Martí Riverola celebra un gol / FOTO: ARXIU FCB

Martí Riverola was born on January 26th in 1991 and he started playing for FCB Escola six years later. At the age of eight he started his career as a youth player for FC Barcelona. Riverola has played every one of Barça’s youth teams and he made his debut for the first team in the Champions League. In the 2010/11 season he was loaned out to the Dutch side Vitesse, and after a season where he was a regular feature in Eusebio Sacristán’s Barça B, the Barcelona born player has left Barça to join Bologna. “It’s very difficult to break into the midfield of a team are European and world champions. I have to be realistic and when Bologna showed interest I knew it was my moment,” said Riverola.

The midfielder remembers his first day with FC Barcelona: “It was in the FCB Escola. There were different teams that were named after rivers like Ter or Llobregat. I started in the Llogregat team with a blue Nike shirt.” From that day forward he learned Barça’s style of play: “from a very young age Barça teaches you to be competitive. All of the kids want to be in the best team, be part of the group, and it makes you internalize this way of thinking. After that, each one of us must must decide what comes next in life. I believe this is one of the most valuable lessons Barça has taught me.”

First team debut

Riverola, who started out as a striker, leaves the Club after fulfilling his dream: “the day I made my debut there were three players on the bench: Sergi Gómez, Kiko Famanía and myself. When Guardiola turned around and said my name I quickly got up even though I wasn’t exactly sure he had called me. I confirmed it, however, and I started to warmup. When Altimira asked me if I was ready I told him that 'I have been preparing my whole life for this moment.' When I was subbed in I was afraid of the ball, of failing, that the fans would think I was a bad player. That’s why I decided to make my first touch an easy pass to Muniesa. I wasn't on the pitch for very long, but I’ll always remember that game. The Champions League is a very important and it was a beautiful thing to make my debut in the competition.”

A philosophy that’s recognised throughout the world

“The good thing about Barça is that there’s already an established philosophy; it’s admired throughout the world. This is what makes the Club different from the rest. I believe the Club is lucky that Josep Guardiola started to train the first team four years ago, he’s the guy that put the philosophy into practice with the first team, and there’s a clear commitment to use reserve players,” said Riverola. The Barcelona native is very aware that not every youth player will make it to the first team: “my success was borne out of knowing that I had to keep my feet on the ground. Regardless of how badly you want to realise your dream, you have to know that there’s a day that it can all end. You always have to give it 100%. I was very aware of that each and every day.” He knows that it’s very complicated to leave Barça, but Riverola is eager to demonstrate his skill at Bologna: “I hope to return their confidence in me and prove that I can play in Serie A.”

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