Ilaix Moriba has long been touted as the jewel of La Masia, the man who could lead Barcelona’s midfield for the next decade. He’s certainly shown promise ever since he’s been handed his debut by Ronald Koeman earlier this season, and took another step with his cameo in El Clasico last night.
As noted by Mundo Deportivo, Ilaix exuded class, maturity, character and leadership belying his tender years in the time he was given at Valdebebas against Real Madrid in La Liga. He went toe-to-toe with veteran occupants of the engine room like Casemiro, and led Barcelona’s final push for a point.
It was his effort that rattled the post right at the death, a goal that would have been another milestone in an immensely impressive career for a young man of just 18. Ilaix gave the team verticality and a certain fearlessness, losing just one ball after coming on in the 72nd minute. In a game as cut-throat as elite football, such a temperament is imperative.