La Masia: Álex Collado

Riqui Puig is the current Barcelona B midfielder who is getting all the attention, but his partner in midfield, Álex Collado, is quite the player in his own right. With Carles Aleñá recovering from injury and Marcus McGuane, Ferrán Sarsanedas and Monchu all providing competition as well, Collado will need to prove his worth to remain in Francisco Javier García Pimienta's starting midfield.

The 19-year-old was born on April 22, 1999 in nearby Sabadell, approximately a 35-minute drive from the Camp Nou. His early career began with Gimnastic Mercantil before making the move to Espanyol's youth team. In July of 2011, he made the move to La Masia and started his ascent through the youth academy. Like many of his teammates, the first real attention he received from a widespread audience came when they captured the UEFA Youth League title, defeating Chelsea 3-0 behind a starting midfield of Puig, Collado and Jandro Orellana. Throughout the competition, he scored four goals in ten games in the successful campaign.

A few months earlier, on March 17, 2018, he had made his Barcelona B debut against Lorca, playing 71 minutes in a 1-1 draw. Through three games this season with Barca B, Collado has two starts and came off the bench for the third.

His international resume may be short, but one appearance for the Spain U-19s back in November of 2017 marked a debut that only a few players get to experience. If Pimienta can continue to help the left-footed midfielder develop, his one cap won't be his last. Collado profiles as a play-maker with good decision-making and fantastic vision, and he generally operates as the right interior of Barcelona's midfield three. He does occasionally pop up on the right wing and doesn't look out of place taking players on in one-on-one situations.

Over the summer, Collado signed a new deal, renewing until 2021, with an option for two more years. His release clause took the jump from three million euros to 50 million and would raise to 100 million euros if he gets to the first team. There is no guarantee that any player will break into the Barcelona first team, and the odds are honestly not very high, but clearly the club know that this is a teenager with great promise and is destined to be a successful player wherever he winds up.