As a new era dawns at the Camp Nou, a new star has emerged from La Masia who looks set to play a pivotal role in the years ahead – Nico Gonzalez.
The 19-year-old defensive midfielder is seen by many as the successor to Sergio Busquets and, after signing a new contract at Barcelona until 2024, he will join up with the first team for pre-season.
From an early age at the club’s academy, Nico‘s enormous talent was evident, as expressed by his first coach at Barcelona, Marcel Sans.
“From a young age he was very good when playing with one or two touches,” Sans said.
“His decision-making was very good. In difficult moments, he took responsibility.”
Nico‘s physical transformation during his teenage years also helped to set him apart amongst the other young players.
“Between the age of 15 and 17 he had an enormous growth spurt,” said his father Fran Gonzalez, who formerly played for Deportivo La Coruna.
“We measured him and in two years he grew by 25cm.”
Over time, he was moved into the Busquets role, just in front of the back four.
“He had very good statistics,” Sans stated.
“There were matches where he won the ball 18 times. He has settled in this position.”
Having rejected offers from Real Madrid at a young age and more recently from England, Nico looks set to play a decisive role at the Camp Nou for years to come.
Nico Gonzalez – remember the name.