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The Complete Real Madrid Castilla 2018-19 End of Season Review

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Sam Sharpe scrutinises the entire Castilla squad, including both managers, before rating them based on their individual performances.

It’s been a roller-coaster ride of a 2018/19 season... They started off with Santiago Solari as manager, with the objective of avoiding any trouble with the relegation zone. This was an objective that two stronger squads failed to meet over the past two seasons, so this year was looking pretty bleak. Surprisingly, the team met that objective in good time, and ended the year with qualification for the promotion play-offs. So how did each player fare throughout the season? In this article I’ll be giving a rundown of all of the efforts from each player to have played for Castilla this season, both managers included, before giving them a season rating out of ten. It is important to remember that a player can play just two games in a season, and perform amazingly in both and receive a 10/10 rating, but that in no way means that they have had a better year than a player who has played every game and scored a 7/10. Each rating is personalised and based on the amount of matches played as well as their performances and statistics. I hope you all enjoy this one, and don’t be afraid to leave me some feedback in the comments and on social media! Lets do this:

The Managers!

Santiago Solari

Games: 10

Wins: 5

Draws: 4

Losses: 1

Goal Difference: +8 (16F/8A)

Santiago Solari deservedly accumulated a combined rating of 3.5 over the past two seasons (1 in the first, 2.5 in the second). This season alone, he has more than doubled those figures. He was excellent during his early stint with Castilla, and an unbeaten run of nine games catapulted Castilla into the play-off zones and set the precedent for the rest of the season. It wasn’t just the results that improved for Santiago – in-fact, those could be considered the more insignificant developments. Solari was finally starting to experiment with a system, and despite its simplicity it worked perfectly for this group of players. the support network that he offered vastly progressed and his attitude towards the players and other groups was far more constructive in comparison to his previous tendencies of going on a monstrous rampage before getting suspended. The players appeared to appreciate him more as well because of his new found demeanour. Of course, his spell wasn’t perfect. He had the most expensive third division player of all time on his side. A player who’s sheer presence inspired the team to play without fear in-front of an expanded audience. He bowed out fittingly with a poor loss against Fuenlabrada before astoundingly being handed the first team role on a caretaker basis, before being promoted full time. This tenure brought him some fortune, but it ultimately ended in embarrassment. He is by no means anywhere near a competent manager to this day, and fortunately his time coaching a Real Madrid side looks to be up. However, it cannot be denied that his stint with Castilla this season was easily the best period of his managerial career.

Castilla rating: 8/10.

Roberto Pardo

Manolo Díaz

Games: 30

Wins: 14

Draws: 7

Losses: 9

Goal Difference: +9 (49F/40A)

When Solari got promoted, Manolo Díaz was offered another crack at Castilla management after residing in an academy director role for some time. After his previous efforts turned sour, ending with Castilla getting relegated from LaLiga2 in 2014, I was understandably sceptical of the appointment. I’m delighted to report that the initial scepticism shown vanished very quickly. Solari gave the team a good head start, but Díaz was tasked with continuing the early form for a further 28 games, often without his star players as they received first team recognition. The differences in coaching styles and how they affected the team were clear to see. Whilst the consistently strong defence under Solari crumbled as a unit with the new management, Castilla looked like a different team in possession. Their link-up and combination play was one of the key factors that lead to them achieving the unthinkable over the course of the season. Out of possession Castilla were more organised as a team, which allowed them to flirt with multiple systems and field many players throughout the season. Most importantly, it was so relieving to have a proper manager back on the bench. Someone who knew what they were doing and was willing to learn and progress from previous mistakes, in turn providing the perfect platform for the players to do the same. Manolo did such a good job that I have no problem branding him the second-best coach to have managed Castilla within the past six years. In reality, Manolo Díaz is the best candidate for the job next season, and really should contemplate staying on. However, it appears that he is not considering the role, and that he will pass it on for somebody else to come in and take charge. Either way, Manolo Díaz did a superb job during his second stint with Castilla from start to finish.

