Pau Cubarsi: Barcelona’s Rising Star Explains Secret Behind Stopping Napoli Striker Victor Osimhen

Pau Cubarsi: Barcelona’s Rising Star Explains Secret Behind Stopping Napoli Striker Victor Osimhen

Robert Abong'o
updated at March 13, 2024 at 5:56 PM
In this article:
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FC Barcelona
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V. Osimhen
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UEFA Champions League
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  • Teenager Pau Cubarsi successfully pocketed Napoli striker Victor Osimhen
  • The 17-year-old made several well-timed tackles to deny the Nigerian forward
  • Barcelona ran out 3-1 winners, 4-2 on aggregate in the UEFA Champions League

Pau Cubarsi stole the show for Barcelona on Tuesday, March 12, shutting down Napoli's star striker, Victor Osimhen, and helping the Catalans secure a vital UEFA Champions League Round of 16 victory.

Cubarsi, making his debut in the tournament, was tasked with marking the prolific Nigerian, a job he performed with remarkable maturity.

The Super Eagles forward, usually a nightmare for defences, was limited to a single shot on target all game.

Pau Cubarsi successfully held his ground against Victor Osimhen. Photo: Lluis Gene.
Barcelona's Pau Cubarsi was tasked with marking Napoli striker Victor Osimhen in the Champions League. Photo: Lluis Gene.
Source: Getty Images
“Xavi gave me all the details to try and stop Osimhen,” the 17-year-old said after the game, as quoted by Vanguard Nigeria.

The performance earned him Man of the Match honours.

Osimhen was highly criticized after the match, with former Italy head coach, Arigo Sacchi, not mincing his words when assessing the attacker’s performance. He highlighted his lack of involvement and movement throughout the game.

“What surprised me the most was the little involvement of Kvara and Osimhen, the two most awaited players. " said Sacchi, as reported by Daily Post Nigeria.

Barcelona started the game on fire, with Fermin Lopez and Joao Cancelo finding the net within the first quarter-hour. The reigning Serie A champions, who held them to a draw in the first leg, managed to pull one back through Amir Rrahmani. However, Robert Lewandowski's clinical finish ensured the Balugrana’s progression to the quarter-final.

The triumph marked Barcelona's first appearance in the Champions League quarter-finals since 2020, a significant achievement amid a challenging season. Despite injuries to midfield stalwarts Pedri, Gavi, and Frenkie de Jong, Xavi’s men have had to rely on performances from emerging talents like Cubarsi and Lamine Yamal.

Xavi explains how Cubarsi dealt with Osimhen

Sports Brief reported that Xavi revealed the secrets behind Cubarsi's outstanding performance.

The youngster is a product of Barcelona's renowned academy, La Masia.

Since breaking into the first team, he has quickly become a fixture in the heart of the Catalan giant's defence.

Robert Abong'o photo
Robert Abong'o
Editor - Africa Team