When Sergi Samper took to the field for Barcelona last week against APOEL NIcosia, history was made.
At 19 years of age, Samper wasn't another in a long line of La Masia graduates to make debut for the first team. In fact, his debut represented something quite unique for the Catalan club.
For the first time in their illustrious history, a young player had gone from the very youngest age group, the U6 Escola team, right the way through to the senior side, playing for every other Barcelona youth side in the process.
It is a quite incredible achievement and one for which Samper should be rightly proud, and the phrase "one club man" has been taken to a whole new level with his deserved promotion.
Anyone that has had the fortune to see Samper in action will have noted that it was just a matter of time before he took his place in the first team.
Mature beyond his years in a footballing sense, the young midfielder has always oozed class and his ability to run the game from a central midfield position is already second to none.
Back in 2012, Samper was evidentially head and shoulders above every player on the pitch when Barca's U19 Juvenil A side played against Tottenham at White Hart Lane in the Next Gen tournament, the forerunner of the UEFA Youth League.
So good was he on the night, that even the home sides fans were forced to applaud the grace, guile and presence of the youngster. It was, quite simply, a privilege to be in the presence of such greatness.
Comparison with Busquets
Fast forward two years and Samper's education has continued apace. A multitude of experts continue to compare him to his contemporary Sergio Busquets.
Defensively competent, Samper will be the first to acknowledge that this area of his game is the one that needs a little bit more work, but Barca don't have too many more willing pupils.
The reason Samper is so easy on the eye is because, like Busqets and also Xavi Hernandez, he does the simple things well. There is no complexity to his game and to watch him in full flow is often poetic.
Barca legend Johan Cruyff once said "football is simple, but the hardest thing is to play football in a simple way."
It encapsulates perfectly the essence of Samper and why he has the brightest of futures in Barcelona.
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