Barcelona have produced an abundance of talented footballers courtesy of their famed La Masia academy since the turn of the current century.
Legendary names including Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets have spent the best years of their careers at Camp Nou after breaking into the first team, winning countless team and individual honours in the process.
But who are the club’s youngest goalscorers since 2000 and, more importantly, where are they now?
Seventeen players under the age of 20 have scored for Barça since 2000, with the youngest aged just 16 years and 10 months when he bagged his maiden goal for the Catalan giants.
Let’s take a look at the list in full…
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Age: 19 years, 11 months, 17 days
Goal: v Polideportivo Almeria (Copa del Rey) | Jan 11, 2000
One of the greatest players in Barcelona’s history and arguably the best Spanish midfielder of all time, Xavi will forever be remembered as a proper club legend by all Culés.
The masterful midfielder spent almost his entire career with Barça, winning just about every major trophy you can think of.
A model professional both on and off the pitch, Xavi began his coaching career with Al Sadd earlier this year and is expected to become the manager of Barcelona one day in the future.
16. Fabio Rochemback
Age: 19 years, 11 months, 10 days
Goal: v Liverpool (Champions League) | Nov 20, 2001
Brazilian midfielder Fabio Rochemback joined Barcelona from International in 2001 and scored three goals in 45 games for the club, before joining Middlesbrough in 2005.
Following spells with Sporting Lisbon, Gremio and Dalian Aerbin, Rochemback returned to Brazil in 2014.
He made headlines in October 2017 for being arrested after an alleged cockfighting ring was busted in the south of Brazil. Yes, seriously.
15. Sergi Roberto
Age: 19 years, 9 months, 29 days
Goal: v BATE Borisov (Champions League) | Dec 6, 2011
Whatever he achieves during the rest of his career, Sergi Roberto will always be remembered for scoring the final goal in possibly the greatest comeback in football history.
Barcelona’s 6-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the 2016/17 Champions League campaign saw Roberto net the all-important winner from Neymar’s beautiful pass.
The versatile Spaniard has now played over 250 games for Barça since making his first-team debut back in November 2010.
14. Javier Saviola
Age: 19 years, 9 months, 7 days
Goal: v Fenerbahce (Champions League) | Sep 18. 2001
Javier Saviola was a diminutive Argentine forward who played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid during his career.
He played for the Catalans first, joining from River Plate in 2001 in a deal worth £15 million.
Saviola performed reasonably well for Barcelona, scoring 70 goals in 168 games, but he moved to the Bernabeu in 2007 after spending the previous two seasons on loan at Monaco and Sevilla.
The South American struggled for minutes at Madrid and then began the next chapter of his career with Benfica in 2009, before playing for Malaga, Olympiakos and Verona.
He retired aged 34 and has worked as the assistant manager of Andorran side FC Ordino since 2016.
13. Andres Iniesta
Age: 19 years, 9 months, 3 days
Goal: v Levante (Copa del Rey) | Jan 14, 2004
Along with the aforementioned Xavi, Andres Iniesta is the greatest midfielder in Barcelona’s long history.
The Fuentealbilla-born icon, who scored the winning goal for Spain in the 2010 World Cup final, developed into a world-class midfielder over the course of his career.
During the Pep Guardiola era, he was almost unplayable at times.
Iniesta called time on his Barcelona career in 2018 and now, at the age of 35, is playing for Vissel Kobe over in Japan.
12. Thiago Motta
Age: 19 years, 7 months, 30 days
Goal: v Villarreal (La Liga) | Apr 27, 2002
Now the head coach of Genoa, Thiago Motta played for Barcelona between 2001-2007, making 139 appearances.
The Brazil-born Italian midfielder went on to play for several top clubs including Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan and Paris Saint-Germain.
He managed PSG’s Under-19s during the 2018/19 season before taking the reins at another of his former clubs, Genoa, earlier this year.
11. Wilfrid Kaptoum
Age: 19 years, 7 months, 3 days
Goal: v Valencia (Copa del Rey) | Feb 10, 2016
A Cameroonian midfielder who came through the ranks at Barcelona before making his first-team debut in 2015, Wilfrid Kaptoum bagged his first goal in the Copa del Rey against Valencia before his 20th birthday.
The 23-year-old moved on to Real Betis in 2018 but has struggled for game-time at the Estadio Benito Villamarín.
10. Sandro Ramirez
Age: 19 years, 1 month, 22 days
Goal: v Villarreal | Aug 31, 2014
Sandro Ramirez, a product of Barça’s revered youth academy, scored on his first-team debut against Villarreal in August 2014 and ended his first campaign with four goals in 12 games.
The Spanish forward then netted three goals in 20 matches the following season before he was offloaded to Malaga, where he impressed and subsequently earned a move to Everton.
However, the 24-year-old failed to impress at Goodison Park and has since spent time on loan at Sevilla, Real Sociedad and Real Valladolid.
He’s struggled to score goals at every club - with the exception of Malaga - and must start to show that he can cut it at the highest level.
9. Munir El Haddadi
Age: 18 years, 11 months, 23 days
Goal: v Elche (La Liga) | Aug 24, 2014
Munir El Haddadi also burst onto the scene by scoring on his Barcelona debut, just one week before Sandro’s maiden appearance.
The Spaniard went on to score 12 goals in 56 games for the Catalan club and also had loan spells at Valencia and Alaves before joining Sevilla on a permanent deal in 2018.
