Marc Guiu’s dream Barcelona debut is a reminder of just how magical football can be

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The teenager scored within seconds of making his Barcelona debut on Sunday evening.

The Spanish call fairytales ‘los cuentos de hadas’. On Sunday evening, beneath the withering glare of the Lluis Companys floodlights, as a threadbare Barcelona shadowboxed with the prospect of stalemate, a young man - more of a precocious child, really - stepped out from the dugout, laced his right boot, and scribed for himself a yarn as fantastical as anything Hans Christian Andersen could ever have contemplated.

Marc Guiu was on the field a matter of seconds before he gave the Catalan giants a valuable lead against an admirably stubborn Athletic Bilbao side; his very first touch in the famous striped jersey took him through on goal, his second nestled in the back of the net despite the best protestations of Spain number one Unai Simon. This was the stuff of classroom daydreams and pulpy comic strips. It was also utterly, utterly wonderful.

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Prior to his august cameo, Guiu had never played a senior minute for Barcelona. More sensational still, he had made just one appearance for the B team. He was a hail mary with bumfluff, younger than the iPod Nano, a gamble not old enough to gamble. It could hardly have paid off in a bigger way.

After his goal, and the subsequent delirious, disbelieving celebration, the 17-year-old did little of note. His next contribution was to scythe down the vanquished Simon with a late lunge of a challenge - less through malice you imagine, and more as a consequence of the strain of unfiltered adrenaline coursing through his veins usually monopolised by adolescent labradors who hear the word ‘walk’. Beyond that, there was the smart subduing of a flighted ball that led to a clattering of his own, and then a tense, nervy lurch to the final whistle.

But in truth, nothing aside from the goal - that goal as it may come to be known - mattered in the slightest. From this point onwards, Guiu’s life will never be the same. He might as well have discovered fire last night, or harnessed the immensity of a lightning strike to illuminate a filament bulb. This was epiphanic glory, the kind that brings with it immediate acclaim and spine-bowing expectation aplenty.

The reasons for that giddy hope are relatively obvious. Good strikers are a rarified commodity as it is, and those worthwhile few who do occasionally become available on the transfer market tend to cost the combined GDP of a small principality. The prospect of finding one, physically strapping and instinctively devastating, in your own academy system is akin to paying off your mortgage with the winnings from a scratchcard. It’s like going to dig an allotment in your back garden and realising that you actually live on a hitherto untapped opal mine.

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Maybe Guiu can be that gemstone for Barcelona, and maybe he cannot. It almost goes without saying that it is all but impossible to tell based on nothing more than 11 minutes of La Liga football. In the here and now, however, the future feels marginal compared to the shock of his sudden blossoming.

Because really, that is what football is all about. You watch hour after hour of dross - the usual, the dull, the expected - and you stomach it, endure it, for the moments like this; those fleeting flashbangs of unfathomable emotion on which entire narratives, whole lives, can pivot. Perhaps in a decade we will look back on Guiu’s debut as the catalyst that signified the second coming of a David Villa or a Romario. Perhaps instead he will end up plying his trade in the second division with Tenerife or somebody of a similar ilk.

But either way, wherever the unquenchable tramp of time takes him, he will always, forevermore, have Sunday night - the surge of blood as he raced beyond the last man, the beatific grin as his shot squirmed through the goalkeeper’s grasp, the ecstatic tears of his mother as she leapt around the terraces having abandoned any semblance of decorum or self-control. Those are the moments that make football what it is; and what it is, sometimes, is bloody brilliant.

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