Some of you may have already heard about this player because he did something truly spectacular in the summer of 2013, a feat that gave him a special nickname and media attention from all around the world — but more about that later.

When Peña was 5 years old, he began playing for his local club, Alicante CF. His performances did not go unnoticed, which is usual for youth goalkeepers. Villarreal was the club that showed the most interest and in 2009, they captured a 10-year-old Peña for that club's youth system.

In 2012, during his third year, Iñaki had an almost perfect season at Villarreal. His team reached the final of the prestigious Arona tournament after he stopped two penalties in the semifinal shootout against Valencia. Villarreal lost to Atlético Madrid in the final, but Iñaki was voted best keeper of the tournament.

FC Barcelona could not stand watching a talent such as Iñaki play for another team, and got him last season for the Infantil A side coached by Denis Silva. That team won the Liga in Peña’s first season, with a nine-point gap over local derby rivals Espanyol.

Last season, Peña has been a part of the successful Cadet B side under Franc Artiga, which led its Liga regional group. In December, the team was undefeated (8-1-0), and conceded only four goals, fewest in the league.

Peña shares time between the posts with Lucas Manso to give them both playing time, which is normal at La Masia. Everyone knows which of the two is more talented. In a recent match, Peña again showed his world-class potential with another cracker of a match that included yet another penalty save.

He stands out for his uncanny ability at both saving and scoring penalties. He’s a complete player who offers safety and security in defense, aerial dominance, good ball handling, great agility and reflexes and is good with his feet.

The Octopus

As was mentioned at the beginning of this piece, Peña had one performance that made people from all over the world scratch their heads — a performance that left but one nickname to describe him; the Octopus. In the final of the VII Torneo Internacional Reino de León, Barça faced the same Atlético team that Peña’s Villarreal side failed to beat. The match went to penalties where Peña saved six out of the nine penalties he faced to give his team the title. Four of his saves came in sudden death (after the first five tries). Furthermore, he scored on Barça’s final and match-winning penalty kick, since he made his sixth save on the ensuing Atlético penalty to end the shootout to give Barça the title.

A Hollywood scriptwriter could not have written a better ending. The British newspaper Daily Mail wrote: “Flying to his left, flying to his right, saving them with his legs […] Can we get him an English passport?” Mundo Deportivo also wrote a piece about Peña, in which they assured everybody that not only could he stop penalties, but possessed many more goalkeeping attributes. On top all of that, he is a very mature and modest young man who also demonstrates leadership and captain-like qualities.

In case you thought that Peña was done impressing in penalty shootouts in finals, two months ago he repeated his extraordinary achievement in León, at the famous HTU Hallen indoor football tournament in Germany. This tournament featured an impressive list of teams that included Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Schalke and Arsenal. Barça’s Cadete B team was split into two smaller teams, the Blau and the Grana, with Peña selected for the Grana team that reached the final to face Dinamo Zagreb. In that match, Peña was the side’s hero in the final shootout after stopping all of Zagreb’s penalties before scoring the winner ... again.

National team and future

Iñaki's performances have not gone unnoticed at Spanish football headquarters either. Last year, he was called up for Spain’s U-16 team despite being a year younger than the rest of his teammates which shows the amount of talent Iñaki has to offer.

This year, Iñaki has been moved up to the Spain U-17s and right now he is with the team in Bulgaria for the U-17 European Championship. Despite only being second choice on the team, he is still the only player on the squad born in 1999 which is a great feat and it shows you how good he is.

Given the fact that Iñaki is 16 years old and already 180 cm tall, the sky's the limit for this kid.

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