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Montreal Impact deals teenage midfielder Ballou Tabla to FC Barcelona

Montreal Impact midfielder Ballou Tabla, right, collides with Toronto FC defender Chris Mavinga during second half of the first leg of the Canadian Championship soccer final action, in Montreal on Wednesday, June 21, 2017.
Montreal Impact midfielder Ballou Tabla, right, collides with Toronto FC defender Chris Mavinga during second half of the first leg of the Canadian Championship soccer final action, in Montreal on Wednesday, June 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

The Montreal Impact has transferred teenage midfielder Ballou Tabla to FC Barcelona for an undisclosed fee.

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“This first transfer is an important moment in the history and evolution of our club,” said Montreal Impact president Joey Saputo.

“We take a lot of pride in seeing a young player, developed in our Academy, climb the ladder all the way to the first team and realize his dream to play in Europe with a big club like Barcelona.”

Tabla, 18, played in 21 games (11 starts) for the Impact last season, picking up two goals and two assists over 1,146 minutes played.

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He became the youngest Impact player to take part in an MLS game when he took the field in San Jose on March 4, just before his 18th birthday.

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Tabla joined the Montreal Impact academy in August 2012, before leaving in December 2013.

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He then rejoined the Impact’s under-18 squad in April 2015 and played with FC Montreal (USL) in 2016.

Tabla, who was born in the Ivory Coast, joined the first team on Oct. 20, 2016.

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He played for Canada at age-group levels, but has yet to decide if he will play senior international soccer for Canada or the Ivory Coast.

Reports in Europe said Tabla will likely start with Barcelona’s B squad.

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READ MORE: Patrice Bernier and one last goal for the Montreal Impact

Impact technical director Adam Braz said this week the club is proud, rather than disappointed, to see one of its biggest prospects move to a top European club.

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