The youngest players to debut for Barcelona since 2000

For a club so rich in silverware and winning trophies mercilessly, you’d think Barcelona were exclusively spending big money to achieve such riches.

They do – and in recent years they’ve spent aimlessly and had no success to show for it – but when at their best, they balance that cutting edge quality with the highest level of ability from their youth ranks.

La Blaugrana have blooded in some of football’s greatest players from their academy and continue to do so. 90min lists the 30 youngest players to ever make their debut for the club.

Munir is making it work in Seville | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona snapped up the highly-rated Munir from Atletico Madrid’s academy amid interest among Europe and it felt like they had a star on their hands.

He made his official debut for the first team in August 2014 and scored in a 3-0 win, but never truly kicked on and moved to Sevilla in 2019 after falling into the trap of repeated loan spells.

Cuenca represents Spain at under-21 level | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Centre back Jorge Cuenca was handed his debut in the Copa del Rey by Ernesto Valverde in November 2018, but never managed to make a league appearance before leaving in 2020.

Barcelona slapped a mammoth 20% future sale fee on his head when they sold him to Villarreal, so are expecting some level of profit from the Spaniard.

Alena is trying to impress away on loan | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Midfielder Alena’s debut feels some time ago at this point.

The midfielder scored on his debut in late 2016 and was nominated for the 2018 Golden Boy award, but spent the second half of the 2020/21 season on loan at Getafe having failed to earn enough minutes under Ronald Koeman.

Looks weird, doesn’t it? | Denis Doyle/Getty Images

That’s right. Southampton hard man Oriol Romeu is actually Barcelona alumni.

He debuted for the club in the Spanish Supercup in August 2010, but moved to England with Chelsea a year later and has carved out a successful Premier League career since.

Busquets moved to Twente for senior minutes | ANP Sport/Getty Images

Having been with the club since the age of eight, a first team debut in November 2017 was the dream for Oriol Busquets.

He tore his meniscus in early 2018, though, which has stunted his development. A loan to FC Twente and return to Barcelona B has followed since, but there is still plenty of time for Busquets to return to the first team and form the Busquets/Busquets midfield pair with Sergio that football needs.

Crosas is now retired | LatinContent/Getty Images

Midfielder Crosas spent his youth with Barcelona and debuted in 2006 by replacing Andres Iniesta in the Copa del Rey – no pressure, then.

He swapped Spain for Scotland in 2008 after signing for Celtic and, despite a poor spell in Russia, did carve out a successful career in Mexico while also turning out for the Catalonia national team.

Jeffren bagged a goal in an El Classico | Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Jeffren was born in Venezuela but moved to Tenerife aged one and was on the books with Barcelona soon enough.

The forward debuted in the same Copa del Rey clash as Crosas and soon caught the eye of Pep Guardiola in the late 2000s, but never managed to break into his side and left the club in 2011. He did, however, depart with an El Clasico goal to his name from that 5-0 win in 2010.

Miranda is impressing on loan | Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Having started out with Real Betis, Miranda’s talent earned him a move to Barcelona in 2014, before making his first team debut for La Blaugrana four years later.

He’s spent the 2020/21 season on loan back at Betis, but has impressed and earned regular La Liga minutes with the side. With Jordi Alba ageing, he’s putting himself in a good position to stake his claim at left back in future.

Roberto has racked up a decade of service for Barcelona | Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Having impressed with Barcelona B as a 17-year-old, Roberto earned a first team debut in the cup in 2010 under Pep Guardiola.

Six La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues later, the Spaniard serves as the utility man among the squad these days – even if some fans aren’t all that keen on him anymore.

Rafinha now plays for PSG | John Berry/Getty Images

Brazilian midfielder Rafinha left his country for Barcelona aged 13 and made his Barcelona debut in November 2011 after impressing in the reserves.

Injuries and inconsistencies blighted his Barça career which remained trophy-laden, before he officially left the club in 2020 when he signed for Paris Saint-Germain. A long time on the books.

Dongou came through the Samuel Eto’o academy | Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

The Samuel Eto’o academy proved to be Cameroonian forward Dongou’s gateway to Barcelona in 2008.

He debuted for the first team in December 2013, but never really nailed down a spot in the squad and trickled down the lower tiers of Spain before playing in Finland in 2020.

Halilovic is playing Championship football | Jan Kruger/Getty Images

When Halilovic emerged on the scene and signed for Barcelona in 2014, it looked like yet another cheat code of a young starlet.

It never really worked out, though, and moves to Germany and Italy also failed to bring out the best in the Croatian. He’s since ended up in the English second tier; from Barcelona to Birmingham.

✅ ALTA | Ramon Maso @RMaso12

Anunciem la 3a incorporació per la temporada 19-20. En Ramon, procedent de La Jonquera, aportarà polivalència defensiva i experiència ?

‼️Benvingut i molta sort Ramon‼️#somhiTona #1cat1

— Fundació UE Tona (@FundacioUETona) July 2, 2019

Midfielder Ramon Maso made his debut for the first team in 2006, but has since spent a career playing in Spanish football’s largely ignored lower tiers.

Barcelona won La Liga in the season he debuted, though, so he can always claim that he’s won the Spanish top flight.

Assulin never kicked on | IAN KINGTON/Getty Images

Assulin was tipped to follow Pep Guardiola from Barcelona B upto the first team when he was appointed manager in 2008.

He eventually did, and made his debut for the club in October 2009, but left in 2010 having not been assured first team football. A move to Manchester City followed, but the winger has since played just about everywhere from Israel to Romania.

