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Barcelona coach calls up a new face from the academy for training ahead of El Clasico

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Photo by TOM GOYVAERTS/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

Xavi’s time at Barcelona may be nearing its end, but the club legend’s managerial spell will always be remembered for his faith in the academy.

So far, Xavi has given debuts to 15 La Masia stars during his tenure at the club to varying successes.

Many, including Lamine Yamal and Pau Cubarsi, have gone on to become indispensable parts of the team at a tender age.

Now, SPORT reveal that the manager has found a new gem in the academy who has even been called up to train with the first team – Alexis Olmedo.

A running experiment

According to the Spanish outlet, Olmedo participated in the first team’s final training ahead of El Clasico earlier today. However, it is not the first time he has been seen under Xavi’s command.

The 18-year-old debuted in first-team training a few weeks ago and is considered one of the academy’s brighter talents in central defence.

Olmedo arrived in La Masia in 2013 and has steadily climbed up the ranks ever since. He belongs to the same generation as Pau Prim, Hector Fort and Marc Guiu and is just one year older than Cubarsi.

Xavi has given a chance to many young talents. (Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images)

Given his age, he is primarily a player for Barcelona’s Juvenil A side and even scored a goal in the UEFA Youth League this season. 

His performances have earned him a place in Rafa Marquez’s Barça Atletic but an injury in October kept him out of action for close to four months.

Player profile

At just 18 years of age, Olmedo has made a name for himself as one of Spain’s bright young central defenders with a great understanding of the Barcelona way.

His primary strengths include anticipation in defensive actions, his speed and his passing range.

Apart from his ball-playing skills, Olmedo also boasts of a strong presence in the air, both defensively and from set-pieces. 

If the youngster continues to impress at the ongoing rate, Xavi could well hand his 16th debut to an academy star.

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