Barcelona are ready to tie down the services of another one of their players after handing Gerard Pique a contract extension with a release clause of £440m. Sergi Roberto is expected to sign his extension with a similar buyout clause over the next week and this is just a ploy to fend off any interests from other European powerhouses.
Roberto is quite possibly one of the biggest unsung heroes in Barcelona’s footballing history. A product of the club’s youth academy – La Masia, the 26-year-old has been filling in almost every gap in the team ever since his emergence into the first team. It was under Luis Enrique when he got the opportunity to showcase his talents on a regular basis and Roberto has racked up 182 total appearances for the club. He is a player of many talents and can be fielded almost anywhere. He was primarily considered as a long time replacement for Xavi Hernandez or Andres Iniesta but it seems like he is even better on the defensive end.
Ernesto Valverde is well aware of the Spaniard’s quality and has opted to field him ahead of Nelson Semedo on some major occasions this season. Obviously, Sergio Busquets and Paulinho’s presence in the midfield will hinder his chances of appearing in his best-suited role, but Roberto has gotten accustomed to the right flank over the past couple of seasons and has looked really impressive.
He has drawn high praised from both his former managers. Now Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola was quoted, “Sergi Roberto is a player to look out for over the next few years. When he bursts onto the scene, he’ll catch a lot of people by surprise”
Even Luis Enrique had added, “We all know him. Versatile players are important, and while he’ll play more as a full-back, Sergi Roberto can be a midfield pivot or a winger and do a fine job.”
Barcelona’s academy has produced a lot of top-pedigree talents who have had to leave the club due to a lack opportunities in the first team. We have seen a plethora of teenage talents make the inevitable exit and somehow fizzle out in the journey which looked only promising in the youth ranks of Camp Nou.
But Roberto has mustered on and has fought his way out of the dark tunnel of uncertainty. Mostly driven by loyalty and an immeasurable amount of mental endurance, Roberto is well deserving of a long time contract which will see him end his career with his boyhood club – a dream only a lucky few get to experience at such a big stage of European football.
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