Real Madrid’s policy on young talent is now full flow, and is no longer a secret to be noticed by the few. Castilla is a huge part of that ethos, with youngsters Achraf Hakimi and Luca Zidane earning a first team spot in the past week alone. Aleix Febas and Fede Valverde have been sent out for their next developmental step towards the first team as well.
So, where does that leave Castilla? Like every year, Castilla have to build an almost brand new side. This summer they have brought in quite a few new players, both from other clubs and from the academy. However, the squad does look, on the whole, weaker than it was last time out. When I look at the squad now, it looks like an unfinished jigsaw puzzle. Castilla don’t seem to be out for any new players, so I’m very intrigued to see how certain players will be used. The summer fixtures sent out very mixed messages, but still gave fans a reason to be positive.
Castilla were to host Rayo Majadahonda for the first challenge of 2017/18, in an all new group (1).
Five new faces made the starting line up, with two returning from loan last season. Luca, Luismi, Sánchez and Tejero were the four surviving players from 16/17. 22-year-old José León captained the team, whilst new signing Cristo González was this summer’s best player. Dani Gómez and Óscar Rodríguez spent pre-season with the first team.
Castilla XI: Zidane, Tejero, Javi Sánchez, León, Quezada, Fidalgo, Molina, Rodríguez, Mancebo, González & Gómez #RealMadridCastilla pic.twitter.com/odIk8sSusU— RM Castilla Stats (@CastillaStats) August 19, 2017
Unfortunately, any optimism I allowed myself in the summer managed to disappear very quickly. The pace was slow, and six minutes in, Javier Sánchez’s mistake allowed Majadahonda to rifle a shot into the top corner for the opener. The half really dragged on from here. Few chances were created, and the most memorable moments came from the feet of Arturo Molina, who was not afraid to take players on. The break couldn’t come soon enough, and the whites went into the dressing room 1-0 down.
The players returned with a spring in their step. After surviving a scare, they attacked in waves, and it wasn’t long before they had the ball in the back of the net. Tejero released Molina, who found goal machine Dani Gómez. He finished off an easy move, and put Castilla into the driving seat.
I wouldn’t describe the events that followed as exciting, exactly, but Madrid certainly pressured Rayo in search of a winner. It looked as if the game was swinging Castilla’s way, when Rayo won a free-kick in crossing territory. The ball was played into the box, and after a bit of a scramble it somehow found its way into Luca Zidane’s net via a bizarre deflection. Campuzano, Jaume and Segura were all brought on to try and salvage something, but Castilla were unable to muster anything up. The game ended in a 2-1 defeat.
Dani Gomez scores Castilla's first goal of the season. Nice work from Arturo in the build-up. He's been swapping flanks and creating danger pic.twitter.com/svv73RmJ7O— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) August 19, 2017
Man of the match went to Arturo Molina on his very first appearance for the club. He looks a very bright talent. Overall however, it looks like business as usual for Solari’s men. They looked pretty lifeless for the majority of the game, and this is the first fixture of the season.
The signs aren’t so positive. It is early in the season, so for now I am going to reserve my judgement, but Castilla will want to make sure they don’t drop too many points if they want to try and achieve anything this season. Castilla travel to Coruxo FC next, in a showdown that will reveal a lot more about the current group of youngsters. Be sure to catch it right here on ManagingMadrid.com!