There has been much consternation over the state of La Masia and the perilous path youth players dream of walking from Mini Estadi to Camp Nou. The last great Barça B side - which finished 3rd in the 2013/14 Segunda División - contained a plethora of highly-rated youngsters. In five parts, I'll take a look at how players of that year's Barça B squad have fared since then. Parts one, two, and three looked at the goalkeepers, centre-backs, and fullbacks. Part four looked at the midfielders. In this final part, we'll review the forwards of that squad.
Before signing for Barça B in 2012, Joan Román had spent his fledgling career with his hometown club Santes Creus, Espanyol, and Manchester City. His first year at Mini Estadi (2012/13) was spent as a rotation player, yielding two goals and two assists in twenty-two appearances.
The Catalan had a greater role in 2013/14. He made the majority of his appearances as a starter, contributing two goals and one assist in sixteen games. The reason for the drop in games played? Joan Roman spent the second half of the campaign on loan in La Liga with Villarreal. With El Submarino Amarillo, Román featured on just three occasions, all of them coming off the bench.
After being a key player for Barça B the season following his return in Summer 2014, Joan Román left the club after his contract expired. He signed for Portuguese outfit SC Braga. A bit-part role at Braga has led to loan spells at Madeira-based Nacional, as well as Polish side Śląsk Wrocław in the recently-concluded 2016/17 season.
A native of Calvià, Mallorca, Dani Nieto spent the first decade of his youth career with hometown side Platges de Calvià, and regional giants RCD Mallorca. Nieto signed for Espanyol in 2007, aged 16, and left in 2012 after two years with Espanyol B. The Mallorca native signed for Barça B ahead of the 2013/14 season, after a year with Alcorcón in La Segunda.
A regular in 2013/14, Nieto scored six and assisted one in thirty-four appearances in Blaugrana. However, the numbers don't do justice to his contributions that year. He impressed from his wide forward role, being particularly impressive in a Mini Clásico victory against Real Madrid Castilla.
With little prospect of first team football at Barça, Dani Nieto signed for newly-promoted Eibar in Summer 2014. Since then, he has spent two years at Greek outfit Xanthi. Nieto currently plays for Numancia in La Segunda.
Joining La Masia at the age of 8 in 2004, Adama Traoré was born, to Malian parents, in the Catalan city of L'Hospitalet de Llobregat. He spent time with hometown side CE L'Hospitalet prior to playing in Blaugrana. Adama rose through the ranks as a highly-regarded young winger, his bags of pace, strength, and flair had many observers on the edge of their seats. In Summer 2013, aged 17, he was promoted to Barça B. He had featured as an unused substitute in La Segunda in April, before his promotion.
In 2013/14, Adama impressively established himself as a regular for Barça B. In twenty-six appearances (half of them were starts), he scored five and assisted four. The flying winger impressed enough to be given his first team debut in both La Liga and the UEFA Champions League ─ both came in November 2013. With the Juvenil A side, Adama was a key player as they won the UEFA Youth League. He contributed two goals and two assists in five games. The 2013/14 season was a success for both Barça B and Adama Traoré. The Spain youth international had established himself as a top prospect of his age group, with great promise for the future. However, flaws with his decision-making and teamwork skills remained.
After a few years at Mini Estadi, Adama Traoré was sold to then-English Premier League Aston Villa in Summer 2015. He left for Middlesbrough last summer, after Villa's relegation. Middlesbrough were relegated in the recently-concluded 2016/17 campaign. Adama Traoré remains a player with much potential but with much work needed on decision-making and end product.
Munir El Haddadi
Munir El Haddadi signed for Barça in 2011, aged 16, after an impressive goal return ─ thirty-two goals in twenty-nine games ─ for Madrid-based side CF Rayo Majadahonda at Cadete A level. Both Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid had turned down the chance to sign Munir to their respective youth set-ups.
Rising swiftly through the age groups, Munir starred as the Juvenil A side stormed to the UEFA Youth League title, beating Benfica 0-3 in the final in April 2014. The forward of Moroccan descent scored eleven and made four in ten games. An impressive first half of the season had led to Munir making his Barca B debut in January 2014. Over the second half of 2013/14, Munir clocked eleven appearances (four were starts) for Barça B, contributing four goals and two assists. 2013/14 was a pivotal year in Munir's young career, proving to be the platform for him to establish himself as a genuine hopeful for a role with the first team. In September 2014, Munir capped off his meteoric rise by making his senior competitive debut for Spain under Vicente del Bosque.
