19-year-old Barcelona starlet returns to bail out Rafa Marquez


BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 08: Ander Astralaga of FC Barcelona warm up prior to the Joan Gamper Trophy match between FC Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys on August 08, 2023 in Barcelona, Spain.
Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

Opportunities are scarce at FC Barcelona, and rightfully so given the stature and expectations of the club. Not every player is given an equal chance to shine, but those who do tend to want to retain them. As a consequence, not every Barcelona player remains content with their place.

This is especially true for young and upcoming starlets, who want a chance to prove themselves. Many have attempted and most of them have failed to make the impact they would ideally have wanted to. Instead, very few of those players ultimately end up becoming mainstays in the Barcelona first team.

One player who has unfortunately not been too fortunate with team selections has been Ander Astralaga. The 19-year-old Spanish keeper, despite receiving many call-ups to Xavi’s first team, is yet to officially play this season with said first team.

Now, according to SPORT, he has had to abandon his post on the bench under Xavi. The reasoning behind this is that Rafa Marquez, coach of Barcelona Atletic, seems to rely a lot more on Astralaga than Xavi does, and has already promised that the Spaniard will receive more opportunities this season.

Moreover, with a crucial match upcoming for the Barcelona Atletic, the 19-year-old will be needed by Marquez. His place in the first team’s training has been taken by Diego Kochen for now, who is also a youth goalkeeper mainly representing Barcelona Juvenil A.

Astralaga, on the other hand, will look to help Barça Atletic against Cultural Leonesa. Both teams are tied on points, and aim to reach greater heights than the other. With the stakes being high for both sides, Astralaga could be counted upon to be the point of difference for Marquez’s Barcelona Atletic.

He was one of the only five subsidiary players trusted by Xavi to travel to Naples recently as well. Alongside Marc Guiu, Hector Fort, Pau Cubarsi, and Marc Casado, the 19-year-old goalkeeper was among Xavi’s most trusted subsidiary starlets, a case that perfectly showcases just how special of a talent he must be.

Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun is a life-long fan of FC Barcelona and an avid enjoyer of all things Blaugrana. Having fallen in love with the club for the way they defined football for him, he now spends his time watching games, analyzing the happenings in them, and digesting any and everything related to his beloved Catalan club. He also writes as an author for Barca News Network hoping to deliver the latest updates to his fellow ‘culés’.

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