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Rising Star: Héctor Fort’s Stellar Performance for Barcelona’s First Team

Hector Fort / Getty Imges
Hector Fort / Getty Images

Hector Fort impressively filled in for Joao Cancelo and showcased his versatility against Atletico Madrid.

The outstanding performances of Pau Cubarsí and Lamine Yamal with the first team have overshadowed another La Masia young talent who has always shone whenever Xavi has needed him. Héctor Fort, aged 17, was the choice of the Catalan coach to cover for Joao Cancelo’s unexpected absence at the Metropolitano, and the Barcelona-born player’s performance on August 2, 2006, was excellent.

“He has been brilliant even though he hasn’t played in his natural position. He is a physically strong guy who never complicates things, plays it easy. He doesn’t invent, he plays what he sees, attacks spaces at the ideal moment. We’ve been talking to him, we’ve made a video because it’s not his position, but he can play perfectly. He is ready, plays with personality, without fear of failure. He has a desire for success, and that’s the key,” said Xavi after the match.

Fort, who began playing football as a forward before gradually moving to a defensive role, joined Barça’s youth setup under the guidance of Sergi Milà, the current coordinator of football at Barcelona. Those who know him are not surprised by his good performances with the first team despite his youth and playing in a position that is not his natural one, as they highlight his ambition to succeed as a blaugrana.

“He is a competitive beast, one of those players who are very angry when they lose. He compensates for any difficulties he may have in playing on the left with motivation. He could even play as a goalkeeper,” comments his surroundings, emphasizing that he is a player with a privileged physique, more explosive than fast, and with characteristics to stop fast wingers, as he did in San Mamés in the Copa del Rey against the Williams brothers, two of the fastest attackers in LaLiga.

It is precisely this drive, this desire, coupled with still having a growing body and certain nerves, that the coaching staff attribute to the muscle ramps and minor problems he has had in some matches, such as the one at the Metropolitano, where he had to be replaced by Iñigo Martínez in the last minutes. After his great game against Atlético, Héctor Fort did not return to Barcelona. He stayed in Madrid, focused with the Spanish U19 national team led by José Lana.

In Slovenia, he will compete in the qualifying phase for the European Championship of the category to be played this summer in Northern Ireland. Spain’s opponents are Austria and Slovenia. Upon his return, he will be back with the first-team dynamics. In fact, it is expected that he will no longer leave it, as the sports management’s intention is for him to continue in this dynamic next season, being one of the players counted on for both full-back positions. Obviously, this will be accompanied by an update of his contract, which expires in 2025. There will be an improvement and a rise in the clause. The current one is low, and the club’s intention is to shield Héctor Fort when he turns 18 and can sign his first professional contract.