Barcelona U19 Youth League 17-18 Winners – Where are they now?

On the 23rd of April, 2018 Barcelona U19 beat Chelsea U19s 3-0 to win their second UEFA Youth League trophy. On their way to the final, they beat Olympiacos, Juventus, Sporting CP, PSG, Atletico Madrid and Manchester City.

Youngsters during the Youth League met well-known youngsters like now AC Milan’s Rafael Leão. At the time he played for Sporting CP youth team. Also, other talented youngsters like Francisco Montero, Luís Maximiano, Thierry Correia, Tiago Djaló, Timothy Weah, Yacine Adli, Éric Ebimbe, Stanley Nsoki, Lukas Nmecha, Rabbi Matondo and now Barcelona linked Eric García who met with his old teammates in the semi-final with Manchester City. In the final Juvenil A beat a very talented Chelsea team. With youngsters like Tariq Lamptey, Reece James, Marc Guehi, Callum Hudson-Odoi and others.

Barcelona U19s in 10 games won 9 and drew once against Sporting CP in the group stage. The team was led by Gabri for 3 games, before leaving to manage FC Sion at the end of October. With his departure, Juvenil B coach was promoted to become Juvenil A coach who at the time was García Pimienta. Pimienta took over the team for the UEFA Youth League, taking the team to the final and eventually winning it.

Barcelona youngsters scored 23 goals and conceded only 5 goals, with 4 those coming in the semi-final against Manchester City. The team managed to keep a clean sheet on 8 occasions. Moreover, Carles Pérez was the top scorer of the team with 7 goals scored and Juan Miranda the top assister with 5 goals assisted during the campaign.
So how did the winning squad managed their careers after winning the UEFA Youth League and where are they now?

Honourable Mentions:

Arnau Comas

Arnau played a significant role in the squad playing 6 games for Barcelona U19s. But was eventually dropped in the final for Chumi. After winning the youth league he spent one more season at Juvenil A, before getting promoted to Barcelona B in 2019. However soon he left on loan to UE Olot because the likes of Ronald Araujo, Jorge Cuenca, Chumi and Óscar Mingueza ahead in the pecking order at centre-back.

If he stayed, he would have been the 5th option at the back. Deciding to leave on loan for game time and trying to develop further he managed to play 16 games in Segunda B, while also making a Copa del Rey debut. That season he accumulated around 1452 minutes. After coming back from a loan in the 20/21 season he showed how much he improved, becoming one of the leaders at the back. This season he is one of the most used players by Garcia Pimienta, playing around 1954 minutes and scoring 2 goals for Barcelona B.

Jorge Cuenca

Despite playing only 2 games for Juvenil A in the Youth League. He showed what kind of player he is. And soon enough was starting for Barcelona B in Segunda A, therefore he wasn’t part of the youth squad for a long time. Jorge Cuenca continued to play a key role for Barcelona B up to 2020, even making his Barcelona first-team debut in the Copa del Rey against Cultural Leonesa.

However, at the end of September 2020, he was sold to Villarreal for €2.50m, with Barcelona including a buy-back option. Eventually, Jorge Cuenca admitted, that he was sold not, due to sporting decision, but rather to help the club financially and was happy to stay with the team and wait for his chance in the first team. In the same transfer window, he was loaned out to Segunda A side Almeria, where he already managed 30 games for them and scoring on three occasions. Jorge is now considered as one of the best centre-backs in the second division.

Monchu

Having played 6 games for the team and contributing with one goal. Monchu was a leading figure in recent Barcelona B successes in Segunda B. In his first full season at Barcelona B under Garcia Pimienta in 31 games, he picked up himself 2 goals and 4 assists. In the 19/20 season, he had a spectacular season managing to contribute with 13 goal contributions in 29 games for Barcelona B of which 10 were goals.

That season Barcelona B led by Monchu were close to getting promoted back to Segunda A but were defeated in the play-off final losing 1-2 against Sabadell. In August of 2020, he made his debut for Barcelona in Champions League against Napoli, however played only 6 minutes. At the start of the 20/21 season, he was loaned out to Girona FC with an option to buy for Girona, if they get promoted to La Liga. So far this season Monchu has played 32 games scoring 2 goals and assisting once.

Sergio Gómez

Sergio managed only 3 games for Barcelona U19s, before Dortmund activated his release clause of €3.00m, with his contract expiring in the summer of 2018. After playing for the Dortmund subsidiary team, he was loaned out to Huesca in 2019 for 2 seasons with the club having an option to buy him. In his first season at Huesca, he played 36 games scoring once and managing 3 assists helping the team to get promoted to La Liga. So far this season he played 21 games, managing to pick a single assist against Celta Vigo.

First XI:

Goalkeeper:

Iñaki Peña

After his incredible performances for Juvenil A, he was promoted to Barcelona B in the summer of 2018. Playing a key role for the past 2 seasons Iñaki was the first-choice goalkeeper for Barcelona B. So far, he already played 50 matches for Barça B and is patiently waiting for his chance in the first team. As per rumours, Inaki could become the backup to Ter-Stegen next season if Neto will be sold.

Center Backs

Chumi

Juan played a key role in the defence of Barcelona youngsters playing in all 10 games, starting in 9 of those. In the summer he was officially promoted to Barcelona B. In the 18/19 season, he and Cuenca were the main partnership at the back in Segunda B. The same season he made his debut for Barcelona in Copa del Rey against Cultural Leonesa under Ernesto Valverde. The coach trusted him enough to play him in 3 Copa games the same season. However, in the 19/20 season, he hit a dip in form with the club eventually deciding not to renew him. Then he left to Almeria in a free deal, where he already managed to play in 12 matches.

