With an eye on the future, Borussia Dortmund signed young right-back Mateu Morey ahead of the 2019/20 season. The Spain youth international, born in 2000, has signed a deal to keep him at the club until 2024. The plan is to gradually integrate him in the Bundesliga and so that, in the long run, he can replace Lukasz Piszczek. Morey is widely viewed as one of the most talented young right-backs in Europe.
It was clear from the remarks made by Michael Zorc when Morey joined ("Mateu is a top defensive talent from the FC Barcelona academy who possesses exceptional technical quality. We see this transfer as being one for the future and are looking forward to developing Mateu within our first-team squad") what the plan was for the young Spaniard.
Morey was able to showcase his talent towards the end of the 2019/20 season: the 20-year-old was named in the matchday squad on 20 different occasions across all competitions and made five Bundesliga appearances after the restart. On his Bundesliga debut in Paderborn on Matchday 29, he set up the final goal in a 6-1 win and also played the defence-splitting pass which ultimately led to the fifth goal. The Spaniard was then named in the starting XI for the last two games of the season.
Three years earlier, Morey played a starring role for his country at the 2017 U17 European Championships in Croatia: the full-back scored a splendid goal against France in the quarter-finals, he stepped up to convert a spot-kick in the semi-final shoot-out against Germany and then did the same against England in the final, having also got on the scoresheet in regular time. Morey was tasked with marking a certain Jadon Sancho in the final, and the experience clearly left a lasting impression on the young Spaniard. "Jadon can go on to become one of the best players in the world," Morey told Borussia magazine (November 2019 edition), "and of course it is a special pleasure to play alongside such an exceptional talent.''
After Morey won the 2017 European Championships with Spain's U17s and the UEFA Youth League with FC Barcelona a year later, one English football magazine was already raving about "the next Lahm." Like Philipp Lahm, former captain of the German national team, Morey is also diminutive in stature, but he makes up for it with an incredible sense of footballing intelligence. Bayern, Juventus, Manchester United - various top clubs were interested in Morey when he was still playing for the Barcelona youth teams.
Morey is understandably proud of his early success, "but that doesn't guarantee that your career is going to work out.'' After four years at La Masia, arguably the world's most famous youth academy, he might well have stayed in Barcelona. He had grown fond of the Bluegranas, the distance from his home town of Petra on Mallorca was manageable - no need for a change, some might think. Barca have already got some flak in the Spanish press for letting another young talent seek his fortune in pastures new. In Morey's words: "I felt I was at the point where the time was ripe for the next step. It wasn't an easy decision, but after much consideration, my family and I decided to end the wonderful time I had at Barcelona and start a new and exciting adventure. The great thing about BVB is that we always want to move the ball around too." He's already excited about the way his game is improving in Dortmund.
Among his teammates, Morey already has a nickname that could hardly be more German - the terrier. The man who snaps at his opponents’ heels until he gets the ball off them.