This was going to be a different game for Castilla. The list of injuries was still pretty long, and Luca Zidane, Vinícius Júnior and Cristo González were on duty with the first team for the trip to Las Palmas. Castilla saw off Las Palmas B with ease during the opening day of the season, winning 2-0 against an unimpressive side. With the news that Javier Belman would be getting a start, alongside the returning Javier Sánchez, Castilla were the clear favourites for the three points on paper. The exciting news didn’t end there, either. Juvenil A star man Rodrigo Rodrigues was called in to start, and make his Castilla debut as the team had no other forwards left to play. Ayoub Abou would also get some much needed game time! The rest of the line-up can be seen below.
From the first minute, to the last - this game had 0-0 written all over it. In all honesty, Las Palmas probably edged the game as well. As time went on, the Castilla players looked like their boots were getting heavier. Javier Belman made a string of fantastic saves, and Javier Sánchez looked better than ever after spending the last couple of months with the first team. The game ended 0-0, and it won’t be lasting long in the memory that’s for sure.
The game gave fans plenty of reasons to be concerned, but it wasn’t all bad! Some of the positives from the game include:
With the addition of Belman and Sánchez alongside the other defenders, no matter what Las Palmas threw at Madrid, it never seemed like they’d score. The defence looked as solid as it used to again, and if these two vital team leaders return to the line-up on a regular basis, you get the feeling that Castilla will be a hard team to beat.
Javier Belman and Luca Zidane
Watching Javier Belman play for the first time this season, when in reality he’s been fit and ready for a while now, makes you do some thinking. Javier would not have played if Luca Zidane hadn’t been called up to the first team. Whilst Luca of course deserves credit for drastically improving his game over the course of this season - it should not be forgotten that he remains the third best keeper Castilla currently have. As it stands, Luca is going to stand in the way of yet another two very talented goalkeepers development phases, whilst he continues to get all of the handouts with no repercussions. This is Real Madrid, a club where improving to become Segunda División B standard is not the required level. Zidane has played 18 games this season now, more than enough for a keeper of his calibre. It’s time, especially after today’s performance, to give the number 1 shirt back to it’s rightful owner for the rest of the season. Moha Ramos also deserves a few more opportunities. Won’t happen though, for either of Zidane’s superiors.
Ayoub Abou & Dani Fernández
We’ve barely seen Ayoub all season, after he suffered an injury early on. The one game he did play didn’t earn much praise. Today however he looked pretty good. If he can continue to play and improve upon this performance, then he could have the effect of a winter signing for Castilla! Dani Fernández was another one who doesn’t play so much, but should be handed a few more minutes. He was really sharp today from right-back.
Of course, we have to cover the bad with the good... Castilla should be winning these games, and although individually many of the players looked good today, as a team I can’t remember them creating anything offensively whatsoever. Of course, the two main strikers were unavailable, but there was still plenty of firepower on the pitch. Rodrigo did pretty well on the ball, and he is definitely a player that I want to see more of before the season is done. Javier Belman took the man of the match awards for his efforts. If Castilla want to remain in a handsome league position, they will have to start switching in on in the next few weeks. Next week brings the second mini-Madrid derby of the season. If that won’t motivate the players to spice it up, then I don’t know what will...