Football

Whatever happened to Barcelona's Jean-Marie Dongou?

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Jean Marie Dongou seems to have been around at Barcelona for ever. Now a 20-year-old that continues to languish in Barca's B side, his form is light years away from when Sky Sports' Graham Hunter saw him in his mid-teens.

In an interview with totalBarca, he noted: "Dongou, small and Mike Tyson-powerful, is without question the most awe-inspiring player I have ever seen at his age.

"When I witnessed Messi at the same stage of his development, it later transpired that he was a little bit sulky at being forced to play on the wing in the game I went to watch and, consequently, I came away unimpressed.

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"But having watched Dongou for several months - aged both 15 and 16 - I have to warn the next couple of generations of defenders that they should start having nightmares now just to get in practice."

High praise indeed. Given Hunter's keen, professional eye, one might have expected a fairly rapid development into the first team picture, but a potential rise up the ranks has turned out to be anything but meteoric.

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Relegated

In fact, so slow has his progression been over the last couple of seasons, that players from the younger age group, Munir El-Haddadi and Sandro Ramirez, have been promoted to the seniors on occasion, in place of the fading Dongou.

With Barcelona B having been relegated to the Segunda B division at the end of last season, just one season after their best-ever finish, Dongou will be plying his trade in Spain's equivalent of England's League One.

A few years ago Dongou would've baulked at the prospect of working in such a lowly environment, but this might be time for a reality check.

Another Adu?

Maybe, like Freddy Adu and countless others before him, the adulation has gone to the players head. How else do you explain how a player of such unbridled, jaw dropping talent is disappearing from the stage before our very eyes.

Hunter again from 2012: "For the moment you'll just have to take it from me that Barcelona's youth system has uncovered a talent so rare that the Messi comparisons will flourish, despite the two playing styles bearing little if any resemblance.

"Dongou will, one day, conquer Spain, Europe and the world with Barcelona and it wouldn't surprise if one day he's a Ballon D'Or winner. That is his range."

If those that know their football are going to say that about you at 17 years of age, it's inevitable surely that somewhere along the line, in the throes of adolescence, you'll strut around with chest puffed out, cock of the walk style, believing your own hype.

It takes a special player, and person, to be able to ignore such superlatives to the extent that they were bestowed on the youngster.

Just 25 goals in four years per Soccerway, doesn't speak of someone able to handle the pressure does it? And lest we forget that he has played for only a handful of minutes in the first team.

Confidence

Over 6000 minutes have been completed in the reserves where arguably the pressure and intensity is far less great than in the senior side. It's highly unlikely that Dongou will get near the first team during next season, and one can only hope that banging the goals in each week in Segunda B might restore some of that youthful confidence.

Failure to do so would certainly author a move elsewhere and to an expected career as a journeyman professional. Being full of potential is wonderful for a young player but fulfilment of the same is everything.

Time for Jean-Marie Dongou to stand up and be counted.

Who is the player best placed to be the next Lionel Messi?

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Topics:
Football
La Liga
Barcelona

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