He was going from honors to honors. So at school they offered to skip a course. He was more motivated: in the same year he did second and third of ESO. His name is Nicolás Iván González, he is the son of Fran González, a historic Deportivo player, and against Real Sociedad, at the age of 19, he made his debut in the Barcelona first team. “It was the same in school as in grassroots football. It is academic. He likes to study, he does it with books and with football, ”says a Barça youth football coach about the medium.
He never excelled in school. Nor was he one of those children who listen attentively to each of the coaches’ talks at La Masia. On the contrary, more than one technician had to draw his attention. “He’s not a great student, he’s a bit mischievous, but he was always smart. And so he plays, it’s pure instinct. A cheeky soccer player ”. This is how the same sources from the Barça youth academy define Pablo Martín Páez Gavira, Gavi, an insider who against Getafe became the fourth youngest player in Barça history to debut in the first team in the League: 17 years and 24 days, after Vicente Martínez, Ansu Fati and Bojan.
The two changed the face of a Barça that was moving away from Barça against Getafe. “The team was very good until the hydration break. From then on, with the entry of Gavi and Nico, who has been very important to them, they have slowed down the pace of the game, “analyzed Míchel, coach of the Madrid team. “With Nico and Gavi we were better positionally and with the ball,” Koeman confirmed. “Nobody who knows Nico and Gavi’s career in the quarry can be surprised by what they did against Getafe. It is what they did all their lives ”, they explain in the Barça subsidiary.
Still of juvenile age, in 2012, Nico González arrived to play in the Barcelona children’s club from Montañeros. He did not arrive alone. His father, Fran, his mother, Gema, and his two sisters, Macarena and Carlota, left A Coruña to settle in Sant Cugat (Barcelona). “He understood everything. He was a super smart kid. He could play 10, 8 or 6. He knew when to progress, when not. I asked you everything. I debated you. There are players with whom you cannot talk about the game. Quite the opposite happened to you with him ”, recalls Carles Martínez, coach of the Barça quarry between 2015 and 2019, today in the Kuwait U-20 team. Nico has Barça in his head, that’s why he rejected offers from Manchester City and Real Madrid. “He wants to play here. Last season to the subsidiary coach [Francisco García Pimienta] He told him that if he was missing a center-back, he would go down. And he even played as a winger against Olot. But it will be top if it pivots. In that position, Barça needs a very intelligent player, who sees football clearly, who anticipates and is always well positioned. Nico does all of that. It’s like Busquets ”, explain the same sources from Barça B.
Three years after Nico’s arrival, in 2015, Gavi left Betis to sign for Barcelona. He went through all the lower categories of the Spanish team and in the Barça quarry he was always indicated as one of the candidates for the Camp Nou. “It stands out as an interior. He is the typical player that coaches get through the eyes. He is aggressive and fast. Has dribble, but defends. Protect the ball well and score goals. It has everything. Plus, he’s cheeky. He lost two balls in his debut in the first team and he did not care ”, they emphasize in the subsidiary. “He was not the typical footballer with Barça DNA, but he has magic: pipes, hats, goals. Talent is talent. Coaches do not believe that we teach the players and then children like Gavi appear to teach us. Without telling you anything, with their game, they ask you for more ”, completes Carles Martínez.
The surprise Demir
Nico made his debut against Real; Gavi, in front of Getafe; and the Austrian Yusuf Demir was another of Koeman’s bets on matchday two against Athletic in Bilbao. Three dates, three new pearls. Demir’s case is the most striking. After a good preseason with the first team, the player who came to Barcelona for a loan of 500,000 euros, with a purchase option of 10 million, to play in the subsidiary, makes a hole in Koeman’s team.
The youngsters win the duel over the veterans: the Barça coach insists that he does not want a long squad and wants outings. Umtiti is difficult to leave and the club hopes to close the transfer of Pjanic. There is, however, a youth squad who cannot find his place, Riqui Puig. He hasn’t played a minute yet. Last year, Pedri and Ilaix beat him. Now, Nico and Gavi. But Puig insists that he wants to stay at the Camp Nou.
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