Real Madrid Castilla have been back training ahead of the 2017/18 season for just over a week now. This is always a very manic time for the team, who will start with a huge list of players. The majority of players returning will be from the prior seasons squad, whom are joined by hopeful players from the academy. New signings for the season ahead will also report to training. The clan is completed with a handful of players returning from loans to other clubs. It is the job of the man in charge to decide who will stay to form a part of the squad for the coming season, and who will need to find a new home for the year. As you can expect, this can take a very long time!
It can to so long, that by the time the pre-season friendlies begin, the squad is still in tatters. Today, Castilla played host to La Liga side Leganés, and the named squad was predictably very mixed. The starting line-up consisted of recently promoted under-19’s goalkeeper Javier Belman 2015/16 star performer Dani Fernández returned at right-back after a year away. The same can be said for starting centre back pair José León and Jaime Sánchez. Abner familiarly slotted in at left back.
But the midfield was all changed! Jaume and Álvaro Fidalgo operated behind Toni Segura. Lin Liangming and new signing Adrián Mancebo provided width, and Víctor Campuzano started up top. The notable name on the bench was newly signed Brazilian, Augusto Galván.
Here are the teams for Castilla's first pre-season friendly of 2017/18 v. Leganés. Mancebo starts. Augusto on the bench. pic.twitter.com/Ra1DaLbVAd— Alex Kirkland (@alexkirkland) July 26, 2017
It’s safe to say this game was never going to be spectacular, but it could serve as a good opportunity to have a look at certain individuals. For the players, it was a very good test, and a much needed fitness exercise. In the first half Castilla never looked out of their depth, and looked like they were going to hold their opponents, if not for Miguel Guerrero. He headed in a tasty cross past Belman to give the visitors the edge.
The second half was all change. Galván came on for the first time, accompanied by talented academy players Moha Ramos and Martin Calderón! Raúl de Tomás and Borja Sánchez came on for their own personal benefit.
The second 45 was all too similar — a decent but dull performance. The biggest takeaways being Solari’s wacky tactics, deploying Liangming at right back, and the first look at Galván. Leganés doubled their lead as Kone beat Moha to a cross and finished easily. The game finished 2-0, but was still a fine start to the summer. Man of the match went to Lin Liangming who was strong wherever he played for the full 90 minutes.
something finally happened! Not sure what prompted Moha to come out beyond Kone the way he did. pic.twitter.com/1voqu2EdDf— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) July 26, 2017
There is never too much relevance to any pre-season match, but the notes I did jot down include:
The guy has to go. I can tell you now, Castilla will not achieve anything near promotion with Solari at the helm, and more players will suffer because of it. At a time where Real Madrid are fully investing in youth, they don’t want to take a step backwards. It’s been genuinely saddening to see so many players have their Real Madrid dreams crushed because of one man. My prediction (and prayer): Santiago Solari will not last 15 games.
My man of the match, and currently the only right winger by trade registered with the side. He will definitely be seeing more opportunities come his way. A good summer could push him on for a really big season.
I won’t lie to you, on the whole, Augusto’s debut was pretty poor. Very little went right for him, and he didn’t impose himself on the game massively. That being said, there were a couple flashes of brilliance which restored my confidence in Madrid’s decision to pursue him for so long. In the past day or so, I have seen a couple of rumours suggesting that Galván may be demoted to the under-19’s, which would be a terrible idea. I can see that he is Castilla standard now, and playing in the academy for a year would do very little for him.
A player I personally rate very highly. He was so good during the 15/16 season, and was a tad hard-done by when he was sent out on loan last season. But now he’s back and depending on the movements of Achraf, he could even have a starting place. It will be interesting to follow him this summer!
Castilla have four more summer fixtures to play, with the next one currently scheduled against Gimnástica Segoviana CF. Hopefully the squad will be a little more sorted out by then, and we can get a better look at the new team for 2017/18!