Castilla rating: 8.5/10.

The Players!

Luca Zidane

Games: 30

Clean Sheets: 9

Man of the Match Awards: 3

Luca Zidane becomes another person to earn a higher score for this season than the rest of his career combined (4.5 in the first season, 2.5 in the second). During the previous two seasons, he was an abomination of a player and his enhanced opportunity afforded to him by his second name gave us copious opportunities to assess everything that was bad about him. This turned out to be pretty much everything that could be bad about a goalkeeper. This season was very different. He improved in every single aspect of his game. His distribution using his feet was always the strongest element of his game, but in previous seasons he was constantly conceding goals directly from passing it straight to opposition forwards. This season his passing range was far more refined, and he barely misplaced a pass no matter how complex it was to pull off. Elsewhere his reflexes sharpened, allowing him to begin making vital saves during some big games. This contributed to three man of the match awards, in which points would not have been won without his input. His handling, although still poor, has also developed tremendously, and he all of a sudden has become able to emerge through a crowd to pluck the ball out of the air during crosses and set pieces into the box. The most valuable improvement certainly came in the form of decision making. Due to his poor decision making, all of these goalkeeping ingredients were constantly poisoned in previous seasons, and he was as about as useful as a cabbage because of it. I could count all of his mistakes using one hand this season, which is a truly remarkable return for Luca. He also didn’t receive a single red card this season, and only picked up two yellows, which is again incredible when considering his past. It has to be said that his mistakes did come at the worst times, putting Castilla’s play-off ambitions during the regular season, and promotion hopes during the play-offs in jeopardy. I will stick a leg out and make a bold claim now. I think Luca Zidane has improved more than any other player ever whilst at Castilla. I really do. Now, it’s time to get real. He has improved from becoming one of the worst professional football players you will ever see, to becoming a decent third division option at best. Whilst it’s unbelievable that he has managed to jump from becoming a complete amateur to a professional standard player within the space of a year or so, taking both his unlimited opportunities and the talented players he has obstructed into account – his development just hasn’t been important at all. He remains Castilla’s second best goalkeeper by a large bracket, perhaps even third. Without his father’s influence he has no chance whatsoever of even being a ball boy at Real Madrid in the future. It is however disappointing to know that no matter how good any other young keeper is, Luca Zidane will get the next chance with the first team. And the next one. And every single other one after that. Just like every other season, Luca Zidane should not be at Castilla next year. It will be incredibly intriguing to see what happens with Luca this summer.

Castilla rating: 7.5/10.

Javier Belman

Games: 9

Clean Sheets: 3

Man of the Match Awards: 2

Whatever Luca Zidane can do, Javier Belman can do so much better. This year I think Javier was the biggest victim out of project nepotism, as he didn’t even make double figures in appearances throughout the course of the whole season. However, he still earned almost as many man of the match awards (two), and three clean sheets during those nine games. Whenever he played, he was always very strong, and he pretty much guarantees a certain level whenever he features. I personally think it is a disgrace that he was demoted for Luca Zidane and received so little opportunities this season. In spite of this, Javier is still ready to fly the nest this summer. Whilst Luca Zidane may make a good squad player at San Sebastián de los Reyes, Belman has the skillset to try his luck at the highest level. Unfortunately, something tells me that there’s more of a chance of those moves happening but the opposite way around.

Castilla rating: 8/10.

Moha Ramos

Games: 1

Clean Sheets: 1

Man of the Match Awards: 0

Moha Ramos is also a huge victim of the Luca Zidane situation. He played just one game for Castilla this season. For a player of his potential, that isn’t really acceptable. During that game, which was incidentally his Castilla debut, he did manage to keep a clean-sheet, and play pretty well. That took place early in the season, and apart from a few outings with the under-19s in the UEFA Youth League he got no closer to the pitch than the bench. Because of this, he receives no rating for this season. Next season, I think he should be Castilla’s starting goalkeeper, given that Belman leaves. We will see.

