The 19-year-old attacker, who finished 27th in this year’s NxGn countdown, studies the movement of two of the greatest strikers in the club’s history
Barcelona B striker Abel Ruiz says he is modelling his game on Luis Suarez and David Villa in the hope of becoming the club’s next great striker.
Villa arrived in Catalunya from Valencia in 2010 and won the treble in his first season at Camp Nou, even netting the killer third goal in the Champions League final win over Manchester United at Wembley.
Five years later, Suarez enjoyed an equally successfully debut campaign, with the Uruguayan teaming up with Lionel Messi and Neymar to form arguably the greatest attacking triumvirate the game has ever seen.
While Villa has long since moved on, Suarez is still at Barca, and last month struck twice in a 3-0 win at Real Madrid to earn Ernesto Valverde’s senior squad a place in the Copa del Rey final.
Aspiring attacker Ruiz, who finished 27th in this year’s NxGn, was watching closely, once again left in awe as the 32-year-old converted his only two shots on target in the whole game.
“The first goal summed up his style,” the 19-year-old told Goal when asked about Suarez’s first-time finish from an Ousmane Dembele cut-back. “It was an amazing game and amazing goal.
“I am now focusing on Luis Suarez. I love his aggressive attitude and the way in which he goes looking for goals.
“But I also loved David Villa. He is one of the most complete strikers I’ve ever seen. I would like to have some of his movements.
“So, I am still learning from both of them. But thank you very much for including me on the NxGn list!
“It makes me feel so proud to see my work and my efforts recognised in that way.”
A prolific goalscorer at under-age level, both for club and country, Ruiz caught the attention of scouts from top Premier League teams after striking six times as Spain finished runners-up at the 2017 Under-17 World Cup.
However, the Valencia academy product ultimately decided to stay at Barca and is now lining out for the Blaugrana’s reserve team in Spain’s third tier.
“It’s been a very good season so far,” he said. “In the
Making the leap from the Barca B team to
“I’m here because I trust in this club, just like the rest of my team-mates in the B team,” he explained.
“We all think we can join the first team and this is our goal. We try to improve ourselves every day in order to achieve that dream.
“And working with the first team is incredible. It is another world
“They are the elite, the best and the most experienced players in the world.”
Consequently, Ruiz’s team-mate Juan Miranda, who made his senior squad debut against Tottenham in December, says the chance to work alongside the likes of Jordi Alba offers invaluable insight into his role and what’s required at the highest level.
“I am so grateful that Valverde allows me to work with the first team,” the left-back, who finished 38th in this year’s NxGn list, enthused.
“I pay particular attention to Jordi Alba’s movements because he plays in my position.
“But I try to watch the whole team. I learn from every single player, how they apply pressure, how they attack and how they defend.
“It is a very complex team to understand!”
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