in Spain’s youth ranks.

    He should have a future in the Barcelona first team. By the time he ready to make the move, Busquets will likely need a young backup and there is nobody better equipped for that than Sergi Samper.

Sandro Ramirez

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    Sandro Ramirez has just recently put his name out there for the world to see. The 18-year-old performed brilliantly in recent matches for Spain’s U-19 side and people have taken notice.

    Ramirez features as a centre-forward and does the job well. He has a tremendous eye for goal and can score in a plethora of ways.

    He may not be the biggest, strongest or fastest striker, but Ramirez knows how to get the job done. He has been one of Barcelona’s most promising strikers in recent years and has deserved the praise he has received.

    It will be hard for Ramirez to break into the first team. There are other young strikers such as Jean Marie Dongou who will be fighting for a place as well.

    Promoting a young striker is always difficult to do. Ramirez will have a great future, but it may not be at Barcelona.

Fabrice Ondoa

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    It’s time to start keeping a close eye on Fabrice Ondoa. The 17-year-old Barcelona keeper may just be one of the best young players on the planet in his position.

    Having joined Barcelona through the Samuel Eto’o academy in Cameroon, Ondoa is the real deal. He will likely make the jump to the Barcelona reserve side soon and could be a prime candidate to replace Victor Valdes in the long run.

    Ondoa has wonderful hands and plays well with the ball at his feet. He is known for making miraculous saves and has impeccable positioning. He does things that no one his age should be able to do.

    If Ondoa does not at least get a shot at the first team, it will be shocking. The promise he has shown pegs him as a remarkable star in the making and Barcelona would be unwise to let him leave without giving him a chance.

Rodrigo Tarin

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    Allow me to be very honest for a moment. There are a lot of stars at La Masia who get plaudits around the world, but there are also those gems who somehow go unnoticed.

    Rodrigo Tarin is one of those gems.

    The 17-year-old centre-back is not just one of the best defenders to come through La Masia recently: he could end up being one of the best ever.

    If that doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will.

    He is a pure defender who knows how to take the ball off an attacker as well as win the ball in the air. He is always a vocal leader and makes very few mistakes. He has drawn comparisons to both Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos but has the talent one day to become even better.

    There is no such thing as a sure thing when talking about young players, but Tarin is about as close as it gets. Keep a very close eye on the defender and expect to see his name in the papers very soon.

    Tarin should earn his place in the first team in a few years. His talent level is very high and the sky is the limit for him. Who knows? Maybe one day the Barcelona back line will be led by the duo of Marc Bartra and Rodrigo Tarin.

    Which youth players are you the most excited about? Who do you see in the Barcelona’s first team? Leave your thoughts and comments below!

    Tre’ Atkinson. Follow me on Twitter for more discussions on FC Barcelona!