With Pedri and Frenkie de Jong both sidelined with an injury, Xavi Hernandez had to rely on Fermín López when Raphinha had to be subbed out with an injury of his own.
In the 53 minutes or so of action López saw, it became clear rather quickly that Barcelona may have another talented midfielder on their hands.
López did not look out of place in this Barcelona team. He contributed in both the attack and defense and the numbers, as well as the eye test, don’t lie.
Therefore, it wasn’t a surprise when Xavi Hernandez was full of praise for the youngster following the game.
“Fermín has entered very well. He has plenty of quality for this level. If he believes in it, he can be a Barça player for many years. The academy works and we have to give it opportunities,” Xavi said.
With Pedri and De Jong out, López is going to get his fair share of playing time. Especially as it seems he is above Sergi Roberto in the pecking order.
“He looks like a great player to me, to be honest,” Xavi added. “He doesn’t lose the ball, he has good control, he can shoot from outside the area. He has a lot of qualities, he can help us a lot. He can be a midfielder for Barcelona, he works a lot, he is solid. Good, today he played a great game, I’m very content with him.”
Fermín López’s story with the Catalan side is an interesting one as his future with the club wasn’t exactly sorter. He impressed Xavi during training prior to the start of preseason and earned a place in the U.S. tour. López ended up scoring in the Clasico against Real Madrid.
He scored his first senior goal in the 2-2 draw against Mallorca.
Given their financial situation, Barcelona have been forced to rely on their academy and betting on young players. So far, it seems to be working. Some of it is intentional and some of it is a happy accident.
They didn’t want to lose Ousmane Dembele but his departure opened the door for Lamine Yamal. He’s burst on to the scene and had the header that led to the Sergio Ramos own goal.
They’ve lucked out somewhat with Fermín López. Until Pedri and De Jong return, he is going to have plenty of opportunities to continue to impress and make Xavi’s line-up decisions a problem — but a good one to have.