Who is Barcelona's Rey Manaj? The king that has not yet reigned

Almeria paid almost two million euros to sign him from Inter before his move to Barça

Así juega Rey Manaj, delantero albanés que interesa al Barça B | YOUTUBE

The differences in the Spanish third division are minimal, but Barça B felt what the team lacked was goals. It was not a structural problem, but a specific one focused on the centre forward position. They felt the need to bring in a No.9 that knew how to take his chances and maximise the attacking play generated by Garcia Pimienta's side. 

Ivan San Antonio

@sanantheone

REY MANAJ, THE CHOSEN ONE 

After assessing their options, Barça B took a decision and moved for Rey Manaj. The Albanian international was playing for Albacete, who had made a big outlay in signing him. He was on loan at Granada from Inter in 2017-18. He was inconsistent with Granada but Almeria saw enough to bite the bullet and paid the Serie A side around two million euros for him. He signed a contract until 2024. 

During his career he has shown he has a strong character. In fact, he's had several moments with his coaches. One was with Gianni De Biasi, the former Albania coach. Manaj eventually apologised to the coach for not selecting him for the national team after previously criticising him on social media. 

His latest episode came with Luis Miguel Ramis, the coach of Albacete, who handed him a two-game ban for indiscipline. He did not taken off in his second season and was often on the bench, but Barça felt, at 22, he had the potential to be the No.9 they needed for the B team. 

He would not have expected to have the prize of a first team call up so soon, but that's what happened on Friday when he was named in the first team for Saturday's game at Camp Nou against Getafe. Hardly one month after his arrival, and after one goal and one red card for Barça B, he could have his chance under new Barca coach Quique Setien as the club remain short in attack. 

"He can offer us certain things that we don't have and that could be helpful," Setien said on Friday. 

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