Óscar Mingueza

After winning UYL he was promoted to Barcelona B playing 15 matches in his first season. After playing 35 games for Barcelona B, Mingueza was promoted to the first team in the 20/21 season against all odds. Oscar came into the first team, due to the injuries of other centre-backs but after his impressive debut in Champions League against Dynamo, he stayed in the first team dynamics managing to play 34 games for the first team and helping with 4 goal contributions.

Full Backs

Juan Miranda

In the 18/19 season, he was officially promoted to Barcelona B, from that season he played 30 games scoring 2 goals and assisting thrice. Promising left-back made his debut for Barcelona first team in 2018 in Copa del Rey against Cultural Leonesa. The same season he debuted in the Champions League playing against Spurs. However, Barcelona sent him on loan to Schalke 04 in the summer of 2019 for 2 seasons. Unfortunately, for Miranda he wasn’t participating as much as he wanted and was called up back to Barcelona one season earlier. This season Juan Miranda is playing on loan at Real Betis and already played 19 games for them scoring twice and assisting once.

Mateu Morey

Mateu left Barcelona in 2019 joining Borussia Dortmund. In his first season at Dortmund, he played 11 games for the subsidiary team. However, after the pandemic break, he was called up to the first team making his debut against Paderborn. He managed to pick up an assist after 3 minutes he was subbed in. So far this season for Dortmund he played 23 games in all competitions while managing to pick up himself 3 assists in 12 Bundesliga games.

Midfielders:

Jandro Orellana

Jandro was officially promoted to Barcelona B in 2019. Playing 25 games for Barcelona the same season he helped the team to fight for promotion, however, the team was beaten in the final. This season Jandro played a key role at the start of the subsidiary team’s campaign, picking up his first goal and assist for Barcelona B. However, his progress was slowed down with minor injuries keeping him out of the pitch for a few weeks. Orellana’s contract expires this summer, but as per reports Barcelona wants to trigger the clause in his contract of additional 2 seasons.

Riqui Puig

During the UYL Riqui picked up 3 goals and 3 assists in 10 games, showcasing what a talented player he is. The same season he made his debut for Barcelona B in the second division against Nastic. In his first full season for Barcelona B, he picked up 7 assists in 32 games, while making his La Liga debut against Huesca. Also providing his first assist for Barcelona first-team against Cultural Leonesa in Copa del Rey.

After the pandemic break, Riqui had spectacular performances with one of the best ones against Alaves where he picked up himself 2 assists and was close to scoring on 2 occasions. However, this season under Koeman he has suffered due to lack of playing time, despite appearing in 21 games in all competitions. This season so far, he accumulated only 497 minutes of football and scored one goal.

Álex Collado

After winning UEFA Youth League Collado is still at Barcelona, playing for the subsidiary team. Managing to play 80 games he picked up 18 goals and 10 assists for Barcelona B. In the 18/19 season, Alex made his debut for the first team. It was in La Liga against Celta Vigo playing 84 minutes. At the end of the 19/20 season, Collado was thinking of leaving the club on loan or permanently. However, Garcia Pimienta convinced the player to stay and fight for his dream making it into the first team. This season so far in 19 games he scored 8 goals and assisted on three occasions. As per recent reports, Alex will be with the first-team to do pre-season. His future will be decided if he stays with the first team or he leaves on loan.

Attack

Carles Pérez

Carles was the top scorer for Barcelona U19s, scoring 7 goals in the tournament. During his time at Barcelona B, he played 55 games in both Segunda A and B divisions. Scoring 13 goals and assisting 6 times. At the end of the 18/19 season, he made his debut for Barcelona first-team against Eibar playing 17 minutes. Due to injuries in the attack, Carles was promoted to the first team in the 19/20 season. He scored in his Champions League debut against Inter Milan, while participating in 10 La Liga games scoring once, and assisting 3 goals.

However, in January he was loaned to Roma with a compulsory option to buy the player for €11.00m. Despite Carles willingness to stay with Barcelona B, Barcelona sold him for economic reasons. In his Europa League debut, he scored the winning goal against Grenk. So far Carles played 45 games for AS Roma scoring 4 goals and assisting 5 times.

Abel Ruiz

Despite being a number “9”, Abel played as a left winger from quarter finals up to the final of UYL. Abel played 68 games for Barcelona B. During his time as a player he picked up 9 goals and 3 assists. In the 18/19 season he made his debut for the first team in La Liga against Getafe.

After struggling for form, he was loaned out to Braga. The deal had a compulsory option to buy him for €8.00m with a buy-back option of €40m. After a difficult start to his Braga campaign, this season Abel emerged. He finally shows the talent he had in his youth teams. So far this season in 32 games he scored 10 goals and 5 assists. With his most impressive numbers coming in the cup games scoring 7 goals and assisting twice in 6 games. Including scoring a brace against FC Porto in the semi-finals of the cup competition.

Alejandro Marqués

Alejandro scored 7 goals in 10 UYL games in 2 seasons. He managed 22 games for Barcelona B, before being sold to Juventus for €8.20m in the January of 2020. Now he is playing at Juventus U23 in Serie C, which is 3rd division of Italian football. So far in 23 games, he picked up 7 goals and 2 assists. Until now he hasn’t made an official debut for the first team of Juventus.

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