Castilla rating: N/A.

Dani Fernández

Games: 18

Goals: 0

Assists: 0

Man of the Match Awards: 1

Dani is the only surviving member of the historical 2015/16 team, a season in which he was magnificent and earned a strong 8 rating. Since then he has been placed out on loan twice, gaining valuable play-off experience last year with Fuenlabrada. This season he was back with Castilla, and ended up completing another strong year with the reserves. Whilst he didn’t reach the same heights that he was able to three seasons ago, he was still consistently impressive in a considerably weaker team. On the ball he visibly improved over the course of the season, catching a few eyes in the play-offs. He also managed to displace the highly rated Sergio López towards the end of the season with his performances, and he did look like a breath of fresh air down that right-hand side. After four seasons lurking around Castilla, it is definitely time to move on for Dani. He could easily play a fair few games in a higher league, and should look to emulate the success of numerous Castilla graduate fullbacks in the league above. Good luck to him.

Castilla rating: 7/10.

Sergio López

Games: 29

Goals: 0

Assists: 4

Man of the Match Awards: 2

This was Sergio’s first year in professional football, and he had a season to remember. He was the man of the match on the first day of the season after a splendid opening performance, and his early showings cemented his place as the sides starting right-back. His level did mellow out as the season went on, but he never even flirted with a standard below decent. He finished the season as the joint third assister from defence, recording four assists alongside a further two man of the match awards. He often featured for Juvenil A during the UEFA Youth League campaign, and notched another assist against Viktoria Plzeň in the group stage. With Dani Fernández likely leaving, I feel that Sergio should stay at Castilla and become the sole starter next season, although he does possess the ability to play at a higher standard as soon as possible.

Castilla rating: 7/10.

Javier Sánchez

Games: 26

Goals: 3

Assists: 2

Man of the Match Awards: 2

Javier Sánchez had perhaps a better individual season than anyone else on this list. Although, not all of it was with Castilla. He became the team’s captain this season, and his performances stepped up with the responsibility. During the unbeaten early run, he scored two goals and notched an assist in his first seven games. When Santiago Solari left Castilla, Javier was handed two months of constant first team involvement. In this time, he featured in La Liga, the Champions League and the Copa Del Rey, becoming accustomed to a superior standard. He even scored his first Real Madrid goal against Melilla in the cup. He earned a sizeable fan club over his compressed stint with the first team, and when he returned to Castilla he looked better than ever. This was important during a vital time as the defence had taken a hit since Manolo Díaz had returned. Sánchez contributed with another goal and an assist as Castilla made the play-offs late on in the season. During the play-offs, he performed brilliantly in the first leg against Cartagena, but a slight lapse towards the end allowed the visitors to bag an away goal, and Castilla were punished for that in the second game. Sánchez was still one of Castilla’s better players in that game, but a 2-0 score line didn’t reflect well on the team, sending them back to Segunda B next season. This is it for Javier. He has progressed profoundly this season. So much so that I think he should be eyeing up a La Liga move this summer. It has been great to see him come through the same system that so many top-level centre-backs have with Castilla, and he certainly won’t be the last talented defender to do so.

Castilla rating: 8.5/10.

What a season.

Manu Hernando

Games: 18

Goals: 1

Assists: 0

Man of the Match Awards: 1

Might Hernando be the next one? His second season with Castilla was every bit as good as his first, but he actually played less games this time around. Manu managed 18 games this season, scoring one goal – but he did miss a significant portion of the season due to an injury. We’ve seen this all before. A young centre-back comes into the system, spends his first season or two accustoming to the setting before having a breakout year and progressing through the leagues. I think Hernando should be a certified starter next season and given the platform to do just that.

Castilla rating: 7/10.

Gorka Zabarte

Games: 19

Goals: 0

Assists: 0

Man of the Match Awards: 0

Zabarte could be heading for a similar trajectory. He also made less than 20 games this season but had a few different types of involvement. He was often required to fill in at left-back due to Castilla only recruiting one during the summer. Wherever he played he did a pretty solid job, but not enough to raise any eyebrows. It could be tough to fight for a starting place for Zabarte next season, but he should definitely be staying with Castilla and featuring in more games.

