When loan star Abde Ezzalzouli steps out onto the Estadio de La Cartuja pitch in Seville with his Osasuna team-mates to face Real Madrid in the 2023 Copa del Rey final, Barcelona will have a vested interest.
The 21-year-old has been in scintillating form for the team from Pamplona and a major reason why they’ve reached the showpiece for only the second time in their history.
It was his goal against Sevilla in the quarter-final that meant Los Rojillos qualified for a semi-final against Athletic Club, and a wonderful effort in the first leg against Los Leones helped seal the win which put them in the final.
On another day, he might’ve been facing his parent club given that it’s unlikely Barca would’ve stood in the way of him making a cup final appearance.
However, there’s still little clarity on his immediate future.
Abde’s loan finishes at the end of the league season, and Xavi has been clear that he wants the player to return to Barca before a decision will ultimately be made on whether he stays at the club or is loaned or sold elsewhere.
The coach is evidently happy with the player’s progression and the Moroccan has certainly shown confidence in his own abilities whilst at Osasuna.
Confidence that’s been sorely lacking from the likes of Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati for the most part of 2022-23.
Not afraid to take on his immediate opponent, he has averaged 3.33 successful dribbles per league game this season.
Lest we forget he also represented his country at the World Cup finals too, as they sauntered into the semi-finals, providing enjoyment for all.
It can’t therefore be said he doesn’t have ‘big game experience’ any longer.
Whether he can translate his form to help him forge a successful career at the Camp Nou is a moot point at present.
From a financial point of view, his re-integration at this time makes perfect sense. If the club are going to sell either Ferran or Ansu, and maybe even Raphinha, a replacement or two will be required.
Abde, who has a contract with Barcelona until 2026, could be ready-made to slot in as Xavi deems necessary.
Perhaps he is still a little raw, however, the club are hardly in the position of being able to splash the cash on whosoever they choose.
Could he be the answer to the club’s prayers?