5 Young Spanish Soccer Players to Watch in 2020

By Ben Morris in Soccer
| April 13, 2020 2:41 am PDT
Five Upcoming Spanish Soccer Stars

Spain secured back-to-back European Championship triumphs in 2008 and 2012 to bookend a World Cup win in 2010, marking an era of unrivaled success for the national team.

It goes without saying that Vicente del Bosque’s side will always be remembered as one of the great international teams. But Spain has had very little to shout about in recent years.

With legends likes Xavi and Andres Iniesta hanging up their boots, Spain has since suffered a series of disappointing early exits from major tournaments.

However, a promising new generation of talented stars suggests that a return to the glory days could be just around the corner.

A plethora of young Spanish players are taking Europe’s top league by storm, and in this post, I will take a closer look at some of the leading lights for the new era.

Here are five upcoming Spanish soccer stars to keep an eye on in 2020.

Ansu Fati

  • Age: 17
  • Club: Barcelona
  • Position: Winger/Forward

Barcelona’s La Masia academy is renowned for producing world-class players, and Ansu Fati is the latest wonderkid to burst onto the scene at Camp Nou.

Born in Guinea-Bissau, Fati moved to Spain with his family at the age of six. And after spending a couple of years in Sevilla’s academy, Barca snapped him up.

The club has always seen Fati as a special talent, and it was clear from the off that he would break into the first team eventually. But nobody could’ve predicted the huge impact he would make at such a young age.

With Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Ousmane Dembele all injured at the start of the season, Barcelona was suddenly left with a serious shortage of numbers in attack. As a result, Fati was drafted into the senior squad. And the rest, as they say, is history.

He made his debut as a substitute in August at the age of 16 years and 298 days before becoming the youngest player to score for Barca in La Liga the following week.

He then started the next game, becoming the club’s youngest-ever full debutant. Within seven minutes of his full debut, Fati had scored one goal and assisted another.

You won’t be surprised to hear that he was swiftly given a Spanish passport. Despite having no previous international experience at youth level, Fati was fast-tracked straight into Spain’s Under-21 side, and he has since made two appearances.

Ultimately, the sky’s the limit for Ansu Fati. He’s still so young, so there’s plenty of time for him to hone his skills. He’s in the perfect place to perfect his trade, and I’m excited to track his development in the coming years.

Pedri

  • Age: 17
  • Club: Las Palmas/Barcelona
  • Position: Attacking Midfield/Winger

Pedri was born in Tenerife, Canary Islands. But rather than joining a team from his home island, he decided to sign his first professional contract with Las Palmas instead.

However, after making just a handful of first-team appearances in Spain’s second division, it was obvious that Pedri was destined for bigger things.

Blessed with the vision and touch of Andres Iniesta, it wasn’t long before Barcelona came calling. The Catalan giant signed Pedri in September 2019, although he was instantly loaned back to Las Palmas for the remainder of the campaign.

Of course, the Iniesta comparisons are bold. But they are thoroughly deserved. The teenager’s decision making is exceptional for such a young player, and his ability to glide across the pitch with the ball at his feet is superb.

Pedri is also capable of making defense-splitting passes, while opponents invariably find it difficult to dispossess him. Filling Iniesta’s boots won’t be easy, but Pedri has definitely got what it takes to give it a shot.

After racking up three goals and three assists in his first ten league games for Las Palmas, the 17-year-old has become a mainstay in Pepe Mel’s side. He may be hidden away in the second tier for now, but he will soon become a household name.

The prospect of Pedri and Fati linking up next season is thrilling for Barca fans, with the young duo ready to spearhead a new generation for the club.

If Pedri can enjoy half the success that Iniesta experienced at Camp Nou, then he will surely go down in Barcelona folklore.

Eric Garcia

  • Age: 19
  • Club: Manchester City
  • Position: Center-Back

Eric Garcia is another player who came through the ranks at Barcelona. He was captain of every age group and earned a reputation as one of the most promising players to come out of La Masia.

But instead of signing a professional contract with his boyhood club, Garcia chose to move to England and sign for Manchester City.

