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Barcelona youngster thanks Xavi for giving first-team opportunities: “I’m very grateful”

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Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

One of the aspects of Xavi’s leadership at Barcelona that will be remembered forever is the sheer number of La Masia graduates the manager provided with debuts. As a product of the academy himself, it is clear why he prioritises and trusts the academy players to no end.

One such player, and the latest beneficiary of Xavi’s trust, is Hector Fort. The youngster was thrown into the deep end in Barcelona’s clash against Athletic Club last week and made a strong impression.

The 17-year-old soon followed that up with an impressive display against Villarreal where he showed maturity beyond his years in both defence and offence.

Fort opened up about his debut

Speaking to the club’s social media in a recent interview, the Barcelona right-back showed his deep gratitude to the manager for trusting him on the biggest of stages.

His heartfelt message to Xavi is only the latest on the long list of loving messages pouring in after he announced his decision to leave the club in June.

“I am very grateful to him (Xavi) for the opportunities. We the young players are prepared and we try to show it. I have been Culé all my life and playing in front of the fans made me very excited.”

La Masia instills the values of Barça in you,” he added on the importance of the club’s academy system and why it was so successful.

“I feel a lot of pride, a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of happiness because I spent so many years working and working every day to get to where I am now. I will keep working so that the opportunities keep coming,” he further stated.

A vital component

Growing in stature. (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images)

Fort was roped into the first team as one meant for the long term with slow integration. Two games into his stint with the first team, however, and he already appears to be set for a critical role for the rest of the season.

Alejandro Balde’s injury leaves Xavi without his first-choice left-back for the rest of the season. Fort thus stands as one of the best options to take over from the Spaniard, at least until Marcos Alonso is fit.

The coming games, thus, will be key for the teenage star to prove his worth and earn a regular spot in the lineup. With a new manager coming in June, he must make himself a household name to stand a chance of staying linked with the first team.

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