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Brian Oliván, the winger who learned to defend outside the La Masia bubble

BarcelonaEspanyol already has its first reinforcement for the 2022-23 season. Left-back Brian Oliván arrives free from Mallorca and signs for three years, until 2025, ready to compete with Adrià Pedrosa for a place in the starting eleven of Diego Martínez. “If I didn’t think I could be a starter I wouldn’t have come; I want to contribute ambition, effort and commitment “, the defender assured in his presentation as a Spaniard.

“I’m coming home at the best time of my career,” said Oliván, who left Barcelona at the age of 19 to forge a path in the world of football. Now he is back with the almost finished Inefc career and the firm will to consolidate in Primera. His career has not been easy, as he himself has acknowledged in some interviews. The 12 years he spent in the lower divisions of Barça, where he entered at the age of 7, led him to live a football that had nothing to do with what he experienced afterwards. “M’anava tot de cara: anava amb les seleccions catalanes i espanyoles; I was in a bubble, living a reality that is not real football, ”he recalled a year ago.

Leaving the Barça club, where he started out as a winger, was a shock in many ways, starting with football: “At Barça, if you’re a winger, you only attack. The only games in the whole year where you have to defend are against Espanyol, in the Copa del Rey and the Youth League “, he explains. A situation that leads young talents like him to an assimilated comfort that, when they leave Barça, complicates their adaptation to other clubs: “You have dedicated your whole life to attacking and you realize that you don’t know how to defend, that you There is a lack of tactical concepts and you have to improve a lot against each other, things that I have been able to learn in the clubs where I have played ”.

The rush to succeed in football did not help him. He first tried his luck at the Portuguese branch of Braga, where far from reaching the first team he barely had minutes. Half a year later, he left for CSKA Sofia in Bulgaria, where he returned to live half a year in ostracism. Going abroad alone was a real life lesson. “All the decisions, even the shocks, have helped me to be the person I am today,” he admits. Leaving the comfort zone and living a year away with virtually no play could open his eyes. He had time, however, to straighten out his career following a more natural process signing for Valladolid B. There he found two coaches who gave him the confidence to regain sensations. First, Rubén de la Barrera, the branch’s coach, who made him undisputed. Then, Joan Francesc Ferrer Rubi, the coach who made his debut in the elite with three games between the Copa del Rey and the Second Division. In the first of these, against Elche, he had to score an old acquaintance of the Spanish fans, Ferran Corominas.

“He was a regular in the dynamics of the first team, although he later played with the subsidiary. I was one of the young players that surprised me the most and I liked the branch, because it was quite powerful and offensive “, the former Spaniard Javi Chica, who coincided with Oliván in Valladolid, explains to ARA. The current coach of the youth B white-and-blue believes that he can complement well with Pedrosa, a more offensive profile. “Oliván is now a more experienced and experienced player, he chooses more what offensive actions he does,” he describes. Personally, Chica considers that she can fit perfectly in Espanyol’s dressing room: “He is a very polite, familiar and studious boy, it’s good to have this type of person on the team”.

Two play-offs and a promotion

The good course he took in Valladolid led him to make a leap to another branch, that of Granada. To compensate for his departure, the club from Valladolid signed Mario Hermoso, who would be signed by Espanyol two years later. In Andalusia he began his consolidation as a professional player, but not in Granada, but in Cádiz, where he landed in 2016. At the age of 22 he lived his first play-off of ascent to First. The second would be with 25, this time on loan to Girona. Neither of these two clubs achieved the success they ended up finding in Mallorca, where they landed in 2020 and with which they ascended to the first attempt directly.

It was at the Son Moix club, in fact, where he was able to make his debut in the Primera at the age of 27. “I haven’t had an easy career, it’s not until now that I start to enjoy football a bit. To get to Primera I had to cut a lot of stone: now comes the hardest part, staying there for as many years as possible “, acknowledged Oliván, who returns to Barcelona as a fast and intense winger who does not neglect the defensive facets. . “He has also acted as a central defender in a three-man defense, he can give us an interesting versatility and a series of values ​​such as perseverance, effort or a positive aggression that we want to reintegrate into the club and the team,” added the director. sports, Domingo Catoira.

Asked by the market, Catoira hinted that Melendo’s future is far from Espanyol’s. “A proposal was made to him, but we will not make the private conversations public. His situation has been clarified and closed for a long time, it will be known in the coming days “, he explained. The sporting director has admitted that they are running operations in a market “blocked” by the lack of financial resources in the clubs of the League. “We should not be alarmed by the lack of reinforcements, we are clear about the profiles and positions we want to reach, but we need time: we will end up with a great team and staff,” he said.

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