From Catalonia to North Rhine-Westphalia. It’s a journey new Borussia Dortmund signing Sergio Gomez hopes will take him on to greatness - and that is exactly what many at his former club Barcelona believe he can achieve.
Dortmund’s capture of the brilliant 17-year-old, who made his Bundesliga debut in the 3-0 win over Stuttgart on Matchday 29, is one that falls in line with their policy of attracting the best young talents around the globe. After recruiting Christian Pulisic (USA) and Alexander Isak (Sweden) in recent years, as well as one of England’s brightest in Jadon Sancho, their attention turned to Spain, where there is a seemingly never-ending conveyor belt of gifted youngsters.
So who exactly is Sergio Gomez?
Born in Badalona, a town located just outside of Barcelona, Gomez joined the local team but was soon picked up by Espanyol. He then joined rivals Barcelona at the age of nine, making the move to the famous La Masia academy. There, he went through each Alevin category (Under 11), and earned a reputation for making decisive contributions in key finals.
First there was the Poznan tournament, where he bagged a hat-trick in the title-decider. That was followed by an assist for the only goal of the game in the final of the Mediterranean International Cup, while he was on target again in the final of Catalan Cup.
After moving up to 11-a-side football at La Masia, and after experiencing some difficulties with knee injuries, Gomez registered 11 goals as Barcelona finished fourth in the league that season at Infantil level (Under 13).
Gomez continued to gradually work his way through the youth ranks, dominating at each level, as he became one of the most highly-regarded talents in La Masia. For many he was tipped to be a player for the first team within a few years, despite persistent interest from abroad including various Premier League giants. In fact, as recently as the summer of 2017 he rejected moves to England.
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When he started out at Barcelona he was very much a forward player, before gradually being moved back to a wide role, then attacking midfield. The latter is where he’s expected to play in the future, given his excellent ability on the ball and willingness to drive at opponents with pace and close control. The thinking behind such a decision is that a player of his quality and intelligence should not be placed out wide, where the game can pass him by. Instead, as a central figure, he can do far more damage.
The teenager's quick thinking and equally rapid feet when in small spaces is particularly impressive, as Gomez can get himself out of the tightest situations to pick out a pass or unleash a ferocious shot with his preferred left foot.
This past October he was voted the second best player at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in India, scoring four goals in seven games. His inspirational performances - including Man of the Match displays against France in the last 16 and Iran in the quarter-finals - took Spain to a final where they were ultimately defeated by England. Regardless, Gomez made history by scoring twice in the opening half hour, becoming the first player to hit a brace in a final at this level.
Dortmund’s Sporting Director Michael Zorc was likely a keen observer of that tournament, and was effusive in his praise of the Spaniard once his transfer was complete: "Sergio Gomez is undoubtedly one of the best players of his age in the world. We've been interested in him for some time and are happy that he has decided to join Borussia Dortmund despite offers from many top European clubs."
Leaving Barca after eight seasons, 2017/18 also brought another major landmark in Gomez's fledgling career when he made an appearance for the Barcelona B team in Spain’s second tier in January.
Now Dortmund have grabbed not only one of Barca’s brightest prospects but Spain’s too. The potential of the youngster is enormous and it is up to BVB to help him fulfil that – something they know a thing or two about doing. Just ask Pulisic, Isak, Sancho and the rest…
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