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30.10.2009 12:43

Nine debutants under Guardiola

David Puig

Josep Guardiola has given official first team debuts to nine Barça Atlètic and other youth players since he took control of the team. Gai, Dos Santos and Jonathan Soriano are the latest after the game with Cultural Leonesa.

Gai Assulin, Jonathan dos Santos and Jonathan Soriano are the latest Barça youth players to make their official debuts. They all played on Wednesday against Cultural Leonesa in the Copa del Rey.

Sergio the first

fcb-racing_x14x.jpgThe first young debutante of the Guardiola era was Sergio Busquets. Aged 20, the son of the former Barça goalkeeper, Carlos Busquets, played his first league match on September 13, 2008 against Racing Santander. Sergio started that match and played all 90 minutes and posted a great performance. The only downside to his first game was the result, a 1-1- draw. Busquets has not played for Barça Atlètic since, and was one of the revelations of last season.

Abraham, first debutant in Copa del Rey

Versatile Barça Atlètic player Abraham González was the first reserve to get a run out under Guardiola in the Copa del Rey. That was away to Benidorm, where he came on in the 85th minute for Sergio. Abraham also played a league match away to Deportivo, in the last game of the season, and the last he played for Barça before being transferred to Cadiz in the summer.

Two more league debuts

WEB_20.jpgGuardiola used the largely irrelevant last four games of last season to give a game to four other players, preferring to rest some of the more established players for the Champions League final. Midfielder Xavi Torres, now at Malaga, and Thiago Alcántara, who has just returned from an injury picked up playing for Barça Atlètic, got their big chance on May 17, 2009 at the ONO Estadi against Mallorca. Xavi Torres started the game as the central playmaker, while Thiago had to wait until the 74th minute, when he came on for Gudjohnsen.

Bittersweet debut for Muniesa

Young defender Marc Muniesa, now in the youth team, had an odd debut against Osasuna at the Camp Nou. The 17 year old centre back came on for Sylvinho in the 50th minute, a wonderful moment after he had been injured for eight months. The joy was short-lived though because he was unfairly sent off in the 82nd minute, provoking one of the most defiant shows of handkerchiefs in recent years at the Camp Nou.

Botía, last debutant of 2008/09

Centre back Alberto Botía, now on loan to Sporting Gijón, was the last player to make his debut under Guardiola last season. The venue was Riazor in the last game of the season. Botía came on in the 63rd minute for Gerard Piqué and fitted into the scheme of things brilliantly.
Nine debutants under Guardiola
Pedro not under Guardiola
But one of the players most associated to Josep Guardiola, Pedro Rodríguez, didn’t actually make his debut under the man. For Barça Atlètic, he played his first game when Quique Costas was on the bench, and played his first game for the first team on January 12, 2008, before Guardiola was manager, at the Camp Nou against Murcia. Pedro, known then as Pedrito, came on in the 88th minute for Samuel Eto’o.

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