La Masia: Cláudia Pina

There is a young forward at Barcelona who has not only won a Golden Ball and a Silver Shoe at the FIFA U-17 World Cup, but they also led their team to the trophy as the captain. 17-year-old Cláudia Pina's international accolades may have helped put her in the spotlight, but she had already announced herself as a force in the professional game as well as a member of FC Barcelona Femení.

As a full-fledged member of the Barça Femení, Pina barely qualifies as being a youth prospect. That said, she's still just seventeen. The Catalan prodigy was born in Montcada i Reixac on 12 August, 2001. Much like the former futsal magician and Barcelona legend Ronaldinho, she began her career playing fustal before moving to five-a-side.

By the age of 11, she was discovered by Espanyol and joined the Parakeets for two seasons. While working under then Barça Femení coach Xavi Llorens, Jordi Ventura went to watch another girl at Espanyol and the story goes that after five minutes he left the game and told Llorens that Pina needed to be signed. When he met her family to speak with them, he was surprised to learn that she is right-footed, even though he saw her score two goals in that first match with her left. Pina made the move to La Masia to join up with the Barca U12s.

It took her one season to get acclimated, but in her second season she banged in 100 goals and forced the club's hand. She was called up to the first team for their preseason and scored eight goals in the friendlies to earn the trust of new manager Fran Sánchez, who replaced Llorens in June of 2017. She had to wait a few months, but Pina "finally" made her professional debut for the senior team on January 14, 2018 against Zaragoza.

This season under Sánchez she has made four appearances off the bench and scored two goals. New manager Lluís Cortés means another coach to impress, but that has never been a problem for Pina. Training alongside the likes of Toni Duggan and Lieke Martens certainly won't hurt her development either.

Her most impressive performances have arguably come for her country. When she isn't scoring boatloads of goals for the Catalan national team, she is winning trophies as the leader of Spanish youth national teams. If such a thing exists, she is a legend for the Spanish U-17 squad. She was first called up in September of 2016, scoring five goals in a tournament that included a hat-trick in her debut. She made her official debut for the team later that year at the U-17 World Cup against Jordan, also scoring a goal in her first game against the host country. The team finished in third place, but the taste of a trophy seemed to only make the player hungrier for success.

In 2017 the Spain U-17s were runners-up at the UEFA Women's Championship, falling to Germany on penalties. It looked like her defining performance for the year would be in Euro qualification when she collected a hat-trick over Portugal in a 6-1 win, but on October 2nd she scored seven goals in a 22-0 thrashing of Montenegro. Teammates Eva María Navarro (four goals) and Bruna Vilamala also had hat-tricks, but it was Pina that led the line. During the calendar year she scored 16 goals for Spain, awarding her the honor of top UEFA national-team goal scorer for both women and men.

Last summer she was called up to the Spain U-20 team for the World Cup in France, finishing as a runner-up in the tournament to Japan alongside Femení teammates Patri Guijarro, Candela Andújar and Aitana Bonmatí. It was at the 2018 U-17 World Cup in October however where she made her name. As captain of the squad, she helped her squad to the top spot before snagging goals in both the quarter-final and semi-final. In the final against Mexico, she scored both goals in her team's 2-0 win, tying her with Mukarama Abdulai for seven in the tournament. Her performances earned her both the Golden Shoe and Silver Ball and announced Cláudia Pina to the rest of the world.