Abel Ruiz, 7th Barça’s youngster to debut with the first team this season
GRAF1430. BENIDORM, 27/03/2018.- El jugador de España Abel Ruiz celebra su gol ante Francia, el primero del equipo, durante el partido de la última jornada de la ronda Élite de clasificación para el Europeo sub´19 que disputan hoy en el estadio Guillermo Amor de Benidorm. EFE/MORELL
Barcelona, May 13 (efe-epa).- Forward Abel Ruiz played for 21 minutes in Barcelona’s 2-0 win in their last home La Liga match against Getafe, the seventh youth team player to make his debut under coach Ernesto Valverde this season.
Having opened the door for Marc Cucurella and Oriol Busquets to make their first-team debut last season, Valverde paved the way for seven youth academy players to follow in their footsteps.
Juan Miranda (left back, 19 years)
During the preseason, Valverde counted on him not on Marc Cucurella as a replacement for Jordi Alba and allowed him to play with the first team for the first time in their Copa del Rey opener against Cultural Leonesa alongside Juan Brandariz, best known as Chumi, and Jorge Cuenca.
Miranda also took part in the second leg of the first round clash and played against Tottenham Hotspur in a group stage match of the UEFA Champions League at the Camp Nou stadium.
He also played in the Copa del Rey round of 16 against Levante, but it was on Jan. 10 at the Ciutat de València stadium, that he fell out of favor with Valverde, who replaced him at half time, having lost the ball 11 times in the first 45 minutes.
He has not played with the first team since then.
Juan Brandariz 'Chumi' (central defender, 20 years)
As with Miranda and Cuenca, Chumi made his first-team debut in the Kingdom of Leon.
In the following round, he played at Levante’s Ciutat de Valencia, despite being handed a one-match suspension against Barça B.
Levante filed a complaint against Barcelona over allegedly inserting an ineligible player, but it was after the period had expired and he never got to play with the first team again.
His contract expires in 2020 and includes a €1 billion ($1.12 million) buyout clause.
Jorge Cuenca (central defender, 19 years)
He has made his debut this season, alongside Miranda and Chumi, in Leon, but as Barcelona signed Jeison Murillo and Jean-Claire Todibo during the winter transfer window closed the door for him to join the first team.
However, he is considered one of the most promising youth academy players, which prompted the Catalan club to extend his contract till 2021 with an option to renew it for further two years.
His contract includes also a buyout clause of €30 million ($33.76 million) that would increase to €1 billion if he got promoted to the first team.
Riqui Puig (midfielder, 19 years)
A creative midfielder with a great vision and considered as the youth academy pearl.
Puig made his debut in a cup clash against Cultural Leonesa held at the Camp Nou, coming onto the field in the second half, and he assisted on a goal scored by Denis Suárez.
He has also made his first La Liga appearance this season, against host Huesca and then Celta Vigo.
His contract expires in 2021 and includes a buyout clause of €1 billion.
Moussa Wague (right back, 20 years)
The Senegalese player was not registered on the first-team squad before Jan. 1 and subsequently was unable to make his debut with the first team in the opening rounds of the cup.
It was in the final stretch of La Liga when he was able to play with the first team against Huesca and Celta Vigo.
He is a potent full back and became a sensation in his first season with Barça B, after joining the team on a move from Belgium’s Kas Eupen.
Alex Collado (midfielder, 20 years)
In Vigo, Ousmane Dembele sustained an injury six minutes into the game and Valverde gave Collado the opportunity to make his debut.
It was a well-deserved reward for the season he has had with Barça B, where he has been a cornerstone for coach Francisco Javier García Pimienta.
He is another young player armored by the club with a contract that expires in 2021 with an option to extend it for another two years and a buyout clause of €50 million ($56 million) that will be €1 billion if he is permanently promoted to the first team.
Abel Ruiz (forward, 19 years)
He is considered as one of the most promising Spanish players, but injuries postponed his first team debut this season.
It was not before the last home league game against Getafe when he played with the first team for the first time.
Valverde preferred to play him rather than Kevin-Prince Boateng, whose signing during the winter transfer window proved to be a fiasco.
Ruiz’s contract expires in 2021 and includes a buyout clause of €1 billion. EFE