Fermin Lopez was a surprise inclusion in Barcelona’s squad for their US tour, having spent last season on loan in the third tier of Spanish football. But his goal and assist against Madrid ensured that few Barca fans will be able to forget his name now.
The day the United States confirmed the brand El Clasico will never die, 20-year-old Fermin Lopez reminded Barcelona that La Masia won’t either.
Fermin is the story of Barcelona’s pre-season tour of the U.S. and gave the 82,026 fans at the AT&T Stadium in Texas— a record attendance for a soccer game at the stadium — a performance to remember.
The midfielder, a shock inclusion for the tour by Xavi, beat Thibaut Courtois with a screamer and delivered a fine assist to Ferran Torres to wrap up a 3-0 win over Real Madrid.
Last summer Fermin Lopez was not good enough to stay with Barcelona’s B team.
Despite completing pre-season with the club’s second team in his first year of men’s football, Fermin was one of the weakest players in the squad. His physique had not fully developed and the club told him he was not going to have the right number of minutes to boost his development.
We at Sportz Point have compiled together everything that you need to know about the 20-year-old midfielder.
Career so far
Fermin Lopez has been a Barcelona player since he was 12, when he joined from Real Betis. He has not always been an outstanding performer, according to coaches at La Masia.
The Athletic noted that, last summer, Fermin Lopez was not good enough to stay with Barcelona’s B team.
“Despite completing pre-season with the club’s second team in his first year of men’s football, Fermin was one of the weakest players in the squad,” they wrote.
“His physique had not fully developed and the club told him he was not going to have the right number of minutes to boost his development.”
The 20-year-old spent the season on loan to Linares in the third tier of Spanish football where he became one of the best players in the league.
In the second half of the season, encompassing 19 games, he scored 11 goals and assisted two more. That was enough for the Barcelona coaching staff to sit up and take notice.
At the start of pre-season training, Fermin Lopez was asked to join the first team by Xavi to make up the numbers as most of the Barca stars were still on their post-season holidays.
By the end of the first week, the Barca manager’s mind was made up; Fermin was included in the squad for the club’s tour of the United States.
After a brief cameo against Arsenal, Fermin stole the headlines with his goal and assist against Real Madrid in the Stateside Clasico. The future looks incredibly bright for the young midfielder.
Fermin Lopez: Style of play
Fermín Lopez is an energetic, right-footed central midfielder, who also has the versatility to play as an attacking midfielder and winger. Perhaps it’s his young age, or sheer versatility, but you feel he’s likely to nail down a position as he gets more exposure to first-team football.
The Andalucian is technically proficient, has great movement off the ball, is adept at exploiting space, and chips in with a healthy number of goals and assists.
He scored six goals with two assists in 19 games as an attacking midfielder for Linares and netted four goals alongside two assists in 14 games as a left winger.
What he’s said
“Xavi and my team-mates just congratulated me,” Fermin Lopez said after his Clasico exploits. “I still can’t believe it. I have been speaking to my family — they’ve suffered all those years with me. That’s for them and to my people in my hometown, El Campillo. I’m so happy for them too.
“I can only keep working. Obviously, I want to stay here in Barcelona. It’s a dream and a privilege to be here in the pre-season. I’ve been a Barca fan since I’m a kid.”
What they’ve said about Fermin Lopez
“He is a talented footballer – he knows how to leak the last pass, which is what he really lacked last season,” Barcelona manager Xavi said after his jaw-dropping Madrid cameo.
“He scored a worldie with his left foot and then assisted Ferran with the right foot, so he can use both feet. He also can play in multiple roles from a winger to a central midfielder. This whole package is not easy to find. I like him a lot. He is full of personality.
“He is hungry and has a great character — that’s very important. When I saw that in training, I realised I had to give him minutes. I trusted him and he is delivering. That’s what football is about”.
Asked about his long-term prospects, Xavi added: “If he stays with us? It depends on him for sure.
“He can help us. He has to stay with the same mentality. I have never been afraid to use young talent and if he deserves it, he will be there.”
While fellow La Masia graduate Pedri recently said: “If I had to highlight one of the youngsters? Well, one I really like is Fermin. I had never played with him before, but he’s full of aggression and talent.”
And Alejandro Balde has also piled some praise on Fermin Lopez, with the defender knowing all about Lopez from their time together at La Masia.
“I played with Fermin Lopez for seven years in the academy. He has great quality and alot of talent,” he explained.