Gerard Fernández “Peque” – from being released to the gem of La Masia by Arsen
Gerard Fernández Castellano also known as “Peque” at La Masia was born on 4th of October 2002, in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat. At a young age, Peque joined Cornella academy playing with Benjamins. After impressing at Cornella, in 2014 Barcelona brought the young attacker to La Masia. Just after 2 years at Barcelona’s academy, he came back to Cornella after he was deemed not good enough. Coming back to the club, where he played his best football, he built up his confidence and had extraordinary seasons. In the 2018/2019 season for Cornella’s Juvenil B (U18) he scored 28 goals in Liga Nacional. The same season, he made his debut for Cornella against Villarreal B in Segunda B division, making him one of the youngest debutants for Cornella in recent history just at the age of 16 years 2 months and 2 days. Being one of the sensations in youth football Gerard attracted interest from some of the biggest clubs including Barcelona and Real Madrid. Eventually, he decided to come back to La Masia, to fight for his dream of succeeding at Barça. Peque joined Juvenil A (U19) side and made his debut against his former club under Juvenil A coach Víctor Valdés. While with the promotion of Alejandro Marques and Ansu Fati, the youth team lost their main sources of goals. Peque instantly became a starter in the 2019/2020 season, in which he met the high expectations set on him, scoring 21 goals and 2 assists in all competitions. On the 9th of February 2020, he made his official debut for Barcelona B, scoring his first goal for the team. At the same time becoming the second-youngest goal scorer and youngest goalscorer in Segunda B for Barcelona B in this century just at the age of 17 years 4 months and 5 days. This achievement didn’t last long as just a few months later Ilaix Moriba took that title from the forward. This season he became a regular player for Barcelona B. Despite the irregular playing time, he became a key player for Garcia Pimienta in the second phase of Segunda B, starting all of the games. In the 2020/2021 season he picked up 3 goals, 1 assist and won 2 penalties.
Similar player: Sergio Agüero
Peque is a right-footed centre-forward, who can also play as a left-winger. This season Garcia Pimienta used Gerard more on the left side to complement his abilities to those of Rey Manaj. Despite not having the typical physique for number “9”, he is an extraordinary forward inside the box. With a strong lower body, his ability to protect the ball is an outstanding attribute as the player doesn’t get bullied off the ball very often. Despite not having the strength or the height to fight with defenders, never rule Peque out of any of the duels as the player’s hard work and willingness to fight for every ball is a big positive of the player’s mentality. With his intelligence around the defenders, he is able to find himself in dangerous positions for goal-scoring opportunities, or create space for his teammates by forcing defenders out of position. Combining it with his killer instinct and finishing ability Gerard is a guaranteed source of goals. Moreover, his immense acceleration and ability to manoeuvre in tight spaces make him a dangerous dribbler, averaging 3 dribbles per 90 minutes this season. Incredible work rate is part of his game, he can be seen during games tracking back to help in the defensive phase of the game or putting on pressure on the defensive line of the opposition. Peque has no problems coming deep to carry the ball forward, or create chances for his teammates, with his ability on the ball and technique young forward he can provide the final pass. Gerard Fernández is often compared to Argentine striker Agüero, with one of the first ones to point it out was Peque’s former coach Luis Galindo. Peque based his football on intelligence, technique making him an outstanding talent that suits Barcelona style football.
Peque’s future at the club is still unknown, as per rumours his contract expires this summer, however, reports are suggesting it runs until the summer of 2022. If he stays at Barcelona B next season, he will surely be one of the key figures in the team. Due to the economic situation of the club, Barcelona would be willing to sell Rey Manaj, who had a great season. Peque could be his replacement as the number 1 striker for the team, with another striker coming to the team to offer competition for the position. Gerard deserves a chance in the subsidiary to prove himself in the new First RFEF division. Maybe one day he could make his debut for the first team as the player is a joy to watch upfront.
Talent Rating: 9/10