Name: Pauliño ‘Pau’ de la Fuente Gomez
Team: Inter Milan
Position: Attacking Midfielder
Birth Date: June 27, 1995
Int’l: Spain U16 (2 caps)
Pau came to light at the 2012/2013 Campeonat de Espana cadet. Playing for CF Basander at the time, a string of fine performances including a virtuoso display in Valencia in December where he scored the winner quickly made everyone sit up and take notice.
No prizes for guessing that the big wigs of La Liga – Real Madrid and Barcelona would come calling. Valencia, Levante and Racing Club were interested too. In the end, he signed for Inter Milan.
Inevitably, comparisons have been drawn with fellow Cantabrian and Valencia midfielder, Sergio Canales as Pau constantly drifted into space, head up. Orchestrating and exhibiting a game understanding that bellied his tender 15 years. The touch, slaloming runs, feints and vision are a pleasant reminder of why Real Madrid paid €6 million to sign him in 2010.
Italian football is notorious for not handing opportunities to youngsters but the landscape is fast changing. The downturn experienced by the Italian economy and the recent successes of Italian teams in youth competitions has seen clubs turning to youth. El Shaarawy at Milan, Pogba at Juventus are examples of young players who have been handed major roles at big clubs in Italy. For Pau, the journey to the first team is still a very long one. He first hast to succeed with the U18s where he is now and then progress to the Primavera – the highest youth team.
He still has work to do. There is the tendency to overdo things – going for the spectacular when the simple would suffice but that should improve as he grows older. He only recently turned 16. He has the talent and if he develops as expected, Inter have on their hands a player that could become a world beater.
So friends, mark this day on your diaries. The day you first read about Pauliño de la Fuente Gomez.