La Masia: Monchu

Competition is tight in the crowded Barcelona B midfield as Francisco Javier García Pimienta works to groom the future maestros that will make their names at the Camp Nou. Youngest among them (one month younger than Riqui Puig) is 19-year-old Monchu. A player with the ability to slot in at all three midfield spots in Barcelona's 4-3-3, Monchu shouldn't be forgotten amongst his talented peers.

Born Ramón Rodríguez Jiménez on September 13, 1999 in Palma de Mallorca, the capital of the island of Mallorca, the boy nicknamed "Monchu" started his club career with local team CIDE. He was noticed by the largest club on the island RCD Mallorca, where he played until making the move to La Masia to join the Infantil A squad in 2012.

The player has expressed his gratitude for others that welcomed him to the club with open arms and he has allows vowed to do the same. He is often seen around the likes of Juan Miranda, Mateu Morey, Nils Mortimer and Antonio Jesús.

He made his Barcelona B debut in December of 2017 against Cádiz CF, still just a 17-year-old. While he may not get the same acclaim as his midfield teammates, he did play a significant role in winning the UEFA Youth League against Chelsea and the U-19 league title. He made six appearances with the B team last season, scoring one goal in 444 minutes and matched those totals in the UEFA Youth League in 506 minutes. In fact, it was his role for Barca B that kept him from participating in the Youth League past the Round of 16. His rise landed him on the La Masia team of the season alongside Juvenil A teammates Álex Collado and Puig.

He penned a new contract over the summer alongside his talented teammates in last year's Juvenil A squad. The new deal will keep him at the club until 2021 with the option of two additional years. His release clause has also surged to 100 million euros.

This season he has returned to both Barcelona B and the UEFA Youth League, captaining the U-19 squad against both PSV and Inter Milan. He has made 10 appearances for Barcelona B, captaining the side three times in eight starts and coming off the bench in the other two appearances.

He recently travelled back to the Balearic Islands to play with their national team against Mallorca in a friendly to aid those dealing with the recent flooding on the island. He came on as a substitute and scored a free kick in the match. While his time with Mallorca was brief, he does bring up memories of retired legends from the city including Chichi "Paco" Soler, who starred in the midfield for Los Bermellones from 1990 to 2004. While only sometimes a midfielder, Miguel Ángel Nadal is another Balearic Islands prospect that went on to become a legend, playing more than 500 times for Mallorca's first and B teams and Barcelona's "Dream Team" under Johan Cruyff.

The biggest question for the player moving forward is whether his versatility will help his chances of breaking through or keep him from realizing his full potential. He was raised as an attacking midfielder, played mainly as a defensive midfielder last season and has slotted in as one of the two interior midfield spots this season across all competitions. As Pimienta works to bring the best out of all his midfield talent, Monchu should not be forgotten.