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Pau Cubarsi: Profile, playing style, scouting report

Published at :March 13, 2024 at 7:06 PM
Modified at :March 13, 2024 at 7:06 PM
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(Courtesy : Pau Cubarsi)

Rajarshi Shukla

Cubarsi has made more than 10 appearances for Barcelona in the 2023-24 season

Pau Cubarsi, who started his career with Girona before moving to Barcelona in 2018, was born in Espanyol, Girona, Catalonia. After advancing through the academy, he began in an eventual 1-1 draw with Czech team Viktoria Plzeň making history as the third-youngest Barcelona player to make his UEFA Youth League debut, behind Lamine Yamal and Ilaix Moriba.

After being called up by manager Xavi, he practised with the first squad for the first time in April 2023. Three months later, on July 8, he inked his first professional deal with the team. He was a member of Barcelona’s preseason team in preparation for the 2023–24 campaign.

Cubarsí earned his Copa del Rey debut on January 19, 2024, against Unionistas de Salamanca. He was substituted in the 46th minute. One day before he turned seventeen, he made his La Liga debut against Real Betis.

Man of the Match performance in the Champions League

In addition to winning man of the match against Napoli, Barcelona’s Pau Cubarsi also broke a club Champions League record that had stood for 20 years. With his shrewd defence and poise against one of Europe’s most formidable strikers, Victor Osimhen, 17-year-old Cubarsi grabbed the stage.

On his European debut, Cubarsi displayed no fear and broke a club record that had stood since the 2003–04 season by becoming the first player from Barcelona, according to Opta, to finish 50+ passes (61/68), 100% of his interceptions (3/3), and make five or more clearances.

Additionally, he broke David Alaba of Real Madrid’s record of 17 years and 258 days for Bayern Munich to become the youngest player to debut in the Champions League knockout rounds at the age of 17 years and 50 days.

In a knockout match, Barcelona marked the first club in Champions League history to give two players who are under 17 years old a start: 16-year-old Lamine Yamal and 17-year-old Cubarsi.

Pau Cubarsi’s playing style

Pau is a natural defender who has experience playing in a back three as a full-back and centre-back. Having said that, he might master the position of centre-back as he matures. Pau Cubarsi’s style of play bears many similarities to that of Gerard Piqué, another La Masía alumnus and accomplished centre defender.

Naturally, one of the most important qualities to emphasise about both is their height, which gives them the upper hand in aerial duels in both their own and the other box.

In addition to his skill in the air and his offensive capabilities, Pau is a delight to see when he receives the ball played from behind. He advances the ball with skill, an impressive air of confidence, and composure—he never gives up under duress.

He draws attention from his opponents by carrying the ball slowly, then he uses a body feint and quick acceleration to get the upper hand and break the initial pressing line.

Strong and intimidating, the former Girona prospect prevails in most duels not only because of his physical attributes but also because of his anticipation and game sense. In the meanwhile, he uses his mental skills to defeat a forward who is physically stronger than him.

For instance, he had to deal with 1.75-meter monster Ibrahima against Sevilla in the semi-finals of last summer’s La Liga Promises, which Marc Serra’s Alevín A ultimately won. Nevertheless, Cubarsi was always on the winning side thanks to his cunning and positioning.

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