La Masia continue to produce talented players and Angel Alarcon has recently caught the attention of the staff and Barcelona manager Xavi. For several seasons, the striker has been considered one of the most promising players in the academy.
If the current campaign is anything to go by, Angel deserves all the appreciation and recognition. The 18-year-old has returned from a 14-month knee injury but has been impressive from the start. There is no indication that the unlucky injury that eliminated him from participating in the preseason with the first-team two years ago did not affect his acceleration or dynamics. In the YCL(Youth Champions League) alone, he scored three goals and made the same number of assists. In total, this season, he has twelve goals, five assists and a penalty won, thus noting a goal share on average every 84 minutes, which translates into a direct share of 36% of goals scored by his team.
The forward is part of a great 2004 generation that also includes Pablo Paez Gavi, Diego Almeida, Ilias Akhomach, Aleix Garrido, Arnau Casas and Toni Caravaca. FootTheBall highlights all of Angel Alarcon’s strengths and what can you expect from him.
Who is Angel Alarcon?
Born on 15 May 2004, Angel Alarcon started playing for Vista Alegre de Castelldefels. There he already showcased glimpses of his quality and often competed with players older than him. Barcelona who had been tracking Alarcon for some time, did not hesitate to sign him in 2018. So that summer, aged 14, the youngster switched clubs from Espanyol to Barcelona as he joined La Masia. He was added to arguably the most special generation from the azulgranas, the 2004 class.
By March Angel Alarcon was making his Barcelona B debut, going on to make four appearances in the 2020-21 season. At that point, he was shaping up to be one of the more promising forwards in the academy. That sentiment remained, at least until June of 2021, when Alarcon suffered an ACL injury and proceeded to miss the next 14 months.
Ángel Alarcón • El Killer • 2020/2021. 💥
Some of Ángel's best moments this season. Alarcón is a dynamic and mobile striker who can score goals from almost anywhere. Great finishing, acceleration, balance. He impresses with off-the-ball movement, intelligence, and positioning. pic.twitter.com/eKeUweJ89V
— Piotr Guziński (@Nyctophile1_) April 28, 2021
Now it’s 2023 and Alarcon is still playing for Juvenil A (U-19s), where he has eight goals and two assists. So why is he seemingly closer to the first team than ever? While playing for the U-19s and in the UEFA Youth League, the now 18-year-old Alarcon is slowly but surely regaining some of what he may have lost in that long layoff.
The Spanish teenager is believed by the club to have the greatest potential, only after Gavi himself. Ramon Planes had selected the teenager to be on the preseason list during Ronald Koeman’s time, but that knee injury kept him out of action for more than a year.
Alarcon was instead one of a select group of U-19s to spend a few training sessions with Xavi during the World Cup break. Fortunately for Alarcon, Xavi seems to have taken notice, and apparently a move back to the centre was suggested by the first team manager himself.
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Angel Alarcon stats
Back in December of 2019, 15-year-old Angel Alarcon had 14 goals for Cadet A (U-16s), playing as a centre-forward and usually being on the receiving end of sparkling assists from Ilias Akhomach and a kid nicknamed ‘Gavi’.
By December of 2020, as youth football was just picking up again after being shut down by the pandemic, the now 18-year-old had already scored seven goals and added four assists in just 15 matches for Juvenil A, shifting over to a spot on the left wing.
Alarcon is also creative. His off-the-ball movement and intelligence enable him to run behind defenders at the perfect moment, which, combined with his acceleration, is a lethal weapon not only on counter-attacks.
Most recently, Xavi included Alarcon in the matchday squad of a Copa del Rey picture, where the teenager came off the bench and played a 10-minute cameo. He is yet to make an appearance for Barcelona in La Liga, although, after his contract extension, it is just a matter of time before his debut. Angel Alarcon has also scored 3 goals and supplied 3 assists in the UEFA Youth League.
Angel Alarcon’s potential and style of play
Angel Alarcon joined Barcelona in 2018 from Espanyol’s academy where he excelled at the prestigious MIC tournament and in the league. The Spaniard strengthened the cadete B team, in which he immediately became the top scorer and scored 22 goals in 26 league matches in his first season at the club. In the following season in the cadete A , he did not slow down and scored fifteen goals in eighteen appearances. Furthermore, he also scored four goals in the Kevin de Bruyne tournament that saw Barça win the title.
Time for Messi to surpass Ronaldo's tally? 🐐#Ronaldo #Messi #Neymar pic.twitter.com/VuOmtXM9PH
— FootTheBall FC (@FootTheBallFC) January 29, 2023
His physicality at such a young age is also impressive. Angel makes good use of these conditions and can play with his back to the goal. He also makes great use of his body and gets fouled quite often. Angel Alarcon combines the power and explosiveness of a winger, with the positioning and instinct of a centre-forward. This allows him to be capable of playing anywhere in the frontline. While with Espanyol he was more of a striker, at La Masia, as well as with his national team, he has been deployed mainly as a winger.
Angel is a player who can play anywhere in the front line. In the lower sections, he mostly played on the left wing, where he moved inside, could dribble from the touchline and entered the penalty area quite often. He’s a specialist in leaving defenders behind thanks to his excellent acceleration.
Angel Alarcon Barcelona transfer news
Alarcon’s current deal was set to expire at the end of the 2022/23 season and Barcelona made it a priority to strike a new deal with the 18-year-old forward who is quickly rising in the club’s ranks after shining for Barcelona in the UEFA Youth League group stage this season.
He started the season mostly as a left winger but was converted to a striker per the request of first-team boss Xavi Hernández who is a big fan of the youngster and sees a real future for Alarcon in the main squad.
Alarcon will still be registered as an academy player once his new deal kicks in, but he will essentially be a first-team player next season if he continues to develop and impress in training. But whether he gets into the first-team squad at any point this season or not, clearly Xavi sees something in that crop of youngsters that trained with him during the break.
In La Masia, Angel has already played 66 official matches, scoring 56 goals. These numbers can be impressive, and in addition to goals, Alarcon has a lot of assists. The forward also played for Spain’s U-15 and U-16 teams, where he scored 8 goals in 14 games. Top numbers, top talent.