Player Features

Who is Barcelona Wonderkid Pau Cubarsi


  • Pau Cubarsi is one of the best talents to have come out of Barcelona’s academy, La Masia.
  • The teenager is the second-youngest player in La Liga history to play in a match, behind only Barcelona teammate Lamine Yamal.
  • Barcelona manager Xavi has hailed Cubarsi’s composure and decision-making, and has tipped him for a bright future.

Barcelona‘s success in becoming one of the world’s top clubs has been largely indebted to its academy. Built in 1979, La Masia has produced some of the greatest players in the history of the Catalan club and in the history of football in general.


How Barcelona’s La Masia Academy Started Producing World-Class Talent Again

Amid the recent emergence of talented youngsters such as Gavi, Lamine Yamal, and Pau Cubarsi, the Barcelona academy seems back to its best.

These players have been as much responsible for taking the Blaugrana to the top as they have been for saving them during a period of turmoil. Among the most recent graduates to emerge from the Joan Gamper sports complex, Pau Cubarsi is undoubtedly one of the most impressive. His 17th place in NXGN’s wonderkids top 50 reflects it.

Latest Contract News on Pau Cubarsi

Pau Cubarsi, the young Barça defender.

Launched into the big time during the 2023/24 season, the young Spanish defender has quickly impressed. So much so, in fact, that Cubarsi could soon be given a release clause worth up to €1 billion (£860 million) when he turns 18.

Although he is currently tied to the Catalan club until 2026, he is now very close to extending his contract with his parent club. On his 18th birthday, Cubarsi could sign a new five-year contract and see his wages increase significantly. A long-term vision that would further demonstrate the confidence the club has in its young player – whose market value has increased dramatically in 2024. However, that could all change very quickly, and in a totally unexpected way, as Manchester United have recently been linked with an interest in Cubarsi.

Pau Cubarsi’s Career

Pau Cubarsi holding a trophy for Barcelona

Born on the 22nd of January 2007 in the small town of Estanyol, in the province of Girona, Cubarsi began his football career with the local club, which enjoyed a heroic 2023/24 season in La Liga. In 2018, at the age of 11, he joined Barcelona’s youth academy. There, the central defender worked his way up through the ranks and made his mark in the various youth categories in which they played. In January 2022, he made his debut in the Youth League and, at the age of 15 years, nine months and eight days, became the third-youngest player in Barca’s history to play in the competition – behind only Lamine Yamal and Ilaix Moriba.

Catching Xavi‘s eye with his performances, Cubarsi began training with the professional squad in April 2023. And to reward his performances, the Catalan coach decided to include him in the first team’s pre-season tour of the United States – all this just a few weeks after his directors had offered him his first professional contract on the 8th of July. It was finally on the 18th of January 2024, just a few days before his birthday, that Cubarsi was thrown into the deep end.

Against Unionistas de Salamance in the Copa del Rey, the young defender made his professional debut. Three days later, he celebrated his first start, this time against Real Betis in his first La Liga match. It was the start of a dream period for Cubarsi, who quickly established himself as an indisputable starter in the Barcelona team. He also made his Champions League debut, and was named “Man of the Match” for his first appearance in the competition when Barcelona hosted Napoli in the second leg of the Round of 16 (3-1).

Before him, no player had appeared at such a young age at this stage of the tournament (17 years and 50 days). A month later, against Paris Saint-Germain, he became the youngest player in history to play in a Champions League quarter-final – at 17 years and 79 days. Alongside his fabulous rise to prominence with one of the biggest clubs on the planet, Cubarsi also saw Luis De La Fuente call him up to the national team. In March 2024, at the age of 17 years, 1 month and 28 days, he became the youngest defender ever to wear Spain‘s colours, when La Roja lost 1-0 to Colombia. But that’s not the important thing: the world now knows about the emergence of a potential superstar at centre-back.

Pau Cubarsi’s Style of Play

Pau Cubarsi duel with Victor Osimhen.

Cubarsi, who stands at just 6ft tall, is not a particularly imposing figure. He is, however, the stereotype of the modern central defender. Very at ease on the ball, he has already demonstrated on numerous occasions his ability to break down opposing lines with passes, from both short and long range.

Pau Cubarsi’s 23/24 stats at Barcelona











UEFA Champions League





Copa del Rey





Primera Federacion – Group 1





UEFA Youth League










(Stats correct as of 02/05/2024)

In La Liga, he is in the top 2% of players completing the most medium passes (between 15 and 30 metres) per 90 minutes (42.4) and in the top 4% for long passes (over 30 metres) per match (7.3). It is a technical quality that he has likely developed at La Masia, where knowing how to handle the ball well is one of the fundamental principles. A fast player, he can be aggressive without going overboard. Impressively serene for his young age, Cubarsi seems to have all the cards in hand for a great professional career.

What have Xavi and Pau Cubarsi’s Teammates Said About Him

Barcelona manager Xavi

All of these qualities have prompted his team-mates and those around him to shower him with praise, including Barcelona captain, Sergi Roberto, who admitted his pride over the young defender.

“He has been consistently surprising us all season. Playing with this composure in every game he’s played. He’s a player for life, one of those who come from La Masía. He’s a very humble, hardworking boy. When they say this club is ‘more than a club,’ it’s because of things like this, for trusting the homegrown talent.”

Xavi, his coach, has also been similarly impressed, with Cubarsi now seemingly exceeding all the expectations that the Barcelona legend had placed on him. His words after the Champions League match against Napoli are a case in point.

Comparing Pau Cubarsi, Inigo Martinez, Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde and Andreas Christensen’s Stats (La Liga – 2023/2024)



Successful tackles (per game)

Interceptions (per game)

Successful passes (per game)


Pau Cubarsi






Inigo Martinez






Ronald Araujo






Jules Kounde






Andreas Christensen






(Stats correct as of 02/05/2024)


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“The bottom line is that when Cubarsi has the ball, my heart rate doesn’t go up. That’s the best quality Cubarsi has. I feel calm when a 17-year-old has the ball. That’s priceless. Napoli pressed, but he always found the best option. And when he plays long, it’s with purpose, not just to kick it. They land at his feet. He’s a marvel to me.”

Whether or not he is considered a generational talent, Cubarsi is determined to make his mark and give back to Barca what the club has given him.

All statistics courtesy of Transfermarkt and Fbref

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