USA starlet Konrad de la Fuente admits he’s living the dream at Barcelona currently after being given chances to impress in the first team by new manager Ronald Koeman.
The 19-year-old became the first American to feature for the Barcelona first team on Saturday when he came on as a substitute in a pre-season friendly against Nastic. Konrad was handed more minutes in a second friendly against Girona on Wednesday and spoke to the club’s media after the game.
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“I’m really happy I got this opportunity to be with the first team. It’s been a goal of mine since I was a kid and a dream and I’m happy that I’m making it a reality.
“You know I’m really grateful for the opportunities given to me. I’ve been working hard a lot to get them and will my best try to to advantage of it, believe in what I can do and be confident.”
Konrad has looked lively in both matches and will be hoping for more minutes in Barcelona’s next outing. The Catalan giants play Elche in the Joan Gamper Trophy at the Camp Nou on Saturday.
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Koeman Singles Konrad Out For Praise
Barcelona boss Koeman singled Konrad out for praise after the club’s 3-1 win over Girona on Wednesday in a news conference after the match. The teenager came on for the final half an hour as the Dutchman made wholesale changes to his starting XI.
“We know we have really good young players here. The important thing is being involved in training at a good level and then taking that into these friendly games.
“If I had to highlight one of the youngsters, I would say Konrad, I am really happy with him. But we also have Pedri, Riqui. We have great a future ahead of us.”
Two goals from Lionel Messi and a Philippe Coutinho strike gave Barcelona the victory against their local rivals at the Estadi Johan Cruyff to make it two wins out of two for Koeman since replacing Quique Setien.
Konrad certainly won’t have done his chances of making the breakthrough at Barcelona any harm with his performances. The teenager is expected to spend the season with Bacelona B but will be hoping he can earn some first-team call-ups.
The 19-year-old recently extended his contract at Barcelona until 2022, with the option for two more seasons. His buyout clause is set at €50 million but will rise to €100m if he does make it into the senior side.