Barcelona now forced to be cautious with two teenage gems – report

Barcelona's Spanish defender #03 Alejandro Balde (L) and Barcelona's Spanish forward #27 Lamine Yamal drink before the Spanish Liga football match between FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys in Barcelona on September 29, 2023.
Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images

The demands of Barcelona have always been high and will continue to be so. The Blaugranes are a club with massive aspirations and their players are expected to help them deliver. However, there does come a point where certain players can not be overextended.

These specific players are the youngsters of the team. While every superstar needs rest, these young gems need the right amount of rest and adequate time away from the field to recover. Yet, at Barcelona, this has hardly been the case.

As SPORT has highlighted, the last few seasons have seen many talented gems fall to injuries. Initially, these youngsters emerge from teams and sides where the expectations and obligations on them are much less demanding. Yet, after making that big jump to the Barcelona first team, things get messy.

Pedri and Ansu Fati, for instance, came up from Las Palmas and the Barcelona subsidiary respectively. These players were formerly accustomed to playing close to 30 games every season. However, that jump to the first team changed all of that.

In Pedri’s case, playing close to 70 games in the 2020/21 season between Barcelona and Spain was quite the challenge. Even now, the repercussions of those absurd demands of the player persist. Consistent injuries and overloads are now having to be dealt with by both the youngster and the club.

Fati’s injuries have more or less altered the entire trajectory of his career. From being considered the heir of Lionel Messi himself to now being on loan at Brighton, the haphazard and rushed recoveries as well as relapses have definitely taken their toll.

The latest victim was 19-year-old Gavi. Yet another youngster who is being overplayed this season, his jump from the subsidiary to the first team also significantly increased the number of games he would have to play. Now, he deals with an ACL injury that has potentially ended his entire season.

However, Barcelona will now consequently have to be cautious with both Lamine Yamal and Alejandro Balde. They are the only two young gems of the team that have thus far not had to deal with such career-altering problems.

Yamal is only 16 years of age, and Barcelona would be smart not to start demanding more of him than they need to. Similarly, Alejandro Balde may be Barça’s starting left-back, but they should be understanding enough to give him some rest every now and then.

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