Smile after smile, bit of advice after bit of advice, trophy after trophy, and broken record after broken record - living FC Barcelona's reality enchants the spectator, awes the journalists, and mesmerizes the world's best football players. Our generation is witnessing the achievements of what could be one of the best football teams in history, if not the best.
Towards the end of the first half, Guardiola's team leads 5-0 in the Round of 32 of La Copa del Rey against Segunda B team, L'Hospitalet. Already, Andres Iniesta has come off the pitch due to an injury; at the time the severity is unknown (reportedly he will be out 15 days). A couple of minutes later, Pep decides to substitute Xavi, leaving Barcelona with one to substitution to use.
As the tiqui-taca is displayed in its splendor on Camp Nou's field, Xavi sits besides one of his students Jonathan dos Santos Ramirez, who listens closely to every word that comes out of Barcelona's orchestrator.
Jonathan began his journey through Barcelona's ranks in the 2001-02 season with Aleví A, and from that point, he has progressively escalated and formed part of every Barcelona youth team.
When the referee's watch signaled 90 minutes, he whistled the game's conclusion, a formidable 9-0, and an end to FC Barcelona's remarkable year, which saw Pep's team tally 170 goals. Dos Santos came on the pitch for Sergio Busquets in the 56th minute. He stepped onto the field with a huge smile and walked to the dressing room with the same smile.
Jonathan dos Santos experienced a turbulent summer of 2011, undoubtedly his dismiss from national team play action during Copa America has played an inflective role in his footballing career. Not taking part in CONMEBOLs historic and important tournament prevented dos Santos from growing and learning more on the pitch.
When he returned to Barcelona, the team used different techniques in order to make Jonathan reflect on what he did at Quito, Ecuador. Days after his arrival, he posted an apology message on Barca TV, while in Mexico, Iñárritu gave a statement in which he declared a six-month ban from national team play to all the players involved in the misdemeanor that left a weakened Mexico side participating in Argentina's tournament.
During Barcelona's pre-season, Jonathan figured more than once in Barcelona's starting line-up. His Barcelona summer included - a goal against Internazionale de Porto Alegre and playing as a right back in multiple games. Towards the end of 2011, to be exact December 1st, dos Santos renovated his FC Barcelona contract until 2015. His buy-out clause is of 30 million euros.
In August 19, 2010, Martí Perarnau, journalist for Catalan sports newspaper Sport, wrote an article titled "Jonathan dos Santos: creciendo en la sombra." (Jonathan dos Santos: Growing in the Shadow). The article closely analyzed the youngest of the dos Santos' present and future. His description and detail about the type of footballer he is was perfectly noted - "‘Jona' is always a calm player, builder of plays, wise, and the thermometer of the team."
Jonathan is not the explosive forward his brother Giovani is, or the magician Thiago, one of Jona's closest friends, is becoming. Jonathan likes and feels confortable at the heart of the field, and it is at this area where he wants to become a master and improve his vision as Perarnau mentioned - "He has the panoramic vision of the blaugranacommandments: comes down to receive, asks for the ball, and moves the team over and over again."
Ten years at La Masia certainly have engrained in him a style of football hardly anyone in the profession will ever have. He is a gifted player, who has been gifted the opportunity of a lifetime to celebrate championships and records with our generation's best team. Jona, at 21, still has a long road to travel, filled with challenges and obstacles. Perarnau ends his article commenting that the moment will come when Jonathan will be able to tickle Xavi and his role in Pep's team. If there was ever year, in which Jona, could catalog as a life-changing year, it might be 2012.
The lights will be on him. Will his case be like that of Jeffren or Bojan? Or will his case be that of Thiago, Pedro, or Busquets? How many times will Chepo de La Torre call him for national team play? How many times will the dos Santos brothers appear on the same Mexico starting line-up in 2012? In conclusion, Jonathan dos Santos is a pocketful of dreams.