Young gun Pau Cubarsi shines bright in Barcelona's defensive arsenal

Young gun Pau Cubarsi shines bright in Barcelona's defensive arsenal

The emergence of youngster Pau Cubarsi in FC Barcelona's first team has been one of the standout positives of the season.

The 17-year-old defender is proving he's more than ready to compete at the top level. 

Since making his debut in the Copa del Rey clash against Unionistas de Salamanca in January, Cubarsi has cemented his place in Xavi Hernandez's starting line-up, showcasing an innate talent for bypassing opposing forwards with his passes, breaking lines, and playing a pivotal role in the team's improved ball distribution.

Cubarsi's audacity with his passes was evident in the recent Champions League first leg of the quarter-finals against Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes, which Barcelona won 3-2. 

According to 'Opta' data, the youngster made the most progressive passes (13) of any Barcelona player in the match, proving instrumental in setting up swift attacking plays that caught PSG off guard.

In just two Champions League appearances - the first leg in Paris and the round of 16 second leg against Napoli at Montjuic - Cubarsi has already accumulated 27 progressive passes. 

Only one player in the entire competition has recorded more in this statistical category since the young academy graduate's continental debut: William Saliba, Arsenal's centre-back, who has tallied 32 progressive passes between the round of 16 second leg against Porto and the quarter-final first leg against Bayern Munich.

Following his impressive performance in Paris, Cubarsi is poised to start in the return leg against PSG on Tuesday at Lluis Companys Olympic Stadium. 

In addition to his defensive contributions, his ability to deliver incisive passes to his teammates will be crucial in breaking through the visitors' press, as they seek to mount a comeback.

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