“This is one of the happiest days of my life.” Pau Cubarsi did not come down from his cloud in the minutes and hours which followed the round of 16 second leg of the Champions League between FC Barcelona and Naples on Tuesday (3-1). The 17-year-old central defender, voted man of the match, heard his name chanted by Barça supporters. “Cu-Cu-Cubarsi”, sang the Blaugrana aficionados.

The day after Barcelona qualified for the quarter-finals, the Catalan press showered compliments on the player who was playing his first match in C1. “A fantastic debut” according to the daily Sport, which saw him “eat” Victor Osimhen, Neapolitan center forward and considered one of the best in the world in his position. “The first 15 minutes looked like a film forbidden to under-18s,” says Sport, who sees in Cubarsi “the future but also the present.”

“He is the man of the evening on the day when Barça once again placed itself among the eight best teams in Europe,” cheers Mundo Deportivo. “His eyes see football like few others, his brain thinks like the elected officials and his foot executes it like the great central defenders of this sport,” marvels Sport. Cubarsi, 17 years old since January 22, won the duels (6 contested, 6 won) and showed great mastery in possession of the ball.

“When he has the ball, my heart rate doesn’t accelerate,” said his coach Xavi, who described him as “very intelligent” after his performance against Mallorca on March 8 in La Liga (1-0). “He is a very humble boy who has his feet on the ground. He has an incredible future,” praised Xavi. “When we say that Barça is more than a club, it’s thanks to this kind of thing, he’s a very humble man and today he was incredible,” added Barça captain Sergi Roberto . “Pau is spectacular. We complement each other very well and I hope it will be like this for many years to come. He is humble and works very well,” added his defensive teammate, Ronald Araujo.

Last week, it was Robert Lewandowski who was already enthusiastic about the former Girona player, who arrived at Barça in 2018 at the age of 11: “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a central defender, especially at that age, breaking the lines with the ball and with so much tranquility. He’s a tremendous player.” Another Barça phenomenon, Lamine Yamal (16 years old) is campaigning for Cubarsi to join him with La Roja. “

Cubarsi has a bright future at Barça, with whom he has started 8 of the last 9 La Liga matches. As long as you stay there. His current contract, signed before his professional debut, runs until June 2026. According to the Catalan press, his release clause is only €10 million. Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Bayern Munich reveled in this information. Barça has worked to increase this clause and would like to multiply it by a hundred, or one billion euros. Asked about his man of the match trophy after the victory against Napoli, Cubarsi was faithful to the humility that already characterizes him: “This trophy is the fruit of the work of the whole team.”