Barcelona v Man Utd: Pictures
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Ronaldinho’s son Joao Mendes made his Barcelona youth team debut in a friendly against Manchester United. The forward played a key role in his side’s 3-1 win and Barca fans will hope that there is more to come from the 17-year-old.
Mendes signed for his father’s former club last week after eventually impressing at a trial, moving from his hometown of Cruzeiro. It has been reported that the forward struggled to make his mark in earlier auditions with the club, with Barca scouts unimpressed by what they were seeing and not convinced that he justified a contract with the Spanish giants.
However, president Joan Laporta stepped in and insisted that they needed to have patience with Mendes – and he soon flourished and has now been thrown in at the deep end. The Brazilian led the line for Barca against United’s youth team on Thursday in a behind-closed-doors friendly ahead of the Europa League clash between the two teams.
The match was staged at the Johan Cruyff Stadium, with the Catalan club coming out on top in a 3-1 win. It looked likely that the spoils were going to be shared heading into the latter stages of the tie – similar to the first team’s clash which finished 2-2 – but goals in the final few minutes from Barca’s Marc Guiu and Lamine Yamal soon put the game to bed.
It is unknown whether Ronaldinho attended the match, though the former playmaker has insisted that he will be more active in and around the club now that his son is on their books. Speaking to RAC1, the 42-year-old said: “Barca is part of my life, and with the arrival of my son in the academy, I will be more present.
“I have many friends within Barca, Xavi included, and I hope that they can win the league.”
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Laporta will certainly be pleased to see that Mendes has already broken into the under-19s team already given the faith that he has put in his previously. The club president has insisted that his coaching staff will need to work hard to ensure that the pressure of being Ronaldinho’s son does not become too much for Mendes, saying: “We want Ronaldinho’s son to continue his career here. We will make him a contract. The other day we spoke with Roberto (his agent) and he has to close some things in Brazil.
“I don’t know if it will be for Juvenil B. The kid has a talent and we’re happy. We like to maintain this relationship with Ronaldinho. The pressure on the boy is great because Ronaldinho has been one of the best in history. The son has pressure, but it’s the job of our coaches that he can develop their skills.”
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