Like the senior team, there was only gonna be one winner of this award. Jonathan Soriano.
About a decade ago, Jonathan's career was fledgling. He was 17, having just made his debut for Barca's city rivals RCD Espanyol, the whole world at his feet. Ok maybe not, but he definitely had a bright career ahead of him. He had scored 18 goals in 15 matches for the Spanish U17 team and some people had him pegged as the natural successor to Raul Tamudo. But managers Miguel Lotina then Ernesto Valverde were yet to be convinced by his performances in Espanyol and he was loaned out to Almeria, Ejido and Albacete with a few appearances with Espanyol in between. The young man's career had stalled and he couldn't get the playing time he needed because the ageless Tamudo and Luis Garcia were blocking him from the first team. And after the 08-09 season, Los Periquitos released him.
Now, at 24 years of age, there was still plenty of time for his career to be salvaged. And for sure, a lot of mid-to-lower level clubs offered him a chance to play for their respective teams. But instead, he took a step backwards and decided to play for Barcelona. Barcelona B that is, playing at the third-tier of Spanish football at the time.
Jonathan knew that despite the step backwards in terms of competition, he was guaranteed to get the playing time needed to get his confidence back up, and hopefully, someone was gonna be there to notice. He struggled at first, but then his pace and goal scoring instincts began to show. He fired in 18 goals in 31 league appearances last year, as he helped Barcelona B achieve promotion to the Segunda Division for the first time in over a decade.
This year, as Jonathan went, so did Barcelona B. Barcelona B rocketed up the standings early as he carried on the momentum of a season ago, had a bit of a goal drought as Barca B's form dipped (I mean, 5 goals in 12 games isn't bad). Towards the end of the season though, the goals started pouring in for Jonathan. Any shot he took seemed on target, any luck to be had was certainly coming to him. And Barcelona B rose back up the standings thanks to him. In all, he finished with 32 goals in 36 league games, easily winning the Pichichi of the second division.
His performance this year has certainly earned him looks from clubs around Europe. Not the big clubs mind you, but he's certainly come a long way from where he was two years ago. For his career to progress, he may have to look elsewhere, given that the FC Barcelona is loaded in attack. To be sure, there will be no shortage of offers coming to him.
Congratulations on a great year, Jonathan! Good luck!
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