Another La Masia sensation who continues to score goals for the teams he plays for – is Toni Fernández. A versatile forward, that is also capable of playing in the midfield, showcases his talent this season even more as he makes noise around the club and among the culers.
Antonio Fernández also known as Toni Fernández, was born on the 15th of July, 2008 in Rubi, a province of Barcelona, Spain. Toni started playing football at an early age in a local club – Juventud 25 de Septiembre. When he was 6, Espanyol offered him a scholarship and took him to tournaments with a team from Escola RCDE. This is when Barcelona started following him. Eventually, Toni joined Espanyol’s academy and spent a few years there. It wasn’t until he turned 10 that Marc Serra and Albert Puig managed to obtain the club’s permission to make an offer for him to join Barça. At the same time, Toni cousin Guille Fernández was offered to join the club.
Eventually, Toni joined La Masia’s Alevin C (U11) team. In 2020 he was promoted to Infantil B, the first stage of Football 11 in La Masia. At the club, they had some doubts, about whether his transition from football 7 to football 11 would go smoothly. As he would be playing against players who are older than him and physically more developed.
Despite, the worries and Covid. Toni crushed those doubts and had an outstanding season, scoring 11 goals and providing many assists. “Usually, he played as a right-winger with the freedom to receive on the wing or move into interior positions and he did so at a very high level” – says one of his coaches. Next season he did not stop and improved his numbers. Scoring 15 goals and picking up at least 6 assists for Infantil A. In 2022, he was promoted to Cadet B. T here he exploded, managing to score an astonishing number of goals. 29 goals to be exact, while also picking up at least 9 assists.
This means that Toni alone participated in 36% of the teams goals. In the 23/24 season, Toni was promoted straight to Juvenil B from Cadet B. Skipping the entire Cadet A stage, due to his extraordinary performances for Pol Planas’ Cadet B. Despite playing against 18–19-year-olds, the 15-year-old youngster has adapted well to the juvenile environment. And this season already has 6 goals and 2 assists. Moreover, he also scored a goal for Cadet A, when he dropped down a category to help his former teammates.
Toni Fernández is also a regular for Spain Youth NT. While he was at Cadet B, he got a call up for Spain U15, making his debut against Croatia U15. A few days later in a match against Cyprus U15 he scored his first goal for Spain. In total for Spain U15, he participated in 7 games, scoring 3 goals and picking up 1 assist in 457 minutes of game time. This season he got a call up for Spain U16, managing to pick up 2 goals for them.
However, his time at Spain U16 was very short. As just a few weeks later he got a call up for Spain U17, an age category above his own. In his first game for the U17 side, he picked up a goal and an assist. With the same goal he became the second youngest goalscorer for Spain U17 at the age of 15 years 3 months and 10 days. Losing out the number one spot to another Barcelona talent Lamine Yamal just by 7 days.
Toni’s great start to the season was recognized by the club. And just a few weeks ago he trained under the orders of Rafa Márquez at Barça Atlètic. Those who watched him and his coaches mention that Toni “is a player who has the ball glued to his feet, he resembles the best futsal players.” And on that note let’s analyze the playing style of Barcelona’s sensation Toni Fernández.
Similar player: Karim Benzema & Antoine Griezmann
Toni Fernández is a left-footed striker and right-winger. Who is also able to play as an interior or as a #10. The versatile player stands out for his ability in front of the goal. Capable of scoring from outside the box or inside it. His intelligence, great positioning and understanding of the game allows him to receive the ball. In order to combine with his teammates or set himself up for a goalscoring opportunity. His technique, passing ability and vision also make him a creative outlet for his teammates.
Whenever possible he tends to drop deep to receive the ball. He likes to combine with other players to create better opportunities for him or his teammates. “While dropping down he looks forward. To organize a more vertical moment of the game. Since he can dribble and fix opponents or filter passes or even make a good long pass. In order to open up the wing or put a ball into space behind the opponent’s defensive line” says one of his previous coaches. When Toni plays in midfield his ball control, combined with dribbling ability allows him to manoeuvre in tight spaces. The way it seems that the ball is glued to his feet can remind you of a certain Barcelona player – Pedri. Toni is also a capable set-piece and penalty taker. Able to score free-kicks or create chances for his teammates is not a problem for the youngster.
One of his previous coaches mentioned – that he moves well between the lines, behind rival defenders. Capable of receiving in very tight spaces, turning with a feint. Which helps to make the defender think he’s doing one thing, but then he ends up doing something different. Toni’s muscle tone wasn’t outstanding when he was young. I was told that during around Cadet year, “he started to look more at his conditional work and even details of nutrition”. Which gave him a much stronger lower body, which he used to shield and hold the ball. Those who know Toni describe him as a humble and hardworking person. While noting that “usually players with such type of game are often more conceited, while he is not and he has his feet on the ground”.
Future at the club
At the end of this season, Toni will have to sign his professional contract. Due to the clubs’ finances, Barcelona will need to offer a sporting project, which will satisfy the player and his family. If everything goes right Toni Fernández has the potential to reach the first team one day. However, before that, the youngster like any other needs to be patient and continue working hard. To develop their game and to make that transition from youth football to the professional level easier. It needs to be seen what position he will occupy in the future, striker? right-winger? attacking midfielder or an interior? Let’s hope that Toni will be able to achieve his dreams, as he is a fascinating player to watch. Keep an eye on him and his future development in the coming years.
Potential Rating: 9/10
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