Pedri’s absence due to injury followed by Fermin Lopez’s suspension and Ilkay Gundogan’s potential unavailability has forced Barcelona manager Xavi to call two players from the subsidiary team, namely, Marc Casado and Unai Hernandez into the matchday squad to face Real Betis.
According to Mundo Deportivo, the two youth team players could achieve a special milestone tonight.
If they play against Real Betis, they will become the first homegrown players to debut for Barça in La Liga at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys in Montjuic as their home.
Casado has already played for the first-team
Among the duo in question, the only individual with firsthand experience donning the coveted Barça first-team jersey is Casado.
His debut came in the previous season when he took the field against Viktoria Plzen during the Champions League group stage game, on November 1, 2022.
Nevertheless, he remains unacquainted with the sensations associated with La Liga as that game against Viktoria Plzen remains his only outing for the senior team.
So while his initiation into top-tier European competition offered a taste of the elite stage, the prospect of showcasing his talents in the domestic La Liga arena continues to elude him.
Unai Hernandez, meanwhile, has been a regular in training under Xavi in recent days and the 18-year-old has done enough to be included in the squad list.
Youth players under Xavi
For what it is worth, other youth team prospects have debuted under Xavi but not at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys.
Lamine Yamal had his maiden senior appearance with Barça in La Liga when he faced Betis at Camp Nou last season.
Fermin, on the other hand, marked his debut on August 27 this year against Villarreal at Estadio La Cerámica.
Consequently, Casado and Hernandez have the potential to etch their names in history by becoming the first Barcelona youth players to make their La Liga debut with Barça at the iconic Olimpic Stadium in Montjuic as their home.
Historic significance of Montjuic
Interestingly enough, Lionel Messi’s debut for Barcelona occurred at Montjuïc itself.
The former captain marked his first appearance on October 16, 2004, at the Lluis Companys Olimpic Stadium, but, it must be noted that Barcelona were the away side in that match while facing Espanyol.
On that memorable day, a youthful Messi, at the tender age of 17 years, 3 months, and 22 days, took the field, stepping in for the current Barcelona sporting director, Deco.