According to a report from La portera de Nunez, Barcelona’s 18-year-old attacking midfielder Unai Hernadez impressed Xavi with his set-piece abilities during yesterday’s training session.
The report adds that the youngster overstayed after the session was over in order to master his free-kick skills. To everyone’s surprise, the 18-year-old put the ball into the net in each of his attempts.
Manager Xavi was quite impressed with the youngster’s dedication so much so that he went to him and reportedly said, “Since Lionel Messi left, we haven’t scored a free-kick goal, let’s see if you’re the first!”
Barcelona have severely lacked threat from such a dead ball situation of late, and could definitely do with a free-kick specialist for another dimension to their game.
Milestone alert for Hernandez
Barcelona have been troubled with the absence of a few key midfielders for their home game against Real Betis.
Pedri is currently nursing his injury, Fermin Lopez is suspended for the game after being sent off for Barcelona Atletic against Nastic recently, while Ilkay Gundogan’s participation is still in question.
“Gundogan had the blow on his back. We will see how he is today and we will decide tomorrow, although in principle he should be fit to play tomorrow,” said Xavi about the veteran.
As for Unai, he has been called up from the youth team to cover for the absentees. Although it is highly unlikely that he will start, he might as well get crucial minutes towards the end of the match depending on what the situation is.
And if he does, he will become the first homegrown player to debut for Barça in La Liga at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys in Montjuic.
Interestingly enough, while Unai has not played a competitive game for Barcelona yet, he did play for the team in June against Vissel Kobe in a friendly encounter.
The young attacking midfielder entered the field as a substitution for Pablo Torre in the 60th minute in a 2-0 win where former players, namely, Franck Kessie and Eric Garcia were on the scoresheet.