Written by Will Parchman

pablo

La Masia is so jam-packed with quality that to hear one of its coaches speak glowingly about an individual is almost jarring.

When it’s lunar-sized center forward prospect Pablo Moreno, you understand.

Carles Martínez coaches Barcelona’s Infantil A side, one of the club’s most important in a developmental sense at the U15 age group, and he recently sat down with Grup 14 to talk shop after his move from Espanyol. The discussion almost immediately turned to Moreno, who’s scoring return the last three years has been frankly ridiculous for anyone, let alone a child.

This is what Martínez had to say.

“Pablo is very good. He’s the most competitive player I have ever trained. It’s that drive that makes him special. I admire him because he’s always on the spotlight yet he takes it very well and calm. I’m very pleased with the change he’s doing in his control abilities. If he can succeed in that, which he is doing, he has a bright future although he has to take it step by step.”

Two years ago Moreno bagged 72 goals in 27 games for Barca’s seven-a-side Alevín A. Last year he bagged 41 in his first jump up to the Infantil group. This season? Moreno has been the leading scorer across the entire academy with a staggering 66 goals. He scored 28 in his first seven games of the year. For the math wizards among us, that’s 179 goals in three seasons. Are you hearing this.

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Written by Travis Clark

fernando-torres-redRemember when Fernando Torres was one of the best players in the world?

The Spanish striker tore up the English Premier League for Liverpool from 2007-2011, scoring 81 times in 142 games. He moved to Chelsea in 2011 for £50 million, where he’s suffered a huge drop off in form over the past few years.

Tuesday’s game against Barcelona provided a chance for Torres to announce himself to a huge audience once again. And he certainly did.

But not in a way he would’ve liked.

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Written by Will Parchman

messssss

The day before Barcelona’s Round of 16 encounter with Arsenal on Tuesday at the Emirates, Gatorade pulled the cover off an advert that belongs in a hall with the all-time good ones. It didn’t quite creep into the discussion with the all-time greats, but it stacks up favorably with the rest of the field.

Just check out that screenie. Real stuff.

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Written by Will Parchman

Neymar

Barcelona won another game on Sunday. If that seems boring to you (it kind of is!), consider it was 6-0 over Athletic Bilbao, which will probably not reach Europe this year but which is still pretty good. Barcelona made them look like an NPSL team. So there you go.

The predictable boredom in Barcelona’s results (typically, anyway) is often mitigated by the things that actually happen in those games. They have a few good players, after all. On Sunday, Neymar gave us another bite of manna from the halls of Thor.

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Written by Will Parchman

It’s been a good minute since Dani Alves showed any regard for positioning, game states or just the general tenor of a soccer game. He is almost always out of position, and yet manages to be where he needs because Barcelona is an amorphous dragon that is rarely caught out.

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Written by Will Parchman

a.espncdn.com

Leo Messi has only been back in the Barcelona lineup from a three-month injury layoff for about a week, and he’s already presided over a 4-0 win over Real Madrid in the Clasico that ruined Rafa Benitez. And now this. This is very, very silly.

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Written by Will Parchman

xavi

That kid with the curls and the captain’s band? His name is Xavi Simons. You may want to tuck that name away for later.

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Written by Will Parchman

pedro

You may remember (YOU SHOULD ANYWAY) the petition Seattle-area club Crossfire brought forth to FIFA in an effort to generate compensation for DeAndre Yedlin’s sale to Spurs. It’s a seminal moment in youth soccer development in America. The trickle-down effect these sales have on lower clubs can ultimately help break the shackles of pay-to-play. At the very least, they’ll lower costs while the money begins is slow filter downward.

As it is, MLS doesn’t reward clubs with compensation. But what does that look like practically in places that do? We got a tangible taste of that this week when Pedro was sold from Barcelona to Chelsea for £23m. And it was glorious.

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Written by Travis Clark

hazardLandover, Maryland was the latest stop of the European club summer tour circuit on Tuesday night, as Barcelona battled Chelsea at the home of the Washington, D.C. American football team.

And while the merits of these games can be hotly debated, Eden Hazard jolted the game to life in the first half with a scintillating goal in the tenth minute.

The champions of England and the Spanish treble winners put on a show in front of a packed house of almost 79,000 fans, a sea of Messi, Neymar jerseys dotted between Chelsea’s familiar blue kit. Despite the exhibition nature of the match, both sides created plenty of scoring chances on the way to a 2-2 draw after Hazard tallied early in the game.

Be prepared to pick your jaw off the floor after watching the Belgian sensation’s latest work of art.

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Written by The 91st

Youth development is a topic we tend to focus on pretty regularly here at the 91st Minute. How can the US better develop talented players? How can we fix the college game? What do we need to do to create a new generation of informed coaches? These are all important questions, but we can’t help but feel helpless when we see clips like this come out of Barcelona’s La Masia academy.

Meet Mamadou Saidou, Barcelona’s new 11-year old star who is already better at soccer than you. Look at those touches! Look at that placement!

He’s only 11-years old, but it’s a testament to Barcelona’s effective academy structure that the telltale signs of Barcelona’s style are already being embedded in his approach towards the sport. Of course, a random YouTube clip doesn’t mean anything in the context of a long career, but here’s to Mamadou already making an impression.

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