PETE JENSON: The lowdown on Barcelona's 17-year-old wonder Marc Guiu

PETE JENSON: Barcelona’s new 17-year-old wonderkid Marc Guiu has been on some journey, from signing at seven to scoring the winner in 33 seconds of his senior debut

  • Marc Guiu scored Barcelona’s winner 33 seconds after making his senior debut 
  • The 17-year-old then came off the bench to make his Champions League debut 
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’

Surprised but not surprised, was how Barcelona staff reacted to Marc Guiu taking just 33 seconds to score his first goal for the first team.

The 17-year-old who will turn 18 on January 6 next year has been training regularly with the first team since Robert Lewandowski picked up an ankle injury and he has shown everyone at the club what he is capable of.

He is not the typical Barcelona number nine who will drop deep and run the channels, his strength is not combining with midfielders. He is all about being on the shoulder of the last defender and waiting for the right pass to come and that is what happened on Sunday night. 

He timed his run brilliantly to stay onside and then with only one touch to get the ball out of his feet he opened his body and sent it past Spain’s number one goalkeeper Unai Simon. Guiu followed off his match-winning display against Athletic Bilbao by making his Champions League debut on Wednesday.

The teenager is a more traditional number nine than Barcelona are used to producing and his goalscoring exploits with the under-18s have fast-tracked him to the club’s B-team which is why Xavi turned to him when he lost Lewandowski.

Marc Guiu has proved to everyone at Barcelona what he is capable of despite being just 17 

The forward scored 33 seconds after coming on for his club debut as they beat Athletic Bilbao

He then made his Champions League debut against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday night

Guiu arrived at the club from a local youth feeder side in 2013, and has made steady progress

The Barcelona coach promised him he would get a chance. Even Barcelona’s blue-sky thinking manager could not have imagined it would come so soon and he would take it so well.

Guiu arrived at the club in 2013 from one of Barcelona’s local youth feeder clubs in his home town of Sant Celoni about an hour’s drive north east of the city of Barcelona. Aged seven he already stood out and progress has been steady since then.

In February of this year the club gave him his first professional contract and he played in a pre-season game against Andres Iniesta’s former team Vissel Kobe.

He has already scored five goals this season and caught the eye of Barcelona’s B-team coach Rafa Marquez who gave him minutes in his team’s recent game against Nastic in one of Spain’s regional third tier divisions. And Xavi named him in his squad before the international break for the game against Granada.

He has caught the eye on the international stage too scoring eight goals in 12 games for the Under-17s. In the last U-17 Euros he matched his close friend Lamine Yamal by scoring four goals in the tournament. On Sunday they were both on the pitch together as Barcelona beat Athletic Club thanks to his goal.

Guiu then made his Champions League debut on Wednesday night, coming on as a 75th minute substitute for Joao Felix during their 2-1 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk. 

Barcelona coaching staff praise his attitude to: always trying to learn from senior players in particular centre-back Ronald Araujo who has taken him under his wing since he has been promoted to first team training sessions.

In February of this year, he got a senior contract, and has been praised by staff for his attitude

Xavi named Guiu (L) in his squad for the game against Granada before the international break

‘I’m the happiest man in the stadium,’ said his dad Manel after the match. ‘We couldn’t have imagined this in our wildest dreams. I was crying, his mum was crying, his sister was crying. 

‘There is so much hard work behind a moment like this – 11 seasons giving everything to get to here. I’ll hug him when he gets home and tell him to just carry on like this as he has been up until now.’

Life will never be the same again. Before he climbed off the bench in the Lluis Companys Stadium he had 47,000 Instagram followers. Now, he has over 900,000. 

‘He won’t sleep tonight,’ said former Barcelona and Spain midfielder Gaizka Mendieta covering the game against Bilbao on television.

He needs to because the effect he had in the second half against Athletic Club he might just be needed more going forward.

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