Munir won his only cap with Spain in 2014.
8. Carles Alena
Age: 18 years, 10 months, 25 days
Goal: v Hercules (Copa del Rey) | Nov 30, 2016
Another product of Barça’s La Masia academy, Carles Alena also scored on his debut.
The gifted midfielder, who has made a couple of appearances for Spain’s Under-21 side, has made 35 appearances for the first team so far.
However, with competition for midfield places so fierce at Camp Nou, Alena may need to leave the club on loan in 2020 in order to get more minutes under his belt.
7. Adama Traore
Age: 18 years, 10 months, 21 days
Goal: v Huesca (Copa del Rey) | Dec 16, 2014
There was a lot of hype surrounding Adama Traore between 2013 and 2015. The skilful but powerful winger, who possesses remarkable pace, appeared to have all the tools required to become a first-team star at Barcelona.
But he ended up playing just four times for the club, scoring his one goal in an 8-1 demolition of Huesca, before being sold to Aston Villa.
Barcelona inserted a buy-back clause in Adama’s contract, but they were never tempted to activate it.
He moved on to Middlesbrough, where he caught the eye of Wolves, who forked out £18 million for the Spain Under-21 international’s services.
6. Thiago Alcantara
Age: 18 years, 10 months, 9 days
Goal: v Racing Santander (La Liga) | Feb 20, 2010
Thiago Alcantara was the one who got away.
The midfielder oozed Barcelona but decided to leave Camp Nou for Bayern Munich in 2013 in order to become a first-team regular.
Six years later and he’s still plying his trade at the Allianz Arena, with six Bundesliga titles under his belt, three German Cups and a FIFA Club World Cup.
Thiago has made a total of 210 appearances for Bayern, scoring 28 goals, and has also represented Spain 35 times.
5. Jean Marie Dongou
Age: 18 years, 7 months, 16 days
Goal: v Cartagena (Copa del Rey) | Dec 6, 2013
Jean Marie Dongou caused a stir with his talent from a young age after joining Barça’s youth academy via the Samuel Eto’o Foundation.
But like a lot of his fellow La Masia starlets, Dongou failed to produce the goods at senior level and has fallen by the wayside since.
After spells at Real Zaragoza and Gimnastic, the former Cameroon Under-20 international ended up signing for Spanish second-tier side Lugo in 2019 and now plays on loan for the lesser-known Lleida Esportiu following his parent club’s relegation to the third tier.
4. Giovani dos Santos
Age: 18 years, 7 months, 1 day
Goal: v Stuttgart (Champions League) | Dec 12, 2007
Giovani dos Santos looked a sensation during the early years of his career and lots of people were salivating at the prospect of an attacking trio comprised of the Mexican, Lionel Messi and Bojan Krkic.
However, after scoring four goals in 38 appearances during his only season in the first team, Giovani was moved on to Tottenham by newly-appointed head coach Pep Guardiola in the summer of 2008.
The attacking winger wasn’t a success at White Hart Lane and ended up joining Mallorca following loan spells with Ipswich Town, Galatasaray and Racing Santander.
He was better at Villarreal but left the Spanish club for LA Galaxy in 2015 and now, at the age of 30, plies his trade with Club America in his home country.
3. Lionel Messi
Age: 17 years, 10 months, 7 days
Goal: v Albacete (La Liga) | May 1, 2005
Unless you live under a rock on the moon, you’ll know precisely what happened to Messi.
Arguably the greatest player in history, the five-time (soon to be six-time?) Ballon d’Or winner has scored a mind-blowing 612 goals in 698 appearances for Barça and broken just about every record you can think of.
How on earth will Barcelona cope when he retires?
2. Bojan Krkic
Age: 17 years, 1 month, 22 days
Goal: v Villarreal (La Liga) | Oct 20, 2007
After scoring over 900 goals for Barcelona’s youth teams after signing for the club aged eight, Bojan was under enormous pressure to live up to the hype surrounding him when he broke into the first team.
The Spaniard scored one his first league start, against Villarreal, and went on to net a further 40 goals for the Catalan outfit before joining AS Roma in 2011.
Bojan was re-signed by Barça two years later but he was loaned to Ajax for the 2013/14 season and was then sold again, this time to Stoke City, much to everybody’s surprise.
He was popular at the Britannia Stadium but didn’t score enough goals. Sixteen goals in 85 games was a disappointing return from Bojan, who joined Montreal Impact in August 2019, shortly before his 29th birthday.
1. Ansu Fati
Age: 16 years, 10 months, 0 days
Goal v Osasuna (La Liga) | Aug 31, 2019
Barcelona’s youngest ever La Liga goalscorer, Ansu Fati announced himself to the world in August 2019, making his debut for the club aged just 16 years and 298 days old before scoring his first goal for the European giants a week later.
Fati continued to impress over the subsequent weeks but has faded into the background slightly more recently, which is to be expected.
Now 17 years old, the Spain Under-21 international will hope to get a few more opportunities in the first team between now and the end of the season.
It’s often said that La Masia is struggling to produce as many top players as it once did, but Fati is proof that young players at the club *will* get opportunities to shine in the first team if they’re special.
Barcelona is a club that prides itself on developing talented young footballers and we can expect a few more starlets to add their names to this list over the coming years.News Now - Sport News