- Copy link
After a spell of five and a half years in the Premier League, Adama Traoré, nicknamed 'La Fletxa' (The Arrow) in Catalan due to his startling speed, is back at Barça where he spent 11 years before leaving for England. Adama is a true wing and a player who fits right into the thinking of Barça coach Xavi Hernández.
In June 2015 he featured in his final game for Barça B. A 2-0 defeat at Recreativo Huelva with both sides already relegated to the third tier of Spanish football. An unremarkable game that nevertheless saw a typically positive performance from Adama as he created five chances and showcased his ability to take players on.
At the time, the winger did not know that would be his last game. Two months later his move to Premier League club Aston Villa was announced for a fee of €10m with €2m in add-ons and a buy back option that was never exercised. The competition up front in the first team with Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar left no place for a 19 year old Adama and he began a new adventure in English football.
Adama had spent 11 years in the various team at Barça from the U10B side to the first team. 'La Fletxa' from Hospitalet, close to Camp Nou, left his boyhood club with the hope of returning one day, a hope that has now become a reality. 11 years in the youth teams at Barça is now a very useful tool for the Catalan winger.
Beginnings in 7 a side football
Adama Traoré joined the Barça youth set up in the 2004/05 season. Jordi Condom was his first coach in the U10B side and the youngster already stood out at eight years of age for his pace. In the Barça 7 a side teams the usual system was a 1-3-2-1 with a keeper, three defenders, two midfielders and a striker. The youngster tend to try different positions until they find their place but Adama already claimed the right wing as his own. Opposition defences could do nothing to stop the winger marauding up and down the wing to create chance after chance for striker Marc Gual.
The jump to 11 a side football
For Adama, the same as all players, the jump to 11 a side football at U12 level is a big one. Fortunately, he had coach Albert Puig to guide him. "He had trouble adapting to the new pitch size," remembers Puig. "Adama was very quick and he had to learn to deal with the offside law and learn how to slow down a little as he often got to the byline to put in a cross but none of his team mates were in the box as they could not match his pace," continues his former coach.
Aside from his footballing qualities, Adama was a cherished figure in the dressing room for his modesty and straight forward nature. He was a shy lad who never had any trouble with team mates nor coaches. In fact, the coaches had to help him in his forgetfulness at times. Franc Artiga, one of his coaches at U16 level, remembers a story concerning Adama: "One day we were on the coach for an away game and the next minute we saw Adama chasing after the bus as he had been distracted before getting on. He was so quick that he ran around half a kilometre without losing ground and we laughed a lot, Adama was much loved in the squad."
In the U16A side under Quique Álvarez took a big step forward. The pace winger had grown in strength and confidence and after performances against Espanyol and then Damm, Barça TV coined the nickname 'La Fletxa' and later in the season 'The Arrow' made his debut for the U19A side under Òscar Garcia.
UEFA Youth League to Barça B
His best season with the U19A squad saw the team claim the UEFA Youth League trophy in April 2014 for the first time with Adama providing an assist for Munir in the final.
In the same season, 2013/14, Adama made his debut for Barça B in October 2013 at the age of 17 and he helped Eusebio's squad finish in third place in the Spanish Second Division. First team coach Tata Martino handed him his debut in November 2013 in a Copa del Rey game against Granada in which he came on to replace none other than Neymar.
Under Luis Enrique, Adama played twice more in the Copa del Rey against Recreativo and Huesca, scoring his first goal against the latter for the first team.
- Copy link