Best of the 2011/2012 Season: Best Canterano!By: Ade C. | June 8th, 2012
We’ve taken a look at the players Barça signed this season (regardless of the amount of Barça DNA they might have), so how about we take a look at the players Barça nurtured, pampered and brainwashed into honouring tiki-taka above all else? In other words, who has been the best canterano to join (permanently or not) the first team this season?
While we had barely a choice with the new signings, the plague of injuries that affected the team this season meant a wealth of opportunities for canteranos to get their fifteen minutes in the spotlight. Following are our writer’s votes and a handy poll so you too can have your say!
Natasha: Montoya. Tello would probably be the obvious choice, and he’s been excellent too, but I think Montoya’s contribution is often overlooked. For a couple of years now, there’s been an alarming lack of a quality second right back, but I think Montoya has developed very well this season. I don’t think he’s quite ready to replace Dani Alves yet, but in a couple of years, I think he’ll be there. When Alves does leave, or even retire, the positon will be Montoya’s for as long as he wants it.
Kage: I have to say my man Tello. The 20 year-old winger, fast as blazes, started his first game for Barca against Real Sociedad; within 8 minutes, he’d scored. In his first Champions League game, he scored after just 2 minutes, with his first touch. But what I think he’ll really bring to Barca is not so much scoring as the ability to get down the flank and cut the ball back. In four years, Pep gave debut matches to no less than 22 players. For this alone, I’m grateful.
Yazan: This vote definitely has to go for Montoya. I think Montoya is ready for the RB position in the first team. This boy can definitely give Alves a run for his money. I saw him in the U21 Spanish team in the European Championship, he was phenomenal. I was generally left frustrated with Pep for not giving him more minutes to prove himself but then throwing him in the deep end against Valencia and Bilbao, though he nevertheless put excellent performances in both.
Tello and Cuenca both performed admirably this season, with each player getting their fair share of bandwagon fans. Credit to both players for remaining strong and showing great character under pressure. The problem with both players is they have always shown to be one-dimensional in their play, this will surely be ironed out or developed with more experience and playing time, something I don’t think both will get next season in Barca’s first team with Villa – Pedro – Messi – Alexis available, a loan move could be on the cards for one of them.
Fcbfandrivel: It’s difficult to pick one. JDS deserves a brief mention for being game for Pep’s right back experiments. Then there’s Cuenca for instantly making a name for himself (C4 = Cool Calm Confident Cuenca) with his impressive performances, Tello for stepping up to the occasion multiple times (don’t forget his brace on Champions League debut) and for being gutsy enough to play a role in season-defining do-or-die games towards the end of the season (some games worked, some didn’t, but that’s how it goes when it’s real life and not a fairy tale) and Montoya for being so good that he’s already triggered (probably false and premature, and rubbish) Alves sale rumors.
Ramzi: Cuenca. But Cuenca is the player who provided a new card on the table to start with. He is extremely mature tactically, great in decision-making and knows when to play it simple and rotate the ball and when to take responsibilities. Tello was a great impact player and I can place a good bet on him, but at the moment, he is a couple of football courses behind Cuenca. Montoya is one of the best prospects for the future, but he didn’t contribute enough, so he will be my answer for this question – next summer.
Ade C.: I love canteranos! Particularly when you sprinkle a little lime and chopped fresh parsely on them and stick them at right-back regardless of their natural position. My favourite this year was Thiago. Yes, Thiago Alcántara, promoted last summer from Barça B. Well, he’s not a signing, so that makes him a canterano by default. Maybe he didn’t have the instant goalscoring ability of Tello or Cuenca’s endearing resemblance to a stick insect, but seeing Thiago slide seamlessly into Barça’s unfairly talented midfield, taking up Xavi’s duties when our Midfield Magician’s tendons gave him trouble, was a wonderfully reassuring sight.
So, who was your favourite canterano this season?