Yerry Mina: Colombia's Sleeping Giant


By guest contributor Soham Banerjee (@IamSohamB).


When Yerry Mina signed for F.C. Barcelona from SE Palmeiras in January of 2018 for a fee of 11.8 million euros and a buy out clause of 100 million euros, it seemed like good business for Barcelona. With Javier Mascherano on his way out at the club and Gerard Pique suffering from a knee injury, Mina was brought in to challenge for a spot. He made his debut on February 9th, replacing Pique in the 83rd minute of the Copa del Rey semi-final against Valencia.

His first start for Barcelona came two days later versus Getafe in a goalless draw with Mina exceeding expectations. While he clearly wasn't up to speed with moving the ball on the ground, his physicality and ability in the air were obvious assets for the club. What followed though was something a young player trying to make an impression would dread. An enormous dip in form with fiascos all around, he was the subject of plenty of criticism and abhor.

Yet, fast forward to the World Cup, and the perception of the defender from the general populace has certainly changed. With Colombia on the brink of being eliminated from the World Cup after Los Cafeteros lost to Japan in the opener (when Mina was out injured), the South Americans needed hero. From the seas of despair and the clouds of criticism, an unlikely hero came to the rescue and it wasn't James Rodriguez.

In the second game against Poland, Mina was an integral part of Jose Pekerman's system and scored the opening goal. In the next game versus Senegal, he rose like a salmon and stung like a bee. A thumping header against the crossbar put Colombia into the knockout stages and made it two goals in two games for the big man.

Against England in the round of 16, Colombia and Mina had their hands full on the defensive end dealing with movement of Harry Kane and pace of Raheem Sterling. Aside from committing a hand ball with a sliding tackle, Mina dealt with the Three Lions about as good as he could alongside Davinson Sanchez. He didn't look particularly good passing out of the back, a reason that his detractors give for why he will never make the grade at Barcelona. However, his game does have it's right sparks, and in the dying embers of the game, with the Three Lions up 1-0, Yerry Mina again used his strength and size on a set piece and scored the 93rd minute equalizer.

While Colombia would fall in the shootout and it was heartbreak for the South Americans, there is much that they can take from their James Rodriguez-less performance. Mina was by far Colombia's best player at the World Cup with a passing average of 89%, an average of five aerial duels won every game, three goals and one man of the match trophy.

Since March, there have been reports of Yerry Mina opting to move out of Barcelona, either on loan or on a permanent deal. Various Premier League clubs have shown interest in the Colombian youngster, especially reports stating that Liverpool want to sign him after his commendable performances in the World Cup. Should he stay with the Blaugrana or should he leave to start a new chapter in his life? Either way, Cules will wish him the best!

For more on the Colombian defender, The Barcelona Podcast discussed Mina's future at the club in their most recent episode, TBPod.link/93.