Alex Collado, born in the city of Sabadell in Catalonia (the birthplace of Sergio Busquets), joined La Masia back in 2011 as a 12-year-old. The central midfielder has since risen through the club’s youth ranks, appearing for Barca’s Juvenil A (the premier U-19 side and the final stage of progression at La Masia) throughout the 2016-17 season as a 17-year-old.
Collado played a vital role in Barca’s run to the semifinals of last year's UEFA Youth League, which culminated in a 2-1 defeat to eventual champions Red Bull Salzburg.
Now 18 and sporting the No. 10 jersey for the Juvenil A, the left-footed central midfielder again outlined his talent with a brace against Olympiacos last week in this season’s UEFA Youth League group stage. The goals ensured a top-two finish for Barca, and his second was named the FCB Masia Goal of the Week.
Here’s the first goal (again, he’s number 10), scored after a smart run from midfield.
— DMV Soccer (@DMVsoccer96) October 31, 2017
And here’s the banger that won him the individual honors.
Alex Collado: La Masia'nın yeni Carles Aleñá'sı.Bugün UEFA Youth League maçında 2 gol attı. 18 yaşında, 1.73 boyunda ve solak. Takipte kalın pic.twitter.com/8ksHMFWHle— Fırat Soğuk (@firatsoguk12) October 31, 2017
If you want to watch the full match highlights, you can get a taste of his range of passing from midfield as well, but here’s an assist against Porto from last season that gives you an idea.
— Adnan (@Dinoucs) March 8, 2017
Collado followed up this performance with a goal in Barca's 4-0 victory over Sant Andreu on Sunday. And here’s all his touches against Villarreal last season in a Copa del Rey Juvenil match because he’s fun to watch.
Collado is left-footed and able to play on the right wing, so the Messi comparisons will be inevitable, but his natural position lies in the center of the park, either as a central or holding midfielder.
Barca’s track record in promoting players like Collado to the first team hasn’t been spectacular of late — they’ve been a victim of their own success in many respects — but it’s an issue that the club’s hierarchy is looking to remedy over the coming years.
Alex Collado is one of those players that deserves a chance should his development continue at this rate.