Barcelona defeated Tottenham on penalties in their first warm up friendly match at International Champions Cup 2018.
Barcelona was without the services of the number of first team regulars, and it gave an opportunity for players of La Masia academy to impress Valverde. It was a moment for them to show what they are capable of, and they did not disappoint.
The positive take away from the match was the reliable performance of young academy graduates. They put up a solid performance, and showed the world that La Masia is still healthy and alive.
They understood the balance of the team, and except for few glitches, executed their responsibilities well, and most of the time looked surprisingly mature on the big stage.
This is significant, vital and notable because in recent years La Masia - Barca's prestigious and renowned youth system which produced stars like Xavi, Messi, and Iniesta has not been creating the world class talent it is famous for.
The promising performance by these youngsters listed below gives an assurance that the future of La Masia is in safe hands.
Juan Miranda González - Defender
Miranda was born on 19 January 2000 in the town of Olivares near Sevilla. He joined the Barcelona youth academy as an U16 player. He had a brief spell at Real Betis before he joined La Masia.
Miranda started the game beside more experienced and senior players like Marlon, Lenglet and Nelson Semedo.
Someone who follows La Masia knows how much he loves to move up the pitch and join the attack.
As anticipated, he was massively involved in the attack. He made assuring runs on the flanks and delivered plenty of excellent crosses in the box to create goal scoring opportunities. He maintained discipline while going up front as he was rarely out of position.
Marc Cucurella - Defender
Marc Cucurella joined FC Barcelona in 2012 at the age of 14. He too had a solid game in the second half. He looks determined while making challenges. He has a menacing pace, and he used it effectively to roll the ball on the wings.
He was comfortable in the defense and seemed calm and composed with the ball under his feet, except for few errors, one of which unfortunately led to the goal.
Ricard Puig Martí - Midfielder
Puig had a more than decent game. He played for 65 minutes, more than every other player, donning the number eight shirt once worn by Don Andres Iniesta - the club's living legend and his childhood hero.
He appeared to be a remarkably intelligent player and looked mature in decision making. He does not have the strength and physicality yet, but that is not a quality you look for in a classic and standard Barcelona midfielder.
He has technical ability, quick thinking, anticipation, and agility. If he continues developing in this manner, he can possibly fill Iniesta's boot.
It was a good start for the youngsters, and without any doubt, it will fill them with a lot of confidence. They played like stars, and they can hopefully restore La Masia's reputation.