They are 16, 17 or 18 years old and would almost make Pedri (21 years old) and Gavi (19 years old) look old-fashioned. Several young players from the FC Barcelona training center are taking advantage of the numerous injuries within the Blaugrana squad to do well. Some, like Lamine Yamal, Pau Cubarsí and Fermín López, are already appearing as captains. Others, like Marc Guiu and Hector Fort, (im)patiently bide their time by snacking on bits of matches.

All of them are mature for their age and have already caught the eye of Xavi, who does not hesitate to give them a chance, as he had in his time. The Champions League round of 16 second leg against Naples on Tuesday (9:00 p.m.) will be an opportunity to see some of them at work, if not all. Focus on the five biggest promises of the Barcelona team.

He is the youngest of the fantastic five featured here, but not the least important. At just 16 years old, the young prodigy has made progress and gained depth within Xavi’s squad. Youngest player in Barça history to appear in the league, youngest to start in La Liga. But also the youngest player and scorer in the history of the Spanish selection. Already indispensable, Yamal has already played 37 matches and has been decisive 13 times this season, including 6 goals. The last one, registered on Friday against Mallorca, is a gem. Enough to bring up the comparison with a certain… Lionel Messi. “We are talking about the best footballer in history. It is therefore better not to compare him, tempered Xavi in ​​a post-match press conference. Lamine Yamal will not benefit from it, he is different. We have the impression of finding Messi in him, but it is not a good thing to compare him.

In recent weeks, the rumor of a fantastic transfer in the summer has gained momentum, with Barça needing liquidity in the short to medium term. Quoted on the right and left, PSG is not interested according to Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano, always well informed about the transfer window. In any case, the Catalans are not sellers. The leaders had extended the contract of their nugget for the first time in October, with a release clause set at one billion euros. And they plan to armor him again when he turns 18.

A pure product of La Masia, the famous FC Barcelona training center, Marc Guiu does not have the classic profile. His relative tallness (1.87 m at 18 years old) makes him an atypical player among smaller players. Fast, powerful, Guiu made his debut with the first team in October in La Liga against Athletic Bilbao. In a hurry, he scored the winning goal on his first ball, becoming the youngest player in Barça history to score in his first match. “I thought of him because he has a sense of purpose, a spark, and I like him personally,” Xavi explained to DAZN. I give him the confidence that was given to me when I was 17-18 years old.” He has played 6 other matches since and remains on a start against Mallorca on Friday in the league.

This young 17-year-old central defender made his debut with the pros in January, in the Copa del Rey. Since then, it’s simple: he has always started, except for the first leg against Naples in the Champions League. This Tuesday, it’s hard to imagine Xavi doing without him as the young man, a fan of the legend Carles Puyol, is performing so well in the Blaugrana defense. His coach sang his praises at a press conference on Friday: “Cubarsí is intelligent. He knows when to fight and when not to fight. He has not lost a single duel against players stronger than him. Spectacular… He doesn’t look like he’s 17.” Same story with Robert Lewandowski, who declared to TVP Sport that he had “never seen a central defender, especially at this age, break the lines with this quality of recovery and this tranquility”. As with Lamine Yamal, Barça would like to secure this great talent as quickly as possible. According to Mundo Deportivo, Pau Cubarsí would have received a proposal to extend his lease until 2030 with a release clause estimated at one billion euros.

Aged 20, he is the oldest player presented in this article. Fermín López toughened up last season with a loan spell at Linares, in the Spanish third division. This central training midfielder then made a strong impression during the summer tour. In a position where Barça is not lacking in talent, Fermín López is taking advantage of injuries to do well. “Fermín is a talented player, who knows how to make the final pass, which we lacked a little last year, welcomed Xavi during a press conference at the start of the season. He is skilled with both feet, and can play left and right. He’s a footballer that I adore. He plays without fear, he asks for the ball and plays simple. When I see that in training, I tell myself that I have to trust him. He kept his word: his young protégé has already taken part in 29 matches this season.

Rarely, it was in the Champions League that Héctor Fort had his chance for the first time, in mid-December against Royal Antwerp. Since then, this 17-year-old right-back has played three ends of the match. Rather tall (1.85 m), he can also play in the center. His versatility pleases Xavi, who never hesitates to swap his central and full-backs depending on the opponents. Along with Pau Cubarsi, Héctor Fort is one of Barça’s biggest hopes in defense. After his first start in the league, he said he was “proud and happy” in an interview for the club’s official website. And did not hesitate to display his ambitions: “I have been working hard for many years to be where I am. La Masia teaches you the values ​​of Barça. I’m glad I got my chance. The young people, we are ready and we are trying to show it.