Iniesta has won the lot | David Ramos/Getty Images

Moving away from his family to join La Masia, Andres Iniesta quickly made an impact at Barcelona in their youth ranks.

After being blooded in for the first time in 2002, Iniesta was a regular by 2005, and one of the greatest players in the world shortly after. The most decorated Spanish footballer ever, Barça didn’t do badly with Iniesta.

Gomez currently plays for Sevilla | Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Despite having a world beater-sounding name and debuting under Guardiola in 2010, Sergi Gomez never really made a dent in Barcelona’s first team set-up.

A move away in 2014 proved smart, with Gomez enjoying a solid four years with Celta Vigo before moving on again.

Giovani has enjoyed a successful career at a lower level | Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

What do Giovani dos Santos and Kurt Angle have in common? They both have an Olympic gold medal to their name. Seriously.

Dos Santos debuted with Barcelona in 2007 and was raved about from there on in, but signed for Tottenham in 2008 in search of first team football. It never worked out at the top level, but the Mexican has since enjoyed success in North America and his native Mexico.

Olazabal remains in Spain | Eric Alonso/Getty Images

Goalkeepers have it difficult; it’s incredibly hard to find a way into a side, because you can’t be flexible with positions.

Olazabal was handed his Barcelona debut with La Liga wrapped up in May 2008, but has since spent his career fighting to be a number one across Spain.

Reina’s best years came after Barcelona | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Injuries to first and second choice options saw Barça call on an 18-year-old Pepe Reina in 2000.

He never truly found his feet with the club, but blossomed into a fine keeper later on with Liverpool and has served as a reliable pair of hands across Europe – if you can ignore a weird spell with Aston Villa.

Guardiola snatched Thiago away from Barcelona | JOSEP LAGO/Getty Images

Pep Guardiola handed a debut to Thiago with La Liga already won in in May 2009, and it became clear that Barcelona had a star on their hands.

Thiago continued to ease his way into the first team, but left for Bayern Munich in 2013 when Guardiola signed him for the German side. He’s not done that badly since.

The youngsters have stepped up under Koeman at Barcelona | David Ramos/Getty Images

Guinean-born Spaniard Ilaix Moriba was almost snatched away from Barcelona by interested European heavyweights in January 2019, but he eventually agreed to a new contract.

Moriba has since been used in the first team under Ronald Koeman and been a breakout star. He debuted in the Copa del Rey in January 2021, and registered an assist on his league debut some weeks later.

Pedri is a special player | Aitor Alcalde Colomer/Getty Images

The standout star in the Koeman era thus far, Pedri has been a delight in a season of uncertainty for Barça fans.

Pedri signed for the club from Las Palmas in 2019 but only made his first team debut in September 2020. He has excelled when given space to roam from a midfield position and looks set for a bright career.

Yes, he’s always been built like The Rock | JOSEP LAGO/Getty Images

It’s somewhat hard to believe a player as infuriating as Adama Traore came through the ranks at Barcelona.

He made his debut in 2013, but left for England in 2015. His pace and power is second to none, but he cannot get his numbers up in front of goal for the life of him.

Barcelona just couldn’t decide on Deulofeu | Power Sport Images/Getty Images

He’s had a strange career, has Gerard Deulofeu.

He emerged as one of football’s finest prospects in 2011/12, impressed on loan at Everton and was expected to enter Barcelona’s first team in 2014 before being loaned again. He signed for Everton, then returned to Barcelona, but then left again after half a season back at Camp Nou.

Riera was a success in Australia with Western Sydney Wanderers | Tony Feder/Getty Images

A hat-trick of Oriols, Riera’s career highlight wasn’t actually his 13 minute debut in 2003.

It was actually a half season spell with Wigan in June 2014, because who wouldn’t consider a spell with the Latics their career highlight?

Nano Macedo wrestles for possession | RAFA RIVAS/Getty Images

Beginning as a defender, Nano looked exciting having played with the reserves at just 16.

He debuted in 1999, but then faded out of the limelight and made a career out of the Spanish second tier.

No list entries can ever do this man any justice | David Ramos/Getty Images

A little Argentinian boy caught the eye of Barcelona when impressing for Newell’s Old Boys as a youth and relocated to Europe aged 13 to sign for the club.

After ripping through Barcelona’s youth and reserve groups, Lionel Messi debuted against Espanyol in October 2004 at the request of the club’s senior players. Six Ballon d’Or awards and 35 club trophies later, that Argentine hasn’t done so bad.

Stoke-a-lona, good times… | Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Spanish defender Muniesa was developing rapidly in Barcelona’s academy and his progress was prompting interest from within Europe within his teenage years.

La Blaugrana handed him his debut for the first team with the league wrapped up in May 2009. Injuries and inconsistencies meant it wasn’t destined to be at Barcelona, thus the obvious next step in 2013 was a move to Stoke City.

When your mum says you’ve got Lionel Messi at home in the freezer… | Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

When Bojan broke Messi’s record to become Barcelona’s youngest debutant in September 2007, the hype surrounding him was immense.

A record ten goals in his debut season added to the hype and he was seriously considered ‘the next Messi’. It never truly took off beyond that, though, and after leaving Barcelona for a second time in 2014 to sign for Stoke, it was the end for him as a potential world beater.

Ansu Fati is Barcelona’s youngest debutant | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

It’s taken Barcelona 12 years to find the right person to become their youngest debutant since the Bojan debacle, but it happened in 2019 with Ansu Fati.

There is a belief that Fati is a genuinely special talent. A bright start to the 2020/21 season was derailed by a nasty meniscus tear, but there is still plenty of time for the teenage Spaniard to turn heads once again.

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