Ronaldinho's son Joao Mendes, 17, makes Barcelona debut in 3-1 win over Man Utd youth team | The Sun

RONALDINHO's son made his Barcelona youth team debut yesterday – just a week after signing for the club.

Joao de Assis Moreira made his Barca bow in a friendly against Manchester United on Thursday morning.

The sides clashed at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper hours before the first teams collided in a thrilling first leg of their Europa League last 32 tie at the Nou Camp.

And De Assis, 18, was given his first run-out just over a week after his arrival from Cruzeiro.

The teenage striker lead the line for the Catalans in what proved to be a pulsating match.

De Assis bagged himself a contract with Barca's youth team after impressing coaches during a trial.


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President Joan Laporta said: "We want Ronaldinho's son to continue his career here. We will make him a contract.

"The other day we spoke with Roberto (de Assis) and he has to close some things in Brazil.

"I don't know if it will be for Juvenil B. The kid has a talent and we're happy. We like to maintain this relationship with Ronaldinho.

"The pressure on the boy is great, because Ronaldinho has been one of the best in history.

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"The son has pressure, but it's the job of our coaches that he can develop their skills."

Barca and United's youngsters looked destined to play out a 1-1 draw until Marc Guiu and Lamine Yamal struck in the final five minutes to seal a 3-1 win for the hosts.

Ahead of the match, the head of United's academy Nick Cox said: "We are always looking to innovate and provide world-class experiences for our players.

"We have arranged this fixture to enhance our existing games programme, supplement our volume of fixtures and expose players to the types of experiences that they will have should they reach our first team.

“Coming up against a team of this quality is an amazing opportunity but the boys will also learn what it means to represent Manchester United in Europe.

"Playing in a different environment, a new stadium, maybe a different climate and against an alternative style of play is all part of their learning and development process.

"We’re all really looking forward to the game and the benefits it will provide to the group.”

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