18-year-old defensive pearl returns to Barcelona first-team training

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Barcelona's Alexis Olmedo celebrates after scoring during a soccer game between Spanish FC Barcelona and Belgian Royal Antwerp FC, on Tuesday 19 September 2023 in Barcelona, Spain, on day 1 of the UEFA Youth League competition.
Photo by TOM GOYVAERTS/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

FC Barcelona have already completed the last training session ahead of the absolutely crucial match against Real Madrid in La Liga this Sunday. Xavi was able to count on almost all of his first-team players for this match, with only Alejandro Balde and Pablo Gavi the players absent as they are still recovering from their long-term injuries.

As Xavi had all these first-team players available, the trainer did not call up some of the players whom he had regularly called up recently, including Marc Guiu and Marc Casado.

However, as SPORT has reported, there was still one surprising youth-level player present training with the first team, i.e., the center-back Alexis Olmedo.

The player had undertaken his first training session under Xavi only a few days ago, and once again retained his training spot while other more experienced players were not called up.

Currently 18 years of age, the youngster has been at the Catalan club since 2013 when he joined from Nastic de Manresa aged 7. Thus, he is from the same batch as Pau Prim, Hector Fort, and Marc Guiu, and is only one year older than Pau Cubarsi.

He has already made his debut in the Primera Federacion, and while he played the last two games with Rafa Marquez’s Barcelona Atletic, he had to miss around 119 days this season after an injury suffered in October.

Furthermore, he also made himself notable in the UEFA Youth League as he played the first two games for Juvenil A as a left-back, and also scored a goal in the match against Antwerp.

His ability to anticipate opposition movements, speed in cutting out dangerous attacks, and good ball delivery make him a highly promising defender. He can also be influential in the opposition box, as his good heading ability allows him to score goals from set pieces.

While he is not expected to get on the pitch in such an important match against Real Madrid, or even get into the squad, the fact that Xavi called him up for training ahead of such a crucial match shows how much the Barcelona coach trusts his potential to be a differential player in the future.

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