The presence of Munir el Haddadi in Luis Enrique’s starting line-up was one of the talking points of tonight’s game with Elche. The youngster was simply outstanding. He issued his first warning after 22 minutes with a shot onto the crossbar, and for the remainder of the first half provided plenty of examples of his sublime skill and natural gift for losing his marker.
If he’d looked good in the first 45 minutes, the second half couldn’t have got off to a better start. With his first touch of the ball, he collected a pass from Rakitic and struck home with the kind of elegance few would expect of a player so young. He was replaced in the 66th minute, and the crowd responded with a rousing ovation.
After the game, Munir said that “I am so proud to have scored at the Camp Nou with Messi and so many other great players around me. I’m very happy. It was a dream come true to play with them … Luis Enrique has told me to keep doing what I do, and so I’ll keep working for more chances. He tells us to work hard and get better every day. He’s a great manager.”
The striker also confessed that he’d not been able to sleep the night before the game because he was so excited about being named in the team. He then talked through the big moment of the night – his goal. “It came because if you keep losing your marker, sometimes you get there” he said. “I saw the goalkeeper was off his line and just chipped the ball”. A strikingly humble response after scoring such an astounding goal on his first team debut!
Munir had already shown us what a talent he is by finishing the preseason as the team’s highest goalscorer. He scored two in Helsinki and then did likewise against Club Leon at the Joan Gamper Trophy.