10 Teenagers to Watch in La Liga This Season

Craig Davies@@cjdavies5Contributor IIIJuly 25, 2012

10 Teenagers to Watch in La Liga This Season

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    La Liga undoubtedly has a plethora of talent throughout its ranks, with a host of teams seeking out the next big thing.

    Many of the established stars within the league are household names worldwide, with the ongoing success of the league being mirrored by a stampeding national side.

    However, what of the underlings that lie within the ranks of Spanish clubs? And just how much do we know about them?

    This is a mix of youths waiting to explode onto the scene, some who are first teamers and others who are already so established that the world’s crème de la crème crave their signature.

    So, sit back browse the following few pages, and as always don’t hesitate to provide any feedback or alterations you would make.

Gerard Deulofeu: Barcelona

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    Here is yet another product of the highly acclaimed Barcelona academy. Like so many who have gone before him, Deulofeu seems destined for a long and successful career

    That is despite many possibly not hearing of the 18-year-old until very recently, when talk of a move away from the Catalan giants was speculated.

    Whether that materializes remains to be seen, but after making his debut last term, Deulofeu will be keen to make his mark at the Nou Camp.

    New boss Tito Vilanova is said to still be undecided on the player who finished last term top scorer in Barca's B team, before heading out to play an integral part in Spain's second consecutive European Under-19 Championship success.

    Deulofeu, though, is highly thought of by many in Catalonia, and should he stay, he will be further bled into the team and could well make a big impact.

Jese Rodriguez: Real Madrid

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    When you are compared with Cristiano Ronaldo as an upcoming young footballer it can't be easy, but that is what is facing Jese Rodriguez.

    The 19-year-old Real Madrid and Spain winger is very highly thought of within the corridors of the Bernabeu, and will certainly not be bullied amid recent interest.

    It was indeed Ronaldo who he replaced to make his La Liga debut earlier this year after previously replacing the Portuguese superstar in the Copa Del Rey.

    Rodriguez has represented his country at every level from under-16 to under-19, winning the European Championship with the latter this year and ending the tournament top scorer.

    It was from this that interest was born around Europe, but amid reports Tottenham Hotspur are heading the queue, his club have shown faith and place a £30m price on his head.

Ruben Pardo: Real Sociedad

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    After being bled into the Real Sociedad side and La Liga last season, Ruben Pardo could be set to step it up and play a much more prominent role this time round.

    The centre midfielder wasn't exactly given an easy debut, coming on in the dying minutes of a loss against Real Madrid.

    His 15 appearances last term returned a solitary goal, whilst he has also represented Spain in the Under-17,18 and 19 sides.

    The latter of those he helped to European Championships successes last season.

    Can Pardo step up the appearances next season, following in the footsteps of some of the illustrious names who have come before him?

Jose Campana: Sevilla

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    Here is another man who has represented Spain on a number of levels and has enjoyed success in the senior set up.

    Jose Campana has donned the national shirt on every level from Under-16 through to Under-19, where he enjoyed European Championship success with the latter in both 2011 and 2012.

    A central midfielder, he made his debut last season in both the Europa League and La Liga within a matter of days.

    With a number of first team appearances under his belt as result, expect Sevilla to up his input this time around.

Alvaro Morata: Real Madrid

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    This could be a make or break season for the young striker at the Bernabeu, who was once on the books of their fierce rivals.

    Alvaro Morata played for both Atletico Madrid and Getafe before eventually making his way to Los Merengues.

    However, he hasn't yet managed to make a huge impact in the senior side, with appearances sparse. So, at 19 years of age, how much longer will he given to make the step up?

    The credentials are certainly there as a youngster though; Morata has represented Spain Under-17, 18 and 19, winning the European Championships last year with the latter.

Alvaro Vadillo: Real Betis

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    The cream of European soccer is a much craved thing, and Alvaro Vadillo is certainly no different.

    Manchester United are one of a number of clubs rumoured to be interested in the winger, with rumours suggesting he was learning English during an injury period adding to the speculation.

    Vadillo is the second youngest player to ever appear in La Liga, doing so before he turned 17 years old.

    Despite not yet making double figures of appearances and having only represented the Spain Under-17 side thus far, Vaillo could just go from strength to strength this season if he is given game time.

Juanmi: Malaga

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    One of the more established stars on the list, Juanmi is busy making a huge impression at Malaga and in La Liga.

    At just 19 years old, Juanmi is already braking records and has captained his country's youth side, but could the club's new found wealth and craving for big names hamper his progression?

    After making his debut two years ago in the Copa Del Rey, his goals in that loss made him the clubs youngest ever scorer.

    In the national set up, he has progressed nicely from Under-17 though to the Under-19, where he won the European Championships in both 2011 and 2012, captaining the side in the latter of those triumphs.

Paco Alcacer: Valencia

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    Optimism is certainly high in the corridors of the Mestalla surrounding 18-year-old striker Paco Alcacer.

    So much so that they had to move to reject advances from Barcelona last year, with news outlets suggesting that the Catalonians were seeking to activate a reported clause in his contract.

    After making his debut for the club in a preseason friendly, however, he had to go through the horrific personal tragedy of his father passing away.

    Alcacer made his La Liga debut in January this year, and is yet another youngster who has been heavily involved with the national set up at the youth level.

    His two trophies, like so many of his compatriots on this list, are the 2011 and 2012 European Championships.

Raphael Varane: Real Madrid

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    It has certainly been quite the year for Raphael Varane, who sealed a switch to Real Madrid prior to the 2011-12 season, building on his progression to the France Under-21 side earlier that year.

    The young centre-back was highly thought of at old club Lens, but after relegation from Ligue 1, he made the choice to leave.

    Upon his departure, president Gervais Matel told ESPN: 

    "Even if we had stayed in Ligue 1, Raphael Varane would have left Lens as he is a phenomenon." 

    "He'll play for Real Madrid under Jose Mourinho's guidance. He has already met him, as well as meeting Zinedine Zidane.

    "Raphael is an exceptional boy. I'm proud that he'll be wearing the Real colours.

    "They have been following him for the last two months and we let him visit the club. He said he couldn't turn down the opportunity.

    "The decision is not about money. I have to think about his career plans.

    "He will be joining a club with a great sporting project. I'm sure he will find his way at the club."

    In his debut season in Madrid, he didn't quite manage to crack the double figure appearance mark, but his arrival put to bed talks of Real Madrid needing a new defender.

Iker Muniain: Athletic Bilbao

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    The crown jewel when it comes to teens in La Liga, Iker Muniain has seen his stock rise significantly in the past year.

    A number of important performances in both La Liga and the Europa League displayed Muniain to a much wider audience, with his performance in the final of latter proving the desire he possesses.

    At just 19 years of age, Muniain has made a huge number of appearances, and has been widely linked with a move to many clubs right across Europe.

    Nationally, he has represented Spain from Under-16 right through to the senior side, and you can catch him this summer when he represents his country at the London Olympics.