FC Barcelona 2011/12 Season in Review: Cristian Tello

BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 04: Christian Tello of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring a disallowed goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Sociedad de Futbol at Camp Nou on February 4, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Report: Last season nobody really expected to see Cristian Tello on the big stage. The young winger was expected to get a lot of playing time with the B team, even though there were many talented wingers in the squad. Tello showed remarkable speed, game-changing speed even, and with numerous injuries in the first team Pep Guardiola thought Tello was the best man for the backup job.

Tello didn't change his game after the call-up one bit and he remained extremely dangerous simply because of his extreme speed. Big league full backs could just barely handle him when they were fresh and at 100% but when they were tired after already playing around 65-75 minutes they had no chance of stopping him. That was why Pep mostly used Tello as a substitute.

When it comes to dribbling Tello is somewhat of a one trick pony and if he didn't posses his blazing speed he would struggle to get past defenders so hopefully he used the off-season to learn a different move or two. His finishing also isn't good - which he (sadly) showed remarkably well in the second league El Clasico. In the game against Bayer Leverkusen he demonstrated he knows how to take a shot on goal from the left wing - his shots even had a slight resemblance to Thierry Henry's shots - but Tello failed to produce that shot on a regular basis.

All things considered Tello has to be pretty satisfied with his 2011/12 season. He made his first team debut, against Villarreal, he scored his first Primera División goal, against Real Sociedad, and he even started his first El Clasico. He also made his UEFA Champions League debut and he celebrated it by scoring two goals in his first eight minutes on the pitch.

Arron Duckling's View: Last season was a steep learning curve for Tello as he burst onto the scene and won the support of all Barcelona fans with some fantastic performances before ending the season low on confidence after a shocker in the Clasico. In fact, Tello’s season was virtually a carbon copy of Bojan’s time with the club. Fast, skilful, clinical; Tello appeared to have it all when he helped put Bayer Leverksuen and Real Sociedad to the sword, but it was a case of too much, too soon as he was thrown right in at the deep-end in that infamous El Clasico defeat.

He still had his pace, but the decision-making was poor, and the less said about his shooting the better. That being said, time is still very much on Tello’s side, and unless anything drastic happens, he will benefit from regular game-time with the B team in the Segunda. For a while, he was putting in some A grade performances, but I think on reflection a "C" seems about right.

Moment of the Season: This might come as a bit of a surprise but I didn't choose Tello's two goal performance against Bayer Leverkusen, mainly because both goals he scored would've been saved by a better goalkeeper. For Tello's Moment of the Season I picked his best "goal-scorer's goal", against Osasuna. The winger controlled the ball brilliantly and finished the play off with a powerful shot.

Goal Cristian Tello Osasuna vs Barcelona 3-2 (via Himmetstar)

Stats:

Appearances 22
Games started 4
Started on the bench 23
Substitute in 18
Substitute out 2
Minutes played 724
Goals scored 7
Assists 3
Shots 26
Shots on goal 15
Fouls committed 5
Fouls suffered 9
Yellow cards 1
Red cards 0

Record with Cristian Tello in the starting lineup: 3-0-1

2012/13 Outlook: Tello is expected to sign a new contract very soon but even when all the details are agreed the youngster is expected to remain registered with the B team. This way Tello can keep getting playing time in the Segunda División as well as play for Tito Vilanova's Barça (and Barça keeps a roster spot open). Unless another injury bug goes through the team I don't expect much more first team playing time for Tello than he had last season with again most appearances coming as a (super-)sub.

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