Dani Olmo scored on his debut for the senior Spain national team aged just 21. - © gettyimages
Dani Olmo scored on his debut for the senior Spain national team aged just 21. - © gettyimages
bundesliga

Dani Olmo: who is RB Leipzig's former Barcelona wonderkid forged at Dinamo Zagreb?

A Barcelona prodigy who felt time on the pitch was more valuable than training at La Masia. RB Leipzig signed one of European football's most prized young talents from Dinamo Zagreb in Dani Olmo.

bundesliga.com has the lowdown on the Spanish attacking midfielder who lit up UEFA Euro 2020...

Dani Olmo
Age:
23
Club:
RB Leipzig
Position:
Attacking midfielder
Country:
Spain (26 caps/3 goals)

Key stats

Born in Terrassa, on the outskirts of Barcelona, Olmo always looked destined to spend time at the Spanish club's famed La Masia youth academy. He joined from city rivals Espanyol in 2007, aged seven. Olmo finished top scorer for his age group in four of his six seasons at La Masia, but decided to leave Barcelona to progress his career, joining Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb on a professional contract in the summer of 2014.

Olmo quickly showed the talents that Barcelona had failed to secure. He was fast-tracked into Zagreb's first-team squad and made his debut in February 2015, aged just 16. In June 2019 he was named Croatia's Player of the Year and helped his country win the U21 European Championships, with Olmo scoring three goals in the tournament – including one in the 2-1 win over Germany in the final.

Dani Olmo has no problem taking on more than one opponent at a time with his ability on the ball. - imago

The Spaniard made his debut in the UEFA Champions League group stages in 2018 and went on to make 124 appearances for Zagreb in total, scoring 34 goals and laying on 28 assists while playing in a variety of positions in the final third. The 23-year-old's preferred position is in the No.10 role behind a striker, which is where he played - for the most part - under Julian Nagelsmann last term.

Olmo's 12 Bundesliga appearances in 2019/20 climbed up to 32 last season, the Spaniard racking up more minutes than any other Leipzig midfielder (2,205) and contributing five goals and 10 assists as the Saxony upstarts finished as runners-up to Bayern Munich.

Plays a bit like: Isco

Olmo is seen as one of the most talented players in Spain’s latest generation of midfield maestros. The Catalan's specialities which make him stand out are his technical skills with the ball at his feet. His close control is mesmerising to watch, and almost impossible to play against as an opposition defender. Olmo couples that ability with his will to drive the ball at goal, be that in his own possession or with threaded through-balls. But much like Leipzig teammate Marcel Sabitzer, Olmo also has the ability to smash the ball home from range should space open up.

Did you know

Olmo is the youngest foreign player to play for Dinamo Zagreb having made his debut at 16 years and nine months old. His also the fourth-youngest player outright to play for the famous Croatian club, who are, like Barcelona, famed for their youth academy.

What they’re saying

"He was a typical forward, a very good finisher. He scored goals in every age category. He understood space well, so he could find room to score. He's a natural-born goalscorer." - former coach at La Masia, Denis Silva Puig

"I was eight years old.I was playing happily by myself with a ball, when someone — I think it was a friend of my dad’s — came over and told me, 'Hey, Dani, come here! You’re not going to believe this. You’re going to have your picture taken with Lionel Messi! Apparently, Messi had a friend playing in the Castelldefels game and had come down to see him. Wow, Messi, right? In Castelldefels? What kid wouldn’t want their picture with him? Well, me! I was like, 'No, thanks. I’m good. I want to keep playing! It’s just a picture, right?' - Olmo on his early infatuation with a football, which even Lionel Messi couldn't distract him from