Yerry Mina: 5 things you probably didn't know about Barcelona's new defender

Yerry Mina Barcelona sign
Barcelona have signed defender Yerry Mina Mina (Image: Barcelona)

It's confirmed then - Yerry Mina will be Barcelona's second signing of the January transfer window after they signed Philippe Coutinho for a record £142m.

Mina isn't on the same level in terms of transfer fee, though. The 23-year-old has signed from Palmeiras for a fee of €11.8m.

But how much do Barcelona fans know about him? What can we expect from the Colombian defender?

#1 Mina started his career as a goalkeeper

Yerry Mina goalkeeper
Yerry Mina's father and uncle were goalkeepers

Barcelona really don't need a goalkeeper at the moment with Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Jasper Cillessen doing a fine job between the sticks.

But should the need arise to replace the goalkeeper after all three substitutions are made, Ernesto Valverde could ask Yerry Mina to don the gloves.

“When I started playing football I played as a goalkeeper, but my father insisted that I played another position.” - Yerry Mina

There's a reason why he initially took up goalkeeping - both his father and uncle were goalkeepers when they were footballers.

As a teenager atGuachene, he had even played as a midfielder before becoming a defender.

#2 Tallest player in the Barcelona squad

Yerry Mina header
Yerry Mina's height allows him to dominate aerial duels

In the past decade or so, Barcelona have never really had tall players in their squads. Thierry Henry and Zlatan Ibrahimovic were both between 6'2" and 6'4" respectively.

The current squad only has Gerard Pique (6'4") and Sergio Busquets (6'3") among the regular outfielders who are more than six feet tall while Andre Gomes is also 6'2".

It does make them vulnerable to set-pieces and that has been their Achilles heel in the past. However, that is set to change with the arrival of Mina.

The Colombian defender stands tall at an impressive 6'5". And he is as imposing as they come. In his youth, Mina had always been very tall for his age and that is what impressed most coaches who were ready to play him in defence.

#3 First Colombian to sign for Barcelona

Yerry Mina Colombia Barcelona
Yerry Mina becomes the 10th Colombian to play in La Liga

Barcelona have had a number of South American players don the Blaugrana kit in decades gone by. There have been Brazilians, Argentines, Uruguayans, and even Chilean players.

However, this is the first time they have signed a Colombian player who will represent them in official matches.

Technically, he is the second Colombian player to sign for the club. According to Barcelona, the first Colombian to play for the Catalan club was Lauro Mosquera.

Back in 1964, Mosquera had represented Barcelona in a pre-season friendly where they played Sabadell. But César Rodríguez, the coach at the time, was not impressed with his performances and he never played for the club.

Juan Cuadrado may have become the first Colombian when he was linked with the Camp Nou club in recent transfer windows but a deal was never struck to bring the winger to La Liga.

Other big-name Colombian players in La Liga include Carlos Bacca (Villarreal) and Luis Muriel (Sevilla) while James Rodriguez also spent a few years with Real Madrid before going out on loan.

#4 Voted best defender in 2016, selected in Brasileirao Team of the Year

Yerry Mina defender Palmeiras
Yerry Mina was with Brazilian club Palmeiras for two seasons

When Palmeiras won the 2016 Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, a number of their players became targets for clubs in Europe. They were already on their radar but the championship win only went on to prove their credentials as the best in Brazil.

In all, seven Palmeiras players were chosen in the Team of the Year for 2016. Among the 11, Yerry Mina was the only non-Brazilian to be selected.

That by itself is a great honour as these teams are normally dominated by Brazilian players. Since 2011, only three non-Brazilian players have made the Team of the Year - including Mina.

The other two were Peru's Paolo Guerrero (Corinthians) in 2011 and Paraguay's Fabian Balbuena (Corinthians) in 2017.

#5 Mina used to hitch rides on the back of moving vehicles to go to training

Yerry Mina Barcelona
Yerry Mina will now earn millions at Barcelona

Before he became a professional footballer who could earn enough money to take care of his family and his personal needs, Yerry Mina had a very humble background.

Growing up in the small Colombian town of Guachene, Mina did not have the money to go to training every day. As a teenager, he earned very little when he was on trial at Deportivo Cali.

According to Tifo Football, The only way he could get to training was to hang on to the back of vehicles going the same way. He would get down at checkpoints and then walk the rest of the way.

There was one point where he was desperate for money and cried himself to sleep when he realised he did not have enough money to take care of his mother. So when he did get his first real paycheck as a senior player with Deportivo Pasto, he gave two-thirds of his wages to his mother.

If reports are to be believed, Mina will now earn nearly €4m a season with Barcelona. Dreams do come true.


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Edited by Rohith Nair
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