After spending 2014/15 as a first team squad player, with a role in Barça B, Munir was loaned to fellow La Liga side Valencia in Summer 2016. He had a productive 2016/17, scoring eight and providing three assists in thirty-nine appearances across all competitions. Munir El Haddadi's future remains undecided, as he returns to Camp Nou this summer with Luis Enrique gone, and a new coach in Ernesto Valverde to impress.
Jean Marie Dongou
In 2008, a 13-year-old Jean Marie Dongou joined La Masia as part of the partnership with the Samuel Eto'o Foundation. From an early age, Dongou was regarded as one of the gems of La Masia. The prodigiously-talented forward swiftly rose through the age groups. His meteoric rise led to him, then aged 16, playing a bit-part role with Barça B in 2011/12. He scored twice in La Segunda that season. Dongou further established himself at Mini Estadi the following year, 2012/13.
2013/14 was a great year for the Cameroonian forward. As a regular starter, Dongou scored eight and assisted a further four in thirty appearances for Barça B. He also impressed enough during the season to earn 'three debuts' ─ La Liga, Copa del Rey, UEFA Champions League.
With little prospect of first team football at Camp Nou, Dongou left for Real Zaragoza in January 2016. A series of niggling injuries had not helped his progression at Barça. Jean Marie Dongou currently plies his trade with Real Zaragoza, featuring as a squad rotation player.
'Rodri' ─ Rodrigo Ríos Lozano
Rodri joined Barça B in 2011 as an 'experienced signing'. He was then a 21-year-old forward who had been scouted and signed from Sevilla. A product of the Sevilla cantera, Rodri was a prolific goalscorer in the third tier with Sevilla Atlético. He impressed with Sevilla at first team level, making the most of the handful of opportunities he was given.
With Barça B in La Segunda, Rodri played regularly but was unable to replicate the form he had showed in La Segunda B. He spent 2013/14 on loan in La Liga with Almeria. After a series of loans, Rodri signed for German side 1860 Munich in Summer 2014. He currently plays for Córdoba CF in La Segunda. At the time of writing, with two games left to be played, Rodri currently has eleven goals and two assists in thirty-eight games.
After spending most of his childhood in his native Paraguay, Antonio Sanabria and his family relocated to Spain in 2007. Young Antonio had started his youth career in futsal, before joining the academy of Paraguayan giants Cerro Porteño. He began his career in Spain with La Blanca Subur CF, a team from the Catalan city of Sitges. In 2009, Sanabria was signed by Barça. In September 2012, a 16-year-old Sanabria was called up to train with the first team by then-Barça coach, the late Tito Vilanova.
The young striker was promoted to Barça B in Summer 2013. Sustained impressive form for the Juvenil A side had led to the offer of a new contract, which Sanabria turned down. The youngster was hungry for first team football. After three goals in ten games in La Segunda, in January 2014, Antonio Sanabria was sold to Sassuolo ─ in an arranged deal with Roma which would see Sanabria join the capital club after 2013/14.
Sanabria scored an impressive eleven goals in La Liga to save Sporting Gijon from relegation, in what was a breakthrough 2015/16 season for him. The Paraguay senior international currently plays for Real Bétis in La Liga, after joining them as a big money signing ─ €7.5 million ─ from Roma last summer.
Promoted to Barça B in Summer 2013, 2013/14 was a breakthrough year for Sandro Ramírez. The forward joined La Masia from his hometown side Las Palmas in 2009, aged 14. He was a prolific goalscorer during his time in the Blaugrana youth ranks, during which he was also a regular for Spain at youth international level. 2013/14 allowed Sandro to establish himself within the ranks as a potential first team player for Barça, though his numbers of seven goals and two assists in thirty-one games do not clearly indicate such a future ─ it is worth noting that at least half of those appearances were made off the bench. Sandro's good form, sustained through to 2014/15, led to him making his debuts in La Liga, the Copa del Rey, and UEFA Champions League ─ he ended 2014/15 with four goals in 255 minutes with the first team (an impressive ratio of one goal every 64 minutes).
With little chance of regular minutes at Camp Nou, Sandro Ramírez left for fellow La Liga side Malaga on a free transfer in Summer 2016. After sixteen goals and five assists in thirty-one games (La Liga and Copa del Rey), Sandro is one of the hottest properties in the transfer market this summer ─ taking into account a £5 million release clause.