Barcelona certainly knew what they were losing when the center-back left in 2017. However, it’s safe to say that Man City probably didn’t realize quite what they were getting.

At just 16, the talented defender was initially placed in City’s U19 squad. But after making five full appearances in the UEFA Youth League and guiding the team to the semi-finals, it wasn’t long before Pep Guardiola drafted Garcia into the senior squad.

Garcia made his senior debut for Man City in December 2018 before making his Premier League bow in September 2019. The youngster has been in and out of the team this season, but it won’t be long before he’s challenging for a regular spot in Guardiola’s starting eleven.

The 19-year-old isn’t exactly the tallest center-back in the world. But what he lacks in height, he more than makes up for with his mature reading of the game.

It’s no real surprise that he’s so gifted. At Barcelona, Garcia learned from the likes of Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique. When he moved to City, he was able to continue his education alongside Vincent Kompany and Aymeric Laporte.

Leaving the comfort of his hometown club at such a young age to pursue a career abroad also speaks volumes about Garcia’s mentality.

Not only is he a Man City legend in the making, but with five Spain U21 caps to his name already, Garcia looks set to become a hero on the international stage, too.

Pedro Porro

  • Age: 20
  • Club: Real Valladolid/Manchester City
  • Position: Right-Back

Manchester City picked up another Spanish prodigy recently when they acquired the services of Pedro Porro during the previous summer transfer window.

Porro was signed from Girona for £11 million. But in order to gain vital first-team experience, he was loaned to Real Valladolid for the entirety of the 2019/20 campaign.

The versatile right-sided wing-back has gone from strength to strength this season, making 13 La Liga appearances while cementing his status as one of the country’s hottest young prospects.

Valladolid may not be experiencing a successful season as a club, but Porro is having a standout campaign on a personal level. It can be argued that the youngster’s efforts have kept the team out of the relegation zone.

What makes Porro so special is his consistency. His performances are always top drawer, and for someone so young, that’s no mean feat.

Furthermore, Porro is full of confidence, and he’s not afraid to challenge opponents in one-on-one duels. The crossing talents of the wing-back are also brilliant, especially considering his relative inexperience.

With Man City’s first-choice right-back Kyle Walker seemingly past his best, we could see Porro breaking into the English club’s first team next season.

Ferran Torres

  • Age: 20
  • Club: Valencia
  • Position: Winger

When Ferran Torres snubbed Valencia’s offer to tie him down to a new long-term deal recently, every major club in Europe was put on red alert.

The Spain U21 international has caught the eye this season, scoring six goals and registering seven assists in all competitions during his breakthrough campaign with Los Ches.

He has featured in all but two of Valencia’s La Liga games in 2019/20 and also played a starring role in the club’s run to the Champions League knockout stages.

Given Torres’ performances this term, it’s no wonder that EPL giants Liverpool, Manchester United, and Man City are all keen on signing the winger. In fact, Barcelona, Juventus, and Borussia Dortmund are also reportedly interested, so the race for his signature is set to be fierce.

Torres has made a name for himself as a traditional winger. He is powerful, quick, and boasts excellent close control. His dribbling skills also allow him to get into positions where he can deliver pin-point crosses.

Sure, Valencia would love to keep hold of Torres. But it’s going to be extremely difficult for the club to turn down the inevitable offers from some of the continent’s wealthiest sides.

The 20-year-old is believed to have a €100 million release clause, and I’m sure there will be no shortage of bids for Torres when the next transfer window opens.

Final Words

I believe Ansu Fati and Pedri are both set for long and successful careers at Barcelona. After all, Messi and Suarez aren’t getting any younger, so there will soon be more opportunities for the next generation to step up at Camp Nou.

Both Eric Garcia and Pedro Porro have the potential to develop into world-class players with Manchester City, while Ferran Torres’ big move is surely imminent.

There are a lot of young Spanish players making a name for themselves right now, so if you think I’ve missed anyone from this list, feel free to discuss your own suggestions by leaving a comment.

And if you’re looking for more content like this, make sure you check out our soccer blog.

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