F.C. Barcelona ended their match in a draw last night against Mallorca, despite trailing. Mallorca capitalized on the chances Barca gave them and scored two goals, thanks to a mistake by Ter Stegen. However, despite some poor individual performances, yesterday was also a day for La Masia’s graduates. Gavi was outstanding all over the pitch, delivering an amazing performance that earned him recognition. Then came the late La Masia duo, Lamine Yamal and Fermin Lopez, who were substituted in for Joao Felix and Oriol Romeu in the 64th minute. Fermin Lopez, the 20-year-old, only needed eight minutes to score his first official goal for Football Club Barcelona, which equalized the team while trailing 2-1.
Route in La Masia
Fermin Lopez arrived at Barca in 2016 when he was just 13, and in seven years, he has proven to be the epitome of La Masia graduates. The Andalusian began at Betis and went through Linares. His midfield presence was evident when he came on for Barca in the last minutes of a preseason match against Real Madrid, where he scored and assisted. He was the talk of the town for the week and gained attention from football fans. However, when the league started, he barely had any playing time, coming on as a late substitute against Villarreal for no more than 4 minutes. With world-class players like Frenkie De Jong, Pedri, and Gundogan, playing time was expected. But the unfortunate month-long injuries of Frenkie and Pedri gave Fermin a golden opportunity.
First goal in La Liga
Fermin Lopez was not hesitant to use his golden opportunity yesterday. He came on in the 64th minute for Barca and showcased his technical skills. A run and pass to Raphinha from his La Masia mate, Lamie Yamal, resulted in a pass through the center. A good combination from Lewandowski to let the ball pass through him, and Fermin Lopez’s run into the space and shot to put the ball in the back of the net, resulting in an excellent team goal.
Xavi identified Fermin Lopez’s importance to the squad after being impressed with his loan stint at Linares last season. When asked about Fermin, Xavi praised him, saying, “Fermin is a great discovery. He’s a player to take into account who can be very important.” He was given 26 minutes yesterday, during which he intervened 12 times, and had a pass success rate of 87%. He created three chances and scored on his first shot. Xavi’s tactics were crucial in deploying him.
Fermin Lopez displayed great character and a hunger for success during the recent international break as well. He dedicated himself to playing in the Barca Atletic’s match during the break. But unluckily, he received a red card, resulting in his expulsion from the Barcelona – Betis match as well. What we witnessed from the 20-year-old might just be the beginning of another great La Masia product. Xavi was disappointed with only one point yesterday, but the match showed that Barcelona is on the right path under Xavi.