A glimmer of hopeBy Pio Garcia, July 23, 2012 12:01 AM
I was shocked by the news I’ve heard a few days ago. A nine-year-old kid was provided a scholarship to FC Barcelona’s Escola, the step young footballers in Catalona take before being deemed fit to enter the La Masia, the youth academy of the reknowned football club. Sandro Reyes has given Philippine football a glimmer of hope, nay, a bright ray of hope.
Let me say that again. Slower this time. FC Barcelona. Escola. FC. Barcelona. It’s the team that houses footballers known by just one name across the globe. You’ve got Xavi, Cesc, Iniesta, Puyol among others and of course, the brightest star in club football, Messi. To be a project in this club’s academy, with the chance to be called up to their senior squad… it’s an impossible dream. But not anymore.
The last time a Filipino suited up for the Azulgrana was way back in 1927. That was the year Paulino Alcantara, a Filipino-Spanish born in Iloilo City, retired after strutting his wares for Barca since he was 15. This guy scored 369 goals in 357 matches, making him the top scorer of the club, which counted official and friendlies. That may change in a few years time at the rate that Lionel Messi is going, but come on… 357 goals in 369 matches. That’s at least a goal a game for his lifetime. Most players can’t even do that unless you are named Messi. And not to mention, he still is the youngest player ever to score a hat trick and that was done in his debut match at that. “El Romperedes” or “The Net Breaker” as he was called is the star of Philippine football. Until Sandro Reyes started making waves.
Can the kid match “El Romperedes”? Probably not.
He is not a heartless striker.
From the videos that I saw of Reyes, he was more of an attacking midfielder. I cannot complain about that.
Attacking midfielders can do some striking you know, and they can be the heart of the team. This little guy is all about technicality rather than brute force which El Romperedes typified, after hitting a policeman who got in the way of his strike and found the ball and the officer at the back of the net.
To me, Reyes is in the mold of a Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta.
Lionel Messi would be a reach for this kid. For now.
He wowed Barca scouts in trips to Singapore and Portland, Oregon.
He utterly dominated matches that spectators were left with jaws on the floor. And again, from the videos, the technical skill that this kid has shown since he was seven is one thing that’s boggling my mind. He. Is. That. Good. Already? The way he handles the ball, the first touch to control it is utterly impressive and can only be seen among the pros lining up on the pitch. And mind you, he has better touch control than most professionals for the lower tier teams on the brink of relegation.
To think that he would get better in what, five to six years’ time is bamboozling. He is good with both feet, can dribble around tight spaces and has vision that, for 9 year-old competitions is just unfair.
The chip shot at the end of his YouTube highlights? Chills man, chills. That was taken like Leo himself. The throughballs he shoots out? Yikes, Xavi’s soul is in the little man. The man-handling of the defense through dribbling? That’s a shade of “El Ilusionista” Iniesta. This kid is giving me goosebumps just by watching him destroy internationl competition.
Maybe he will give goosebumps to future competition when he’s called up by the Azulgrana or when wearing the colors of the Philippines. One can only imagine. There is that glimmer of hope for our football. Nay, correct that, there is that bright ray of hope for Philippine football.I’ll be waiting for the time that you have Sandro on a Barcelona kit. Make a Barca fan prouder young man.http://www.philstar.com/unblogged/blog- ... goryId=516