Pau Cubarsi: Barcelona Coach Explains How Teen Defender ‘Dealt’ With Napoli’s Victor Osimhen

Pau Cubarsi: Barcelona Coach Explains How Teen Defender ‘Dealt’ With Napoli’s Victor Osimhen

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
March 13, 2024 at 4:46 PM
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V. Osimhen
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UEFA Champions League
  • Pau Cubarsi produced a masterclass display against Napoli
  • He notably managed to tame Victor Osimhen in the 2nd leg
  • The 17-year-old's performance saw him receive rave reviews

Barcelona manager, Xavi Hernandez, has revealed the secrets behind the outstanding performance of teenage talent Pau Cubarsi in La Blaugrana's victory over Napoli in the Champions League round of 16 second-leg tie.

Cubarsi, a product of Barcelona's renowned academy, La Masia, has quickly become a fixture in the heart of the Catalan giant's defence since breaking into the first team.

Pau Cubarsi, Xavi Hernandez, Victor Osimhen, Barcelona, Napoli, Champions League.
Pau Cubarsi wins a tackle against Napoli's Victor Osimhen. Photo by Lluis Gene.
Source: Getty Images

At just 17 years old, he became the youngest defender ever to feature in a Champions League knockout match, exhibiting composure beyond his years, according to the Daily Post.

In the match against the Partenopei, Cubarsi stood out not only for his impressive passing, making 68 more passes than any of his teammates, but also for his mature defensive performance.

Cubarsi 'silences' Napoli's Victor Osimhen

He notably contained Napoli's hitman, Victor Osimhen, and prevented him from making any significant impact on the game. Cubarsi even thwarted Osimhen's attempt to connect with a dangerous cut-back from Zambo Anguissa.

Despite Osimhen's stature and status as the reigning African Footballer of the Year, the youngster reduced the Nigerian to just one shot on target throughout the game, a testament to Cubarsi's exceptional display in defence.

Xavi lifts lid on how Cubarsi 'dealt' with Osimhen

Xavi spoke highly of the young Spanish talent, praising his maturity and revealing insights into how Cubarsi delivered such a flawless performance against top-level opposition.

"Pau Cubarsí is an eruption of talent for Barcelona and Spanish football," the Barca coach said as quoted by Euro Foot.
"He's constantly asking us for videos to study to help him improve. He's got a fantastically organised and clear mind. He's humble, hard-working – I think he's a marvel."
"Cubarsi was never nervous, always finding the free man. He creates time for himself, he dictates the tempo... it's simply spectacular watching him play!"

Osimhen slammed for no-show vs Barca

In a related publication, Sports Brief reported that former Italy head coach, Arigo Sacchi, was straightforward in his assessment of Victor Osimhen's performance in Napoli's loss to Barcelona on Tuesday, March 12.

While Osimhen scored Napoli's sole goal in the first leg, he struggled to make an impact in the return match and appeared overwhelmed by 17-year-old defender Pau Cubarsi at times.

Sacchi, in his column for La Gazzetta dello Sport, expressed disappointment with Osimhen's minimal involvement and movement throughout the game.

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe photo
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe is a Ligue 1, Bundesliga, and La Liga editor with five-year experience. He previously worked with Sports Corna and 360SportsGH.