When Cristian Tello broke into the Barcelona first team during the 2011/12 season it looked like the man who was part of Spain’s under-21 squad that won the 2013 European Championships would carry the Blaugrana forward line for the next decade.
Everything certainly started well after scoring a brace in the 9-0 hammering of CE L’Hospitalet in the Copa Del Rey and then later scoring in his first league start against Real Sociedad in early February 2012.
This begs the question, why (with so much positivity surrounding the Spaniard’s early career) are we not raving about Tello’s achievements at the Nou Camp?
Well, the answer is simple.
He’s no longer there and hasn’t been for a while.
No doubt if you follow La Liga regularly, you will be aware that the man with just a solitary Spain cap signed for Real Betis last summer for the seemingly bargain price of just €4 million which came about only after spells across Europe with Porto and Fiorentina.
But how did he end up there and why did it not all go to plan at Barce?
What went wrong
Again, another simple answer, the arrival of Luis Suarez and Neymar ended any hope the Barcelona B graduate had of holding down a first-team starting place despite his obvious talent.
It became clear early on that Pep Guardiola’s predecessors Tito Vilanova, Gerardo Martino and Luis Enrique did not trust the rapid attacker to lead the line for the team especially with Superstars Suarez and Neymar ahead in the pecking order and unlikely to be removed.
Despite this, Tello still managed a total of 86 appearances for Barcelona scoring 20 times in three full seasons before being shipped out on loan for the following three seasons.
Potential finally being achieved
It seems that Tello’s career has often been blighted by a case of right club, wrong time syndrome.
After loan spells at Porto and Fiorentina that bought some impressive displays if not a deluge of goals mainly due to being used as an attacking winger as opposed to an out and out striker, it was time to move on once more.
Now, after six years of trying to fit in, the 26-year-old has finally found a place to call home playing for the Seville based Real Betis.
Playing on the left wing for the Béticos, Tello has been an instrumental figure in guiding Betis to the top eight of La Liga this season with four goals and four assists from his 24 top-flight appearances.
It may have been a rocky road but finally, Tello has arrived and now we can once again enjoy his rapid pace and deft ability on the ball on a regular basis.
At €4 million (rising to €5 million based on appearances) it appears that Betis have gotten themselves a bargain as Barcelona’s turfed out son rises once more.