As painful as our loss in el Clasico was, there was many positives to take away from the game. One facet in particular that I would love to discuss is how well the Barça youngsters performed and how representative that night in Madrid was in terms of our bright future.
Some of Barça’s youngsters might be inferior to their opponent physically, while others simply don’t possess the understanding of the game that the older players do. Yet these aren’t permanent issues. Those things will come with time and patience. What matters is that, despite their inferiority in many aspects, these young players are ready to fight for the badge. We saw that in Pedri, in Mingueza, Araújo, Ilaix.. Every single one of them loves the club, and that’s crucial.
And this is the exact reason why the fans are screaming for the club to rely on youth. Barça have so much talent that it simply cannot be wasted. Not only are they capable to be on top of the football world within a couple of years, but they also give everything to defend the club’s colours.
I’ve said it many times: Barça don’t necessarily need too much money in order to reinforce the team. La Masia is always the solution. Even in a game of el Clasico’s magnitude, it was the Barça youngsters that once again stepped up. This is what Barça should be proud of.
Oscar Mingueza as an example to follow
If I had to name one player as the epitome of our youngsters’ passion, it would undoubtedly be Oscar Mingueza. Within half a year, he’s gone from an underrated Barça B player to the man of the match in his first el Clasico; a true inspiration for the upcoming youngsters at La Masia.
Mingueza broke into the first team in late November. It was due to the fact that Clément Lenglet was Koeman’s only centre-back option at the time. He looked like a temporary solution, yet he seized his opportunity and really impressed. Obviously, there’s a reason why Oscar hadn’t made it to the first team dynamics before. He did prove quite prone to mistakes. However, it seemed like he improved with every game that he played. And you would be right to stay optimistic about his future at the club.
Nevertheless, if anyone told you that he would be starting in el Clasico 2 months ago, you would not believe it. Despite showing signs of improvement, Mingueza didn’t look like a player who would stay at the heart of our defense for years. Yet the 3 at the back has favored him. He has more freedom to move forward as well as more defensive security behind him. Oscar put in stellar performances week in week out. And he now seems like a brilliant option for games of any magnitude.
In Mingueza’s own words, his goal in el Clasico was ‘meaningless’ without the win. This perfectly sums up Oscar: hard-working, passionate and a genuine winner. He is far from perfect. Yet there’s no doubt that Oscar Mingueza’s desire and determination will push him to the very top. What a story…