Castilla rating: 6.5/10.

Álex Martín

Games: 18

Goals: 0

Assists: 0

Man of the Match Awards: 1

Another defender to play less games than they would have hoped. Martín however bettered his appearance tally from last year, and he also improved upon his rating too. His best performance came during the very last game of the season. He was maybe the only impressive player in the abysmal showing against Cartagena during the away leg of the play-offs. Despite getting kicked around all game, he managed to stop the early rot and keep Castilla in with a chance at winning the tie right until the end. I’m really unsure about what should happen with Álex Martín next season. He should probably stay with Castilla, but that may clog up the squad places for next season. Being one of the older players, perhaps two decent seasons could be enough to see him graduate and seek out a higher standard.

Castilla rating: 7/10.

Adrián De la Fuente

Games: 28

Goals: 1

Assists: 0

Man of the Match Awards: 0

De la Fuente played a lot more games in comparison to the previous three defenders. And for me he was the second-best centre-half behind captain Javier Sánchez. He was a very prominent figure in Solari’s seemingly unbeatable defence, and he continued to put in some stellar individual performances after the Argentinian departed. Whilst Adrián did make a first team squad this season, he was unable to make his Real Madrid debut against Melilla in the cup. You could argue that he was already a starter this season, but that starting spot simply has to have Adrián’s name on it next year. A great first season!

Castilla rating: 7.5/10.

Fran García

Games: 32

Goals: 0

Assists: 3

Man of the Match Awards: 1

If De la Fuente earns the title of second-best centre-back behind Javier Sánchez, then it’s only right that Fran García is given the title of second-best defender behind the captain. Castilla’s best full-back this season had a remarkable inaugural season on the left. Whilst he had a slower start to the season, allowing Sergio López to capture all the headlines – he eventually got going and overtook his Spanish counterpart. His dribbling and attacking prowess were vital for Castilla, and one assist against Valladolid B that he forged out all by himself in the dying seconds may just have saved Castilla’s season. His progress earned him a first team debut in the Copa Del Rey where he continued to impress, contributing with an assist for an Isco goal. He was also called in on numerous occasions to assist with the under-19s as they crashed out in the quarterfinals. A fabulous introduction to professional football for Fran, he could now either stay and look to build within the club, or leave and find consistent minutes at a higher standard.

Castilla rating: 8/10.

Jaume Grau

Games: 33

Goals: 0

Assists: 0

Man of the Match Awards: 0

The dependable anchor of Castilla for the past two seasons had his best campaign yet. In a team full of attack minded midfielders, Jaume brought balance to the play and was well utilised by both Solari and Díaz. He was always comfortable on the ball and created an safe option, whilst allowing teammates to play with more freedom in attack. We even got the chance to see him surge forwards on occasion this season, as he coasted past players with ease during rare advancements. He did make one first team squad this season, but did not come off the bench against Mellila in the cup. This will likely be the end of his time at Castilla, and I would like to see him go out and find the best move possible this summer!

Castilla rating: 7.5/10.

Jaime Seoane

Games: 39

Goals: 3

Assists: 4

Man of the Match Awards: 1

Last years player of the season really should have moved on during the summer of 2018, but was unable to do so. Instead, he completed another decent season at the heart of Castilla’s midfield. He immediately continued his scintillating form from the 2017/18 season, scoring one and assisting another within the first two games. He ended up accumulating three goals and four assists during the entire season, finishing in joint third in the assist chart. He was also called into one first team squad, but didn’t manage to get off of the bench against Valladolid in La Liga. However, one man of the match award all season highlights a slight benchmark reduction, and although he still had a satisfying season he was unable to live up to his performances from the previous year. A big positive is that he was excellent in the first play-off game against Cartagena, before being benched in the second leg in favour of the more defensive Jaume. It should have happened a year ago, but after three good years it is now beyond any doubt that Seoane should leave Castilla for pastures new this summer.

