La Masia just seems to keep producing for FC Barcelona, and it looks like Pep Guardiola has done it again with Isaac Cuenca hasn't he?
The new "canterano" is winger Isaac Cuenca who has scored in La Liga and assisted a goal in the UEFA Champions league already.
And while comparisons with teammate Pedro are all too easy to make, truth is, Cuenca is no Pedrito at all.
Number: 39 (22 for Barcelona B)
Position: Left or Right Winger
Transfer Value: €750,000 (for now)
Ends Contract: 2012
Tactical and Football Intelligence
Good all-around abilities
Above average dribbling skills
No real "killer" attributes
Could be more involved in the pressing game
Short Passing: 8
First Touch: 8
Long Passing: 7
Long Shooting: 6
1 vs 1 Defending: 4
Off the ball: 8
Tactical Awareness: 9
Decision Making: 8
(All skills ranked from 1 to 10)
Pep Guardiola is in love with Cuenca much like he was with Pedro a couple of seasons ago.
When Pedrito started playing at the Camp Nou, no one gave him a chance. But his work-ethic and his innate goal-scoring ability made him a starter in no time.
While Cuenca isn't as physically gifted as Pedro he has shown in three matches that he is a more than viable option for Barcelona in the wings.
Now, here's the thing: he's no Pedro clone at all.
If anything his similarities start and end in the fact that they're relatively unknown and have broken through at the Camp Nou against all odds.
Yet there is another player who did exactly that and is way more similar to Cuenca: Sergio Busquets.
And like Busi, Cuenca's main assets aren't physical at all, as they rely more on intelligence and know-how of the Barça system to do their job. They're not bad either, as they're good all-around, but it's their smarts that really make them seem as good as they do.
In this sense, Cuenca is no more technically gifted than former Barcelona wingers Bojan, Jeffrén, Nolito, and even Pedro. And he's definitely not more talented than his teammate at Barça B Gerard Deulofeu. In the same sense Busquets wasn't better than Yaya Touré or Mascherano.
Yet, just like Busi is the best man at DMF for Barcelona because of his smarts and not his physical prowess, Cuenca could plow through the ranks as he understands just how to play winger like no other (not even Pedro or Villa) in Pep Guardiola's system.