Updated: Jun 30
On February 1st, 2020, 17-year-old forward Bruna Vilamala got her first taste of the Estadi Johan Cruyff when she debuted against Sevilla for FCB Femení's senior team. Seeing a La Masia graduate debuting for the first team has always been a proud and special moment for Barca fans, especially in such a poetic way of entering the pitch for an icon like Lieke Martens. When watching her matches with the B team, there are clear glimpses of her talent and potential. Bruna knows has what it means to play the Barcelona way with the Barcelona DNA.
Recovering From Injury:
The young debutant is an integral part of the FC Barcelona Femení B squad who ended third-place in this year's Segunda Division. In the previous season with Juvenil, Bruna suffered a very serious injury that kept her away from the playing fields for much of the season. Now that she's recuperated, she's been able to return to form. Thanks to her great performances this year with the B team, she has managed to fulfill one of her dreams, debuting with Barcelona's first team. The young Blaugrana is the fourth-youngest player to debut with the first team at17 years, 7 months, and 26 days. Ahead of her are Patri Guijarro (17 years, 3 months, and 17 days), Jana Fernández (16 years, 9 months, and 22 days,) and heading the list is Clàudia Pina with 16 years, 5 months, and 2 days.
Bruna Vilamala is a versatile forward who can play across the pitch as a winger and striker. She is often used on the flanks for Spain's U-17 and Barcelona B due to her exceptional dribbling abilities. An outstanding stat of her's regarding her dribbling ability- she completed 5 successful dribbles out of 5 against England U-17 in the 2018 UEFA Women's U-17 Championship. In total, last season Bruna played 885 minutes for Barcelona B and scored 8 goals, or 0.814 goals per 90.
Link-up Play with Barcelona B's Front Three:
One of the most admirable qualities of Vilamala is her understanding of the movements of her attacking partners. Barcelona Femení B has been playing brilliantly last season due to the understanding between the teams' forwards. Clàudia Pina dropping deep, moving laterally, and dragging defenders out of position has been essential in creating space for Carla Armengol and Bruna Vilamala. This chemistry with Pina has allowed Bruna to shine more in the final third. Bruna pressing high up the pitch and unselfish link-up play are what made Barcelona B the highest-scoring team in Reto Iberdrola.
Bruna's Key Moments vs Madrid CFF B:
At the 23rd minute, there was a series of intricate passing between Pina, Bruna, and Aida Esteve which ended up in a goal. It started with a pass from Sheila to Aida. Aida passed the ball to Pina, and a skillful backheel from Pina put the ball in Bruna's path, who passed it to Aida. Aida sensed the space behind the defense and flicked the ball over the defenders for Bruna to bury it. The on-rushing goalkeeper stopped Bruna from getting a shot, but Bruna set up a pass for Carla Armengol who in turn nestled it into the back of the net. You can see the passage of play leading to the goal in the screenshots below.
Two minutes after scoring the goal, Bruna Vilamala designs another goal-scoring opportunity. She receives the ball and sends a disguised back pass to Aida, who sends the ball back to Bruna, opening up the defense. She spots Pina running behind the defense and duly sends a through ball to finish it off. Unfortunately, it had too much pace and ended at the feet of the approaching keeper. This was another example of how she can orchestrate build-up play by creating goal-scoring chances with key passes. Her movement without the ball shows how she is mature beyond her age. She fits into the Barcelona system well and can be decisive in the final third. You can see her playmaking skill in the below screenshots.
Her work rate and impeccable pressing in the opposite half are other valuable traits of her game. She is often used as a winger since she has pace and dribbling abilities in one-on-one situations and when leading counter-attacks.
Making her debut:
Barça's match against Sevilla served to write another page in the history book of the FC Barcelona. She entered the last moments of the duel against the Andalusian team, with the result already decided. The Borgonyà footballer replaced Lieke Martens to a resounding reception in front of the Blaugrana faithful and completed her debut with the first team under Lluís Cortés. In her debut, Vilamala was added to an elite list of La Masia players who have made the long-awaited jump to the senior team.
Bruna had this to say after making her debut: "It's what I've dreamed of since I was little"
The Barça forward appeared before the media after the match against Sevilla to analyze what had been her official debut with FC Barcelona: "I am very grateful, I still don't believe it", she also wanted to place special emphasis on the reaction of Barca fans every time the youth player touched the ball: "When I saw the response from the fans, I got goosebumps. It's what I've dreamed of since I was little."
Bruna representing Spain's U-17s with Barcelona teammate Jana Fernández
The good news does not end for Bruna, and that is, the young Barca star signed her first professional contract for Barcelona on June 26th, 2020 for 3 more seasons at Barca.
Bruna on signing her first professional contract:
"It is a dream for me that the Club has given me this opportunity. It is a dream that I have had since I arrived and that it can be fulfilled makes me especially excited"
With Bruna Vilamala extending her contract for three more seasons, she can enter the first team dynamics next year with the expectation to be the regular starter for Barcelona in the future. It's hoped by much of the Barcelona faithful that she learns and develops like her predecessors and becomes a fundamental part of the first team in the years to come. This season under Lluís Cortés she has one appearance off the bench where she impressed the tactician, but he has since stated that he wants to see more from her and her B team teammates in the future. These renewals for Barca B players like Bruna are a clear statement from FC Barcelona to the European elites of what is bound to come from the La Masia project.