http://fcbtransfers.blogspot.com/2009/0 ... sulin.html
A portrait of Gai Assulin
The gem of the Barca youth academy has gotten older. Gai Assulin turned 18 years old and it makes him more motivated than ever to try to achieve his dream to one day succeed at Camp Nou.
The Israeli has left behind the meniscus injury that prevented him from starting 2009 on a good note and after playing in the past two matches, his work could have been important in the long run for Barça Atlètic's promotion.
Gai joined the blaugrana ranks at age 12 after captivating Joan Martinez Vilaseca from his campus in Andorra. The player, grown at Maccabi Haifa, defied all odds and left his home of Nahariya to join Barcelona. Fran Sánchez was his first coach in the youth teams and he quickly left the impression that he was a special player.
With Javi Garcia Pimienta he stopped shaping and at only 16 years old he already debuted at Barça B led by Pep Guardiola. The striker played in the Third Division against opponents twice his age and with the same ease as if he were playing against players his age.
Gai still lives very close to the Camp Nou with his father and hasn't ruled out his studies at all, now that he's improving his English. His idol was Ronaldinho and he tried to learn the Brazilian's best tricks. His teammates say that he is the most clever player on the team and he shows it by soaking in his idols' inspiration like a sponge. His plays on the left wing are reminiscent of those of "Ronnie" and his slaloms have an aura of Messi.
Guardiola knows that he's counting on a very special player in the reserves and this very season he was close to being included in the roster for the Copa match against Benidorm. Bureaucratic problems prevented his, but the player will receive Spanish citizenship before the summer and he'll be able to alternate between the first team and the youth team without problems.
Gai showed his quality since the first day he played in the Barça shirt. The Spanish Federation didn't see past his skills and tempted him, once he received a Spanish passport, to wear the shirt of the national team. However, the Israeli footballer feels proud to represent his country, which he already debuted for, and at this rate he'll start a new era for his country. Certainly, he has already become an idol, even though Israel isn't a country with much football passion.
Gai will have dual nationality and he hopes to soon get another call-up from Israel after his spectacular debut against Chile, aged 17, at the Ramat Gan stadium in front of 24,000 spectators. He was the youngest player in the national team's history to make his debut. The crowd acclaimed him and he stunned most of the stadium to watch him play. A true achievement considering that it's a country where the passion for football isn't as great as in other countries.
He will truly be happy when he makes the first team. This summer he could have his first opportunity on the first team's stage. Guardiola is big on the youth team and Gai is high on his list. His contract at Barça ends in 2010, although he wishes to extend it.
Chelsea tried to sign him two seasons before, but the Israeli had only one objective in mind: to succeed with Barça. The player is culé by heart and doesn't think in anything else except returning the love he received at La Masia with the best football possible for the blaugrana support.