Pau Cubarsi: Things to know about promising Barcelona defender

The 2023/24 season has been far from a vintage one for Barcelona.

With their La Liga title defence in tatters, no hope of domestic cup glory and unconvincing performances in Europe, there’s been little to shout about for manager Xavi, who will leave his role at the end of the season.

It hasn’t all been doom and gloom in Catalonia, however.

Legendary former midfielder Xavi has leant on La Masia throughout the campaign, with the likes of Lamine Yamal and Fermin Lopez getting regular minutes alongside established youngsters Pedri and Gavi. Another fledgling starlet is Pau Cubarsi, who was born in 2007 but already getting minutes at centre-back.

Here’s what you need to know about the teenage defender.

Gerard PiqueGerard Pique

Pique is a modern Barca great / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Given he’s still a baby in football terms, it’d be wise not to put too much pressure on 17-year-old Cubarsi to avoid sending expectations into orbit.

That said, teammate Ronald Araujo has seen parts of the youngster’s game that compare well with club legend Gerard Pique, who made over 600 appearances for Barca, winning nine La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues.

“I learned a lot from Pique, especially his intelligence. Geri was not fast, but he was very smart, he was always in the right position,” said Araujo.

“Technically, he always offered a solution. He reminds me a little bit of Pau Cubarsi, because he has something of him, he’s very smart. The truth is that he has unbelievable talent at just 17 years old. The truth is that I think he should be taken care of, because he is a talent at the club for many years to come.”

Joan LaportaJoan Laporta

Selling. Cubarsi could earn Barca some quick cash / Angel Martinez/GettyImages

Barca’s financial difficulties are infamous, with seemingly no player off limits if the price is right.

Cubarsi’s emergence has put a few Premier League sides on red alert, with the defender available for just €10m thanks to a low release clause, according to ESPN.

The likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea have been linked with various levels of reliability.

Cubarsi looks to have convinced his senior teammates at Barca of his pedigree, with loanee Joao Cancelo comparing him to one of the all-time greats in Franz Beckenbauer.

The 17-year-old was excellent in the 4-0 win over Getafe, playing piercing balls forward while completing 11 defensive actions, behind only Luis Milla (13) from the opposition.

Whether it’s comparisons with Pique or Beckenbauer, Barca’s squad clearly rate the youngster highly already.

Xavi’s hand has been forced somewhat, but he’s had little hesitation in throwing Barca youngsters in at the deep end when necessary.

Cubarsi is one of three Barca players born since 2006 to play in La Liga so far this season alongside Yamal and Marc Guiu. Only French giants Paris Saint-Germain have used more than one, their pair being Warren Zaire-Emery and Ethan Mbappe.

Pau CubarsiPau Cubarsi

Cubarsi is just getting started at Barca / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

He may have a pretty small release clause at present, but that’s something Barca are hopeful of changing quickly.

RAC1 say the youngster has no current desire to leave La Blaugrana despite the rumoured interest from the Premier League, and with a clear pathway to regular football ahead of him in Catalonia, it looks like the right decision.

Andreas Christensen, Ronald Araujo and Jules Kounde have all been regulars in central defence, while Cubarsi looks to have usurped Inigo Martinez in Xavi’s pecking order, too.


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