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Jese's Potential for Greatness

Real Madrid may already have 'Ronaldo's replacement' within their ranks

Denis Doyle/Getty Images

It's not the all-white kits. It's not the big-name signings. In fact, it's nothing on the surface. If there's anything a true fan loves to see on the pitch, it's passion, enthusiasm, and commitment. It's these intangibles that are commonly associated with youth products as a category, and why Madrid fans want players like Jese to be a success in the Bernabeu.

The feelings for most Real Madrid youth products are mostly the same, it goes something like: first I will shine among the raw talent; then I will get called up to work with the first team; next I will make brief cameos in somewhat meaningless games. Not out of the norm so far. This is where it takes it turn though: I will be loaned out to gain experience; I may (keyword-may) return and may not make the impression I would have liked; finally I am either sold for profit, benched, or loaned out again. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Many can see what Jese can bring to the table with his Ronaldo-esque traits. However, with the club always opting for the undroppable B-B-C, and constantly linked with 'Galactico' names like Eden Hazard, Marco Reus, and more as reinforcements, one can't help but feel that additional attack-oriented signings will pose more barriers for Jese and fellow youth-players in an already-difficult system to succeed in. With EPL giants keeping tabs on the 23-year-old, he may consider contemplating his future if he seriously intends on becoming one of the game's elite.

The truth is that it's quite easy to overlook Jese with the likes of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, and Cristiano Ronaldo available, not to mention Isco and James when the team is fully fit. Understandably, he must play the role as back up to these names. But should his potential to be a club and international great be diminished because he is on the low end of the pecking order? In continuation, it's this Real Madrid 'grooming' process that highlights Barcelona's efficiency in establishing a philosophy and continuity between their senior and youth teams. Though the first part of the process is nearly identical, Madrid takes a different route in polishing their players which in many ways hampers the purpose of a youth academy.

Now it's very important that fans comprehend that future stars coming from the youth system do not grow on trees. They are sprinkled far and few between the midst of different eras and generations. With that said, blindly calling for youth integration is not always valid. Jese is one of those diamonds in the rough though.

Truly bursting onto the scene during Carlo Ancelotti's first season in charge, the young Spaniard showed that he can cope with the pressure, demands, and expectations at Real Madrid. Armed with deadly speed, as well as close control that is extremely useful in tight places, Jese is one to keep your eye on. He also has a nose for goal and relishes the opportunity to run at opponents. Though it should be noted that his finishing could improve, the potential for greatness is there as Spain can lack directness in their play. In essence, this is what Jese embodies - a straight-forward and explosive playing style.

On the bright side, Jese can learn tons from speed demons Bale and Ronaldo who are reaching the top of their game. But because the young prospect finds regular game-time hard to come by, he may realize that the lack of first-team action and opportunities could cost him in the long run. A move away from the Spanish capitol would make sense if Jese wants to take his ability up a notch. Similar to many technically gifted players, he would shine in England. In addition, if Spain plans on using Jese's assets, he must be playing regularly to be match sharp.

Talented with both feet, versatile on the pitch, and showing exceptional ability at such a young age, Jese should be taken more seriously. Personally, I do not want to see him leave, and despise rumors linking him away with Manchester United and Liverpool being possible suitors. On the other hand, I also understand that Jese is a professional and must take the proper steps in order to progress in his career. Except I am not proposing that the B-B-C be dropped, as it is vital to how Madrid's style of play. But I do think that it is important that Zidane makes Jese feel important and valued for a bigger picture. Once Real Madrid has moved on from Ronaldo, there shouldn't be any calls for a Hazard, Reus, or anyone else for that matter as his replacement. This is because Jese can slot right into the void and finally prove to Real and the world what he is capable of, bringing the concept of 'Zidanes and Pavones' to life.

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