La Masia: Alejandro Orellana


Born in Gavà on the southwest coast of Barcelona, Alejandro Orellana grew up about 20 minutes from La Masia. Stops at local club EF Gavà from 2008 to 2012 and Espanyol from 2012 to 2014 led the defensive midfielder to La Masia in the summer of 2014. He made his mark with the Cadet A squad and earned a promotion to the Juvenil B team in 2016. Alongside Riqui Puig, Mateu Morey and Sergio Gómez, Orellana's calm, intelligence and ability to control a game finally began to get him noticed. He made the jump to Juvenil A last summer under Francisco Javier García Pimienta and is now honing his craft under 36-year-old Denis Silva.

The youngster has been on the Spanish youth international radar for a few years now, making his U-17 debut as a 16-year-old in March of 2017 under Santi Denia. He appeared in two U-17 Euro qualifiers, starting against Greece, before taking on a larger role for the tournament. After logging 21 minutes as a substitute against Turkey in the opening group stage game, he got the starting nod for the other five games in the tournament including the semi-final against Germany and the final against England. While he didn't take part in the penalty kicks that decided the final two matches of the tournament, Orellana proved himself to be an important member of the squad alongside club teammates Abel Ruiz, Juan Miranda and Morey.

Orellana made three appearances in last season's UEFA Youth League, earning a 13-minute substitute debut against Atlético Madrid in the quarter-finals before getting the starting nod in both the 5-4 semi-final win over Manchester City and the 3-0 win in the final against Chelsea.

Over the summer Jandro Orellana was one of several players to sign a new deal with the club, renewing his contract until 2021 with an option for two more years. Much like his compatriots from La Masia, his release clause increased to 100 million euros.

After winning the trophy a season ago, he joined fellow champions Abel Ruiz, Monchu and Juan Miranda in the starting line-up for this season's opening Youth League match, a 2-1 win over PSV. He would certainly have gotten the start against Tottenham's U-19s, but he has been dealing with a muscle injury in recent weeks and should return shortly.

The defensive midfielder's history of establishing himself in both club and international squads just as the brightest lights are coming on help showcase a maturity that the 18-year-old clearly possesses. It wouldn't be a surprise to see the youngster get the occasional chance with Barcelona B this season, though the competition is tough. Midfield is arguably the toughest position to break into the first team playing, but Orellana has put himself on the right path to someday play at the Camp Nou.

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