Whisper it quietly. Sergi Roberto might just be Barcelona's most important player of the season so far.
A player who was destined like so many others to be offloaded by the club where he had learned his trade, has stood up to be counted since the very first moments of pre-season, and hasn't looked back.
It's true that his recent route into the side has been slightly unorthodox in that his usual tenure in the heart of midfield has fallen by the wayside with the player covering for an absent Dani Alves.
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In so doing, Roberto opened the eyes of his manager Luis Enrique and the Barcelona public to the fact that he has far more strings to his bow and is evidently ready to show it too.
The youngster was a revelation at right-back and gives Enrique genuine options there if Alves were to be injured or lose form again.
Against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League, Roberto found himself back on the subs bench. A place that until this season he had inhabited on a regular basis, rarely venturing from the same unless a match was already won.
This time, Roberto was thrown in with 19 minutes left to play and within eight minutes he had changed the course of the outcome of the match.
His goal, poked home from all of three yards, was described by the player himself as "the most important of my career so far."
Indeed, the balance of the tie swung in Barca's favour at that moment and when Luis Suarez scored the winner just 92 seconds later, the turnaround was complete.
Not an also ran
The win came at a cost as Andres Iniesta limped out of proceedings, unlikely to play any part for the next four to six weeks.
Although he would surely have preferred his continued tenure to be under different circumstances, Iniesta's injury does present Roberto with a half-dozen games or more to reproduce the good form of this campaign and drive home to Enrique that he is worthy of his spot in the team now. No longer an also-ran.
It's taken him years to get to this point but perhaps a studious rise to prominence rather than being touted as the "next big thing" to come out of La Masia, has been helpful for Roberto's development.
He only needs to look at Munir El-Haddadi as the prime example of a player who was talked up intensively in dispatches once he'd scored a goal from his own half in the final of the UEFA Youth League against Benfica.
With the greatest respect, the step up has been too great for him and arguably he could do worse than spending at least another season back in the Barca B side, despite their position in the third tier of Spanish football, learning his trade.
Aside from a debut goal against Elche at the beginning of the 2014/15 season, there has been little to write home about from the youngster.
Roberto has perhaps also suffered from the weight of expectation but has taken his opportunity at the right time. The associated confidence that a long stint in the side brings is evident in his play.
The world really is his oyster at this point. If he wants it.
Will Sergi Roberto go on to become a Barcelona regular? Have your say by leaving a comment below!
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