From Koeman To Gattuso: Barcelona Rising Star Nico González Heads To Valencia On Loan

Nico González is one of LaLiga Santander’s rising stars. At just 20 years of age, he broke into Ronald Koeman’s FC Barcelona side last season and continued to be an important player after the arrival of Xavi Hernández. His great performances did not go unnoticed by other big clubs, and that’s why Valencia CF has decided to give him a more prominent role and allow him to continue developing as a player at the Estadio de Mestalla this season.

Nico scored two goals, assisted one and made 27 appearances in LaLiga Santander last season. In addition to his attacking contribution, he is also multi-skilled and versatile (he can adapt to different midfield positions), thanks to his defensive ability, great physical qualities and his intelligence when it comes to occupying the entire midfield area.

Nico González reacts to his move to Valencia

Check out Nico González’s first words after signing a one-year loan with Valencia in August 2022. The FC Barcelona academy product spoke about his ambitions for the season and what it means for him as a midfielder to work under Gennaro Gattuso.

Nico is the son of a LaLiga Santander legend; his father Fran is the record appearance holder for RC Deportivo, having represented the Galician club 700 times. Fran was the captain of the Super Depor side that lifted the 1999/2000 LaLiga Santander title, while the one-club man also won two Copa del Rey titles and three Spanish Super Cups. Nico could hardly have wished for a greater role model as he took his own first steps in Spanish professional football.

After starting out at local Galician side Montañeros, Nico was enrolled in Barcelona’s prestigious La Masia academy in 2013 at the age of 11 and rapidly rose through the ranks, to the point where he made his debut in senior football at the age of just 17 by featuring for Barça B in Spanish football’s third tier.

After truly standing out for Barça B in 2020/21, Ronald Koeman invited the midfielder to work with the first-team squad last summer. As expected, he impressed and was in line to feature in the Catalan club’s first friendly of the pre-season, only for a stomach bug to keep him on the sidelines. When his opportunity did come in another friendly against Girona FC, Nico grasped it and later earned his competitive debut with seven minutes off the bench against Real Sociedad on the opening day of the current LaLiga Santander season.

FC Barcelona has every confidence in his career progression, having developed his skills through the youth ranks. Consequently, the club made sure to renew his contract before loaning him out so that he can continue to gain experience in the top flight, thus extending his ties with the Catalan club until 2026.

Gennaro Gattuso, the newly-appointed Valencia CF coach, will be keen to see how Nico can develop his game further this season. The possibility of playing both as a central midfielder and as an attacking midfielder opens up a wide range of possibilities for him in the Italian coach’s system, who will then have to find the best way to integrate him so that he can exploit all his abilities.

In addition, Nico joins a number of young players in Valencia CF’s squad for this season. Following the loan signing of Hugo Duro from Getafe CF, Samuel Lino has also arrived from Atlético de Madrid. In addition, Los Ché already has players such as Yunus Musah, Thierry Correia, Hugo Guillamón and Giorgi Mamardashvili, all of whom are taking on an important role and showing that youth is not an obstacle when it comes to giving great performances on the pitch.