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Barcelona B Defender Emerging as an Option Amid Injuries

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Chumi is training with the first team and could play a role for Ernesto Valverde

Barcelona v Real Betis - La Liga Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Chumi has trained again with the FC Barcelona first team as Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen remain injured, and the 19-year-old could have a role to play as Barça set to embark on a tough set of fixtures.

Chumi, whose real name is Juan Brandáriz, is right-footed and has been at Barcelona since 2014. He’s gone up from Juvenil B to Juvenil A, and finally, last summer, to the B team.

Manager Ernesto Valverde seems to prefer him to other B team defenders such as Jorge Cuenca and Óscar Mingueza. One reason is that Chumi has had a good start to the season; some would argue, he’s been better than the other defenders. Another aspect is that Chumi is right-footed, and Cuenca is left-footed and more similar to Clément Lenglet. Perhaps Valverde sees resting Gerard Piqué as the priority and thus has tried to pick someone who would partner well with Lenglet.

Still, just because Chumi is in training doesn’t mean he will necessarily play much, if at all. Valverde has options to reshuffle his senior players and move one into central defense if needed.