A MASSIVE gaffe spelled the beginning of the end of Andre Onana’s first stint as a senior goalkeeper.
The Manchester United star held his hands up after gifting Bayern Munich their opener as part of a poor display in Wednesday’s 4-3 Champions League defeat.
AFPAndre Onana dropped a huge clanger to gift Bayern Munich the lead[/caption]
GettyNow another massive blunder from his early years has resurfaced[/caption]
But ten years ago it was a row with a ref that cost Onana and his team.
Team-mate Alberto Edjogo-Owono said: “He had a big, big mistake in one game where he left his goal to argue about a decision with the referee.
“The other team took the ball quickly and scored an equaliser, very late in the game.
“It became very tough for him. We all knew the situation had to stop.”
Vista Alegre is a working-class area in Castelldefels, a seaside town where Barcelona first-team players often live.
Onana had joined Barca from the Samuel Eto’o Academy in Cameroon aged just 14. But Spanish law meant overseas players who had not lived in the country for five years were forbidden to play in professional competitions until they turned 18.
He had spent the previous 2012-13 season on loan with Castellon’s youth team.
But Barca felt Onana needed adult football. So they sent him to play in the Primera Catalana, then Spain’s fifth tier.
Vista Alegre’s boss was Xavi Moro, a former Barca trainee. He describes Onana as “a rough diamond” who found it hard to adapt to the new reality of living in Barca’s La Masia youth complex but catching the train to practise and play with his temporary club.
Edjogo-Owono, a former Equatorial Guinea international, would give Onana lifts from Castelldefels station up the hill to the stadium – and sometimes all the way back to Barcelona if he missed the last train.
Edjogo-Owono said: “There was a problem with Onana. We talked about it several times. That was not the place for him.
“He was there because he wanted to compete but it was too weak for him so he was not motivated.
“He felt that Barcelona were not on the journey with him. They should have handled the situation better.
“You are 17 years old, away from home, you have the dream of big success in Barcelona and you find that you are playing in small stadiums on artificial grass in front of 300 people, insulting or booing you.I think he felt isolated.”
Onana did show his team-mates glimpses of his ability, particularly his renowned skills on the ball.
Edjogo-Owono said: “He was a better player than most of the team.
Andre Onana pictured with the UD Vista Alegre back in the 2012/13 campaign
“We would have three or four balls in the middle of the pitch. He used to say, ‘Hey, bro, I will try to hit the crossbar, once with each foot’.
“And he did it, off the ground and on the volley. That was when I said, ‘Wow, this guy is impressive’”.
Onana was also unafraid to give out the kind of stick that his new United team-mates have already experienced.
Edjogo-Owono said: “He had the character at 17 years old to criticise his team-mates, to scream or to speak loudly.
“But off the pitch, he was very quiet. I would say that most of the team did not not have a conversation with him.”
Onana’s poor Spanish didn’t help. Nor did his occasional lateness for training and lack of focus in some sessions. The embarrassing goal he conceded just added to the tension and he returned to Barca after playing just six games.
Vista were eventually relegated. Onana, no doubt influenced by his bad experience there, left Barcelona for Ajax early in 2015.
Edjogo-Owono, now a pundit on DAZN, said: “I was sure that he had the potential to become the player he is.
“It was very tough to score past him, if he was serious, if he was concentrating.
“I don’t think he learned much in terms of sport at Vista Alegre.
“But perhaps it opened his eyes to say: ‘If I’m not humble, if I don’t work and perform 100 per cent every day, maybe I won’t reach my goals.’”