On Wednesday, FC Barcelona played their first test match as part of the preparation for the coming season (starting on August 15). The guest at the Estadi Johan Cruyff was the Catalonian third division team Nastic de Tarragona, who was defeated 4-0 as befits their rank. In addition to the three-time goalscorer Rey Manaj, the only 18-year-old loan player Yusuf Demir became the main actor.
Demir was not directly involved in any of Blaugrana’s four goals – but the Spanish press showered the loan player from Rapid Wien with hymns of praise after the game.
You understand now, so they Brandwhy Demir captured Koeman’s heart. He “showed why Barcelona signed him”. Except for actions leading directly to goals, the Austrian offered the whole repertoire of his skills on Wednesday.
Elegant ball handling, fast, electric movements, dribbling, brave passes and your own degrees – you could have thought at times that you were watching a kind of rebirth of Lionel Messi at work.
In any case, Koeman attests to the huge talent, with all the hard work still ahead, “a great future”.
In conjunction with another great young talent like Pedri, the Catalans have increasingly rosier prospects for the coming years.
Last season, Demir caused a sensation at the traditional Austrian club Rapid Wien when, as a 17-year-old, he scored ten scorer points (six goals, four assists) in 31 Bundesliga games.
That of course immediately aroused the interest of some major European clubs (including Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund). Reason enough for those responsible at the Nou Camp to take care of this change in a timely manner.
Two weeks ago, the Catalans reported execution. On loan (until the summer of 2022), the youngster, who is versatile in the offensive, should first step in the second team.
But given his obvious talent, he could possibly move up the career ladder much faster. After a few training sessions, to which Ronald Koeman had invited the Austrian, the Dutchman was in any case very impressed by the Ösi teenager.
So much so that Demir was on the field for the first time last Wednesday with the (decimated) first team (with Piqué, Dest, Umtiti, Sergi Roberto and Pjanic). Because the EM drivers in the squad will not return until the next day of training, in the end there was a better B-Elf on the field.
But that doesn’t reduce Demir’s performance.
Neither did Rey Manaj’s, who underlined his ambitions with three goals to play for the first team more often in the future.
The first Albanian in the club’s history came to FC Barcelona in winter 2020 after a long odyssey through half of southern Europe (Sampdoria, Cremonese, Inter, Pescara, Pisa, Granada, Albacete), where he (like Demir) initially planned for the second team was.
In fact, Manaj has not got beyond this status and some sporadic cup appearances with the first team to this day. With his three-pack against Tarragona (the fourth goal was contributed by Collado), the now 24-year-old has again made claims for higher tasks.