Real Madrid: 5 Brightest Prospects in Castilla
Iker Casillas and Antonio Adan are currently the only two youth products on professional contracts with the Real Madrid first team who have never left the club. While Alvaro Arbeloa, Esteban Granero, and Jose Maria Callejon are also fantastic youth products, they left the club to gain experience and were bought back by the Madrid-based giants.
Creating players such as stars as Chelsea's Juan Manuel Mata and Valencia's Daniel Parejo and Roberto Soldado, the Real Madrid academy is a brilliant but sadly unused (to its full potential) by the owner club. Just in this past transfer window, Los Blancos have sold potiential-filled Juan Carlos Perez Lopez and Pablo Sarabia to Real Zaragoza and Getafe, respectively.
But while those two look to have successful careers elsewhere in Spain and perhaps one day return, there are a number of players currently in the third division Castilla squad who look very exciting.
In the past, eventual superstars Anzhi Makhachala, striker Samuel Eto'o, and Argentine defender Esteban Cambiasso played for the Spanish B-Team. Who are currently the brightest prospects in Castilla?
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Last season, the Spanish youngster made an impressive debut for Castilla on August 15th against Alcoron, scoring his first (and the match's only) goal for the reserves. He later debuted in the third division against Galicians Coruxo.
A mere four months later, Morata was already taking the field for the senior team against La Liga opposition Real Zaragoza. Although he didn't produce a goal, he had a fine chance that with a little fine-tuning and practice could have been a goal.
Ten days after his impressive debut, he was against called up by Jose Mourinho for the Copa del Rey Round of 16 match against Valencia-based Levante. Subbing on for Karim Benzema in the 77th minute, Morata's missed shot resulted in Madrid's eighth goal of the night by Pedro Leon.
After his performances for Real Madrid, he was chosen in the final squad for this summer's u-19 Euro. Despite picking up a slight head injury, which required him to wear a bandage while playing, he heavily assisted in Spain's triumph. His six goals in saw him land as the top-scorer in the competition.
Alex Fernandez: leaning directly behind the trophy
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Position: Central Midfielder
Age: 18 (15/10/92)
In the 2010 pre-season, the Spaniard was chosen, along with his brother Nacho and Alvaro Morata, by Jose Mourinho to travel to America with the first team. At the time, he was not even a full Castilla player—quite a big leap for a 17-year-old.
Unofficially debuting for the first team against Mexican Primera Division outift Club America, he came on for Cristiano Ronaldo in the dying minutes of the game.
With Morata, he played his first game for Castilla against Coruxo in August but had to wait much longer for his opportunity to play for the senior side. A little under a year later in March, Alex made his official La Liga debut in the 3-1 win against Racing Santander.
Also traveling to Romania to play in the u-19 Euros, Alex played a total of five games, including the all-important final, and impressed. Although being subbed off for Jose Campana ten minutes into the second half, the midfielder proved he can preform in big games through his two total shots. Throughout the whole competition, the young Castilla man hadn't taken a shot once until this game, taking double what he's ever taken.
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Age: 18 (26/02/93)
The youngest player on this list, Jose 'Jese' Rodriguez Ruiz was born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and moved to the Real Madrid academy from local club, AD Huracan, in 2007.
After completing a successful season with Juvenil A (u-19) that saw him net a total of 17 goals, the Spanish u-19 youth international was promoted to Castilla. His debut match for Castilla saw the reserve-side thrash eventual fifth-place side Univerisdad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria 5-0. The Junveil A top-scorer went on to feature five times for Castilla.
Traveling to Liechtenstein in the summer of 2010 with the Spain u-17s, he started five out of five matches for the finalists, which included the final against England.
With his club side, the Canary Island native toured the USA, Germany, England, and Chine with the first team. Against MLS giants, LA Galaxy, in a friendly, Jese repalced new purchase Jose Maria Callejon. Against Chivas and later Leichester City, he was subbed on within the last twenty minutes.
Against Philidephia Union and Tianjin Teda, the youngster started, only to be replaced early in the second half by Cristiano Ronaldo (whom he is often compared to due to playing style) and Ozil, respectively.
While in China, he was further proved his potiential when scoring against Chinese Super league outfit Guangzhou Evergrande within the first twenty seconds of coming on. A cross from Angel di Maria saw gave Jese the opportunity to show off his skill for finishing and he took it gladly.
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Age: 21 (27/03/90)
Born in Stuttgart, Germany, Jose Luis 'Joselu' Sanmartin Mato returned to Vigo in Galicia after attending school in Germany for four years. He began his career in the Celta Vigo youth set-up at the age of 12 and began appearing for the reserve side a mere two years later.
In 2008/09, Joselu managed to cap twice for the Celta senior side before choosing to continue his career in Madrid for Castilla. Immediately being loaned back to Celta, the young Spaniard netted four times in 24 appearances before returning to Madrid.
During this past Castilla season, Joselu's first, he managed to win joint top goalscorer of the squadaward with Alvaro Morata. His 14 goals saw third division Castilla go into the playoffs, only to lose out on a chance to make it to the second division.
During the last match of season against Almeria, the Castilla man was called up and made it to the bench. Coming on at a score of 7-1 for Karim Benzema with ten minutes left to go, Joselu was nothing short of spectacular. Cleanly meeting the end of Ronaldo cross, he saw the number of the scoreboard shift from seven to eight by his hand.
Traveling to the US with the first team, Joselu scored the second goal, which saw Real Madrid go up by 2-0 just before halftime against tricky opponent, LA Galaxy. He finished off the American tour by coming on the last twenty minutes of games against Philidephia Union and Chivas.
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Age: 21 (18/01/90)
Yes, this is the brother of Alex, despite the fact they look nothing alike. Born and raised in Madrid with his brother, Jose Ignacio 'Nacho' Fernandez Iglesias begin his career for Real Madrid at the age of 11. He played his first Castilla game in the 2008/09 season and has stayed with the squad since.
Making a total of 57 appearances in two season for the reserve side, he was finally and rightfully called up by Jose Mourinho for the first time. Starting at left-back against Valencia in April, he was not subbed out in the game that saw Madrid triumph over their Valencian opponents 6-3.
In the recent preseason, spectators saw much more of Nacho than during the season. The talented youngster, who can play across the defensive line, replaced Arbeloa against Chivas early in the second and saw to it that no goals were conceded. Against Philadelphia Union, he once again replaced Arbeloa but closer to the 70' minute mark.
Later against Leicester city, he came on within the last ten minutes to see the match out. Traveling to China, he saw minutes against Guangzhou Evergrande after replacing Benzema in the 64'.