Eleven years have passed since Iñaki Peña floor The Masia for the first time, with the sole obsession of succeeding in the Barcelona. He was very clear, from a very young age when whenever he could he went to the Camp Nou, that his dream was to wear the Barça jersey and settle in the eleven. He has lived the last few seasons in the shadow of Ter Stegen and now his big opportunity has come. The man from Alicante has passed with flying colors the first three exams, but, with the operation of the German international to overcome some lumbar discomfort, he will continue to enjoy prominence for a few more weeks. The moment she longed for has arrived: to make her dream come true.
Iñaki Peña, 24 years old, has experienced many seasons the bitter side of football, that of the bench. In the goalkeeper position, the opportunities are even scarcer: he is a position with few rotations. This campaign, until Ter Stegen was injured, he had not played a single minute or in LaLiga nor in the Champions League . Last year, he only participated in five matches (two of Copa, one from the continental tournament and two from the regular national competition), and in 21-22 he was forced to leave on loan to Galatasaray to have prominence and continue growing as a professional.
But the man from Alicante, who has a clause of 400 million, was clear that his dream, he opted for Barça as a child, it was playing in the Barcelona and he was not willing to give it up. He Villarreal, where he played from 2009 to 2012, wanted to keep him, but he wanted to be a culé. That’s why he returned after the loan in Galatasaray despite the fact that the Turkish team wanted to continue counting on him, and that is also why extended his contract last May, although he had offers in which, a priori, he could have more participation in the clubs that wanted him. “Happy to continue in the house that has helped me fight for my dreams. Let’s go for more!” He wrote on the day their relationship was extended until 2026.
Happy to continue in the house that has helped me fight for my dreams. Let’s go for more!
His visits to the Camp Nou
The 24-year-old goalkeeper has never tired of fighting and working and has shown great patience. He has never publicly complained about the lack of opportunities. He has limited himself to learning: improving football with his feet, concentration, aerial play, flexibility, agility… and being prepared for when his time comes. “When you think about giving up, remember what you are fighting for” is one of his maxims. He has always been aware that the shadow of Ter Stegen It is too long, but also that the club believes in him, because that is how they have conveyed it to him at all times from the offices, the offices and the locker room.
When you think about giving up, remember what you’re fighting for.
Since he was little, he has visited the Camp Nou and he has watched first team matches, which he proudly reflected on his social networks, with the hope of one day being on the pitch and being the team’s starting goalkeeper. Barça. At the moment, he has only played one in the culé fiefdom (now under construction) and as a visitor: in the Europa League defending the shirt Galatasaray.
The party in the Barça locker room after beating Atlético: “Iñaki, Iñaki…!”
The goalkeeper, who made his first stops in the Alicante CF and at the age of 10 he went to the quarry Villarreal (where he was three before arriving at La Masia), he never hid that when he was little he felt great admiration for Victor Valdes. I wanted to be like him, debut and win titles. Now that he is older, his reference point is, precisely, his partner Ter Stegen, for its character, personality and quality. Understand competition as an opportunity to grow. And to settle in Barça He knows he must be among the best. In the 18-19 season, he began to alternate playing reserve team games with working with the first team. He has been a sponge and has not stopped learning, as recognized by the teammates and technicians with whom he has lived these years.
If the approximately two months of sick leave that will be confirmed are finally confirmed Ter Stegen, Iñaki Rock I would have matches ahead of me LaLiga, Cup, Super Cup and Championsin addition to the friendly dallas.
So far, the young goalkeeper has more than fulfilled his three commitments, against Rayo, Porto and Atlético de Madrid. In front of those of Simeoneleft a clean sheet for the first time and made two saves of great merit, he flew to deflect a foul from Memphis and avoided both Correa with a very powerful shot.
The squad even did not hesitate to support and praise the goalkeeper on social networks for his interventions, which allowed them to score the three points. After his great performance against the rojiblancos in the Olympicmany colleagues like Inigo Martinez, Araujo or Joao Felix They congratulated him publicly and even Fermin Lopez called him Saint Inaki. He also joined in the applause Xavi in the press room. “Iñaki It is an example that how you train, you play and when you train so well even if you don’t play, you perform at your best. He left again. He has been beastly, very good”, said the coach.
In the club they are so proud of their youth team and so calm With their performance they do not consider reinforcing the goal in the market. Iñaki Peña has fulfilled his dream: he has not yet played at home in the Camp Noubut he will be the starting goalkeeper of the Barça first team.
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