Castilla rating: 7.5/10.

Álvaro Fidalgo

Games: 40

Goals: 5

Assists: 4

Man of the Match Awards: 3

One of my favourite players this season, and one of the team’s best performers. He was tasked with linking the midfield with the attacking trio, playing in an advanced role in which he immediately excelled. A fluid ball carrier, Álvaro bagged five goals this season, whilst earning five assists and becoming the teams joint third assister. His consistency was rewarded as he played the most games out of any other player this season, featuring in all 40 fixtures – as well as the most minutes, racking up 3142 minutes overall. The cherry on the top of his cake came when he made his Real Madrid first team debut, looking as comfortable as ever in front of the Santiago Bernabéu crowd. He is now ready to graduate and take that next step towards top level football.

Castilla rating: 8.5/10.

Martín Calderón

Games: 27

Goals: 1

Assists: 3

Man of the Match Awards: 0

Although he made his Castilla debut in a previous season, this was Martín Calderón’s first full season as a Castilla player. Due to the efficient rotations of coach Manolo Díaz, Martín played 28 games during the season; a number that he would have been delighted to achieve beforehand. Whilst he had a muted start mostly through substitute cameos, he did end up leaving his mark on the season. His good performances towards the end of the regular season ensured that he featured in both play-off matches, and he was superb in the home leg. His late form should be enough to ensure that he becomes a starter for Castilla next season, and with Jaume Grau likely moving on, a lot of responsibility could be placed on this man’s shoulders.

Castilla rating: 6.5/10.

Ayoub Abou

Games: 15

Goals: 0

Assists: 0

Man of the Match Awards: 0

This was a weird signing. Mere weeks after signing with Getafe, Ayoub ditched the Madrid based side as the allure of Real Madrid was too strong. Despite the controversial efforts that the club went through to secure his signature, Ayoub barely featured this season. An injury mid-way through the year didn’t help, but whenever he did play he rarely impressed. With the likes of Barcelona, Porto and the high-flying Getafe on his CV, you wouldn’t be blamed for expecting a tad more from the midfielder. Still, he did show signs of promise during some games, and could well stay and fight for a starting spot next season. In order to do that, he will have to step up his game though.

Castilla rating: 6/10.

Augusto Galván

Games: 19

Goals: 0

Assists: 1

Man of the Match Awards: 1

Augusto was another midfielder to receive limited minutes this season, but he spent those minutes brimming with promise. The Brazilian likely should have been promoted to Castilla the season prior, and whenever he was on the field he often looked technically superior. He was asked to play in multiple attacking positions towards the seasons close as the team looked to adjust to injuries and a lack of Vinícius Júnior. He featured in the last game of the season in the play-offs against Cartagena, and despite coming off of the bench he looked like the team’s best attacking player. There were some kinks. Positionally, especially in alternative positions he looked weak, and he didn’t always impose himself on matches the way he would have liked. Away from Castilla, Augusto was called in to multiple Brazilian under-19 squads, and was even summoned to train with the senior team alongside the likes of Neymar and Coutinho during their trip to England. I want to see Augusto Galván starting in the attacking midfielder’s role next term. A really promising first season.

Castilla rating: 6.5/10.

Next season could be a big one for Augusto Galván.

César Gelabert

Games: 4

Goals: 0

Assists: 0

Man of the Match Awards: 0

César was injured for the majority of the season and couldn’t play at all. He did however return at an important time, and after readjusting with the under-19s he scraped in four games with Castilla. During those games he looked sharp enough to earn a decent season rating and considering the sheer amount of time that he spent on the side-lines he played like he had been out for weeks rather than months. If he can knuckle down this summer, then he will be as good as knew ahead of next season. When fully fit he is a seriously promising talent.

Castilla rating: 6/10.

