A good club youth set up is not defined merely by how many players make it into the club’s first team. You need to look further than that, and these days a lot of focus is placed on how many top level players a club can produce. Real Madrid should be pretty satisfied with the amount of players it has produced that have gone on to compete in and win some of the worlds best leagues. It has gotten to the point where every season at least one Castilla graduate will win a title somewhere on the planet. In this article we’ll be taking a look at the lucky winners of 2017/18, and how they are faring away from the spotlight of Madrid.
Kiko Casilla, Luca Zidane, Dani Carvajal, Achraf Hakimi, Nacho Fernández, Casemiro, Marcos Llorente, Lucas Vázquez & Borja Mayoral - Real Madrid
The Real Madrid first team currently possesses an excellent nine Castilla graduates, making up almost 40% of the squad! The last two Real Madrid managers also started their managerial careers with Castilla, which has helped to build a perfect bridge that has contributed so much to the club’s success in recent years. Despite having a shaky season performance wise, Los Blancos have continued to rack up trophy after trophy, picking up four honours during 2017/18. These nine players have added the Spanish Super-cup, the European Super-cup, the Club World Cup and another Champions League title to their names. Having eight quality home grown players in the squad highlights the outstanding progress that the youth set up initiates, and surely confirms the the academy's status as one of the best in the world.
Juanfran & Filipe Luís - Atlético Madrid
The noisy neighbours. Like it or not, Atlético have managed to sustain their place as one of the best teams in Spain, even finishing above Real Madrid in the league table this season. In Europe, although they have been unable to escape Real’s shadow, they have picked up a trophy of their own. They became Europa League champions, setting up a European Super-cup final against Real Madrid at the beginning of next season. It is easy to forget that both Jaunfran and Filipe Luís are products of Castilla, with talisman Saúl also representing the whites’ academy. Although we can be understandably bitter about anything Atlético may achieve, Real Madrid can be granted a sense of pride that two of their youth set-up’s graduates have gone on to become some of the best players in their position.
Raúl de Tomás - Rayo Vallecano
Another Madrid based team, another trophy. Rayo Vallecano confirmed their return to La Liga this year, winning the La Liga 2 title in the process. It wouldn’t have been possible without star man Raúl de Tomás, who’s 24 league goals saw him finish second place in the golden boot race. Raúl is currently still a Real Madrid player, and it is unclear what will happen with him this summer. After consistently scoring for two seasons in a row now, is he worth a shot in the first team? Whatever happens, La Liga is waiting for him.
There are a few ex Castilla players currently battling their way through the brutal Tercera play-offs for a spot in Segunda B next year. That process is still ongoing so nothing to report there yet.
Álvaro Morata & Marcos Alonso - Chelsea
Another two household name Castilla graduates. This year was actually pretty poor by Chelsea’s usual standards. They failed to crack the Premier League top four, denying them Champions League football next season. There was something to smile about though, as they beat Juan Mata’s Manchester United at Wembley to lift the FA Cup. However, the personal performance's of both players saw them omitted from Spain’s world cup squad.
Iker Casillas - FC Porto
San Iker’s late season form was vital in helping Porto end the title drought of four years. The icon had to fight to regain his place mid-season, but ended up winning the number one spot back for good, helping to earn him a new contract for his performances.
Omar Mascarell - Eintracht Frankfurt
Frankfurt admirably overcame their cup final heartbreak from last season, as a team including Jesus Vallejo fell to Dortmund, by returning to the final this year and slaying the biggest beast around. Bayern Munich were the clear favourites, but Eintracht delivered a huge blow to the head for the German Giants, claiming a 3-1 win to lift the trophy. Omar Mascarell actually spent a lot of this season out injured, but returned to play 90 minutes in the final. His progress has sparked rumours that he will return to Madrid this summer and spend pre-season with the first team. A name to keep an eye on in the coming weeks.
Christopher Schorch - KFC Uerdingen
Christopher’s story sadly is not one full of success during life after Castilla. After leaving Real Madrid, Schorch struggled to maintain a place at 1. FC Köln, and subsequently fell down the German league staircase. This season he managed to win the German 4th regional division, otherwise known as the Regionalliga West title with Uerdingen, granting him a crack at the third division next year.
Guillermo Varela - Peñarol
I was slightly disappointed when Varela chose to leave Manchester United after a satisfactory loan spell at Castilla, and return home to Uruguay with Peñarol. However, this season he has won a Uruguyuan Super-cup, and gained a place in Uruguay’s world cup squad. The main league season is still ongoing, and Peñarol currently find themselves sitting in second place of group B, one point behind leaders Atlético Torque. Guillermo could well find himself lifting some extra silverware before his season is up. If he keeps progressing, a switch back to Europe at some stage cannot be ruled out.
Pablo Felipe Teixeira - Atlético Paranaense
Pablo arrived at Castilla on loan in 2014, following in the footsteps countless others attempting to bridge the gap from South America to Europe. Unlike many others, for Pablo the move didn’t pay off. He played less than a handful of games before returning to Brazil. This season at Atlético Paranasense, he won a Campeonato Paranaense title, beating Abner’s Coritiba in the final.
I’ve been searching extensively for days, but I’m still certain that this list is incomplete and that I have overlooked Roberto Trashorras lifting the Mogolian premier league trophy or something such, but for now we’ll have to make do. If you can find anyone I may have missed make sure you let me know! Be sure to check out the hashtag #CastillaTrophies on Twitter to browse through past seasons and have a look at some of the pictures on show. At first glance, nine former Real Madrid Castilla players (Achraf, Guillermo Varela, Filipe Luís, Casemiro, Denis Cheryshev, Dani Carvajal, Nacho, Rodrigo & Lucas Vázquez) from five different nations now have the chance to lift the biggest prize of all next week...