Enes Sali made history on Sunday by becoming the second youngest European to play for his national team this century. The former Barça Escola Barcelona member was just 15 years, 8 months and 22 days old when he appeared for Romania on Sunday in a World Cup qualifier against Liechtenstein, a 2-0 win for the Balkan nation. Sali was born in Toronto, and was spotted at a Barça Academy Camp in his home city in the winter of 2014 when he was just 8 years old.
For work reasons, Sali’s family moved to Barcelona shortly after and Enes joined Barça Escola Barcelona in 2015-16, playing in the ‘Sergi Roberto’ team coached by Pau Casassa (now technical coordinator of Barça Academy din Europe, the Middle East and Africa) and participated in numerous sessions with the Masía U10 teams.
He then spent two years in the academy of Viitorul Constanta, re-founded in 2021 as Farul Constanta, in Romani, a club which happens to be owned and coached by Gica Hagi and presided by Gica Popescu, both former Barça men. Enes surpassed Martin Odegaard of Norway last September to become the youngest scorer of a top flight goal in Europe when he was just 15 years, 6 months and 21 days old. He played eight games for the club’s first team.
Enes was born in Canada and is of Turkish descent, but opted to play for his adopted country of Romania, which he has already represented at U16 and U17 level. National coach Mirel Radoi picked him for the senior squad for this week’s games with Iceland and Liechtenstein, and after he played in the latter he broke the previous all-time record held by Cristian Manea, who was 16 years and 9 months old when he debuted for Romania, and was just ten days older than Martin Odegaard was in 2015 when he made his debut for Norway aged 15 years and 254 days.