Jorge De Frutos

Games: 37

Goals: 7

Assists: 12

Man of the Match Awards: 7

De Frutos was instrumental for Rayo Majadahonda last season as they achieved promotion to LaLiga2 via the play-offs, collecting nine goals and eight assists along the way. The temptation of Real Madrid proved too strong and he decided to decline a starting space in the league above to drop back down and join Castilla. I questioned this decision, as I did with Cristo González and many others who turned down a comfortable starting spot at a higher standard to move down to Segunda B. It’s safe to say that the performances and achievements of Jorge De Frutos amongst others this season have completely changed my mind. When he joined, De Frutos was going to have to directly compete with the established Francisco Feuillassier, the prestigious Vinícius Júnior and the talented Alberto. As you can expect it took him a while to really get a chance, but even in his early cameos you could see that he was going to be an important figure this season. When Vinícius ventured off with the first team and Franchu got injured, it was time for De Frutos to really show what he was all about. On the ball he is electric, speeding past players like they were never there. When some players were pondering on their holiday destinations this summer, Jorge was one of the only real attacking threats to stay focused. As an opposition team, if you stopped him, then you stopped Castilla. One of his best assets is what lies in between his ears. He is really switched when it comes to the decisions he makes on the pitch. So much so that it astounds me he never played for a bigger organisation than Majadahonda before now, even as a youth player. He knows when to drive towards the by-line and cross, when to cause defences havoc by coasting towards goal in awkward spaces – and he is a huge threat both as a creator and a goal scorer. This season he finished as the team’s third highest scorer with seven goals this season. More impressively, he was the team’s highest assister, producing twelve direct assists. His best game of the season came in one of the biggest. The play-off home leg against Cartagena. His dribbling left the visitors completely shell shocked, and he was able to unlock the defence time and time again. One of the main tactical implementations that Cartagena introduced for the away leg (besides assaulting everyone), was to make sure that the ball got no way near De Frutos out wide. Both methods worked, and Castilla crashed out of the play-offs on away goals. Jorge De Frutos was within touching distance of that player of the season title, and actually earned the most man of the match awards out of anyone this season, with seven. He has been previously linked with a move to La Liga thrivers Getafe, and it is definitely time for him to graduate after just one season with Castilla. He could easily find a La Liga move with his updated resume, and he could really surprise a few people next season. Sometimes you really do have to take a step backwards to take ten steps forwards.

Castilla rating: 9/10.

Francisco Feuillassier

Games: 13

Goals: 3

Assists: 2

Man of the Match Awards: 1

Franchu had a promising first season at Castilla last time out, and this was supposed to be the season that he pushed on and really made a name for himself. It initially looked like he was going to do that and carry on his late 2017/18 season form. He was one of the star performers in the early season run under Solari, scoring on the opening day and then again to claim all three points against Burgos. He reaffirmed his place as one of the best direct dribblers on the team, and was linking up well with both Vinícius Júnior and Cristo González. He was called into one first team squad for the cup game against Melilla, but unlike the season before he did not get onto the pitch. Then his season finished abruptly. He was ruled out for the remainder of the campaign with a cruciate ligament rupture in his knee and did not play again. It would have been interesting to see how he would have performed after the Vinícius Júnior honeymoon period closed, but his high rating is based on the time that he did play. In terms of the future, he has also been rumoured to be of interest to Getafe – but the fact he has barely played may make any potential suitors think twice before approaching him. Depending on how his summer recovery goes, he may have to stay with Castilla next season.

Castilla rating: 7.5/10.

Alberto

Games: 31

Goals: 3

Assists: 4

Man of the Match Awards: 4

Alberto started the season at the bottom of the pile, as three talented wingers waited ahead of him in line. When one left, and the other got injured – he found himself playing a lot more than expected. He made sure that those players were not missed very much with his showings. Alberto exudes talent, and although his numbers don’t necessarily back up his rating, he played an important part in Castilla’s season. He finished joint third in the assists table, and third in Castilla’s the man of the match chart. Due to the type of opponent Castilla faced in the play-offs, Alberto was left out for both games. He impressed the most this season for the under-19s though, where he racked up five goals, three assist and countless more man of the match awards in the UEFA Youth League. Next season I feel he should remain with Castilla and look to integrate into the professional setting even more. His chances at making it in a decent league will significantly increase if he can become more accustomed to the physicality of senior football.

Castilla rating: 7.5/10.

Cristo González

Games: 37

Goals: 21

Assists: 8

Man of the Match Awards: 6

The Real Madrid Castilla 2018/19 player of the season. The team’s top scorer with twenty-one goals, the second top assister with eight and the player with the second most man of the match awards, with six. Cristo González has had the season of his life. He showcased everything about his game over the year, scoring every type of goal you can think of. His link-up play was as strong as ever, and he combined well with whoever he was fielded alongside, launching him towards the top of that assist table. Unlike last season though, the goals continued in a constant stream which lasted until the very last game. Without them Castilla had no chance of achieving a play-off place. He scored his first senior hat-trick against San Sebastián de los Reyes, and could have secured more after bagging another three doubles. He came close to a perfect ten season, but there were games that he looked slightly disinterested in, and more than one important penalty missed. For that he will have to put up with a mere nine and a half. He looked amazing in the first play-off game, scoring and assisting one a piece – but the second game proved a challenge too great for him when his team needed him to stand up the most. This was also his introductory season with the first team, as he scored on his debut in the cup against Melilla, before going on to play three more times including in a La Liga game against Real Betis. He became a member of the exclusive 20+ goal club this season and is in good company. The last two players two achieve that number, Jesé Rodríguez and Mariano Díaz, went on to become Champions League winners within one year of graduating from Castilla. Cristo may find it difficult to follow in those exact footsteps, but a top level move next season is more than likely to occur for the Spaniard.

Castilla rating: 9.5/10.

Dani Gómez

Games: 28

Goals: 10

Assists: 3

Man of the Match Awards: 3

External problems have marred Dani Gómez’s Castilla career so far. Contractual issues meant that he was frozen out for the majority of last season by everyone but Guti – but before any of the problems arose, he looked the real deal. He signed a new contract in the summer, but his season was still slow to get going and he never really looked a favourite, especially under Santiago Solari. Manolo Díaz spent a lot of time trying to fit him in, and that decision gave Castilla a new lease of life! Nearly all of his minutes and statistics came after Solari left, and by the end of the season he looked back to his very best. He scored the goal of the season after producing a rocket shot which arrowed into the top corner against Celta Vigo B. His double in the first play-off game capped off one of his best performances in a Real Madrid shirt, but like many of the key Castilla key figures; he crumbled in the second leg. Unfortunately, it seems that his time at Castilla may have been a hindrance as opposed to constructive. He could well have been hitting double figures with full involvement last year, allowing him to replicate numbers closer to Cristo’s this season, potentially gaining some first team attention in the process. Instead, the club has wasted a lot of his time at an important developmental stage. if I was him, I’d be looking to move away next season. He’s certainly good enough to play at a better standard, and I don’t see how any more time in Segunda B would benefit him.

Castilla rating: 8.5/10.

The Exports/Others!

Vinícius Júnior

Games: 5

Goals: 4

Assists: 0

Man of the Match Awards: 1

This was a weird but fun time. Vinícius started a marvellous individual season with Castilla to become accustomed with his new surroundings in Madrid. He instantly attracted a lot of attention and brought an extensive amount of traffic towards Castilla games. This had a visible effect on his teammates and without even tying a shoelace, the team moderately improved with an added spring to their step. His debut against Las Palmas B was actually a borderline bad showing. He just didn’t get involved, and other than a skilful highlight he was unable to impose himself at all. His next four would be very different. In two of them, he was far better although he still conjured up nothing more than above average performances. In the other two, he was outstanding and won the team points all by himself. He got man of the match in the mini-Madrid derby against Atlético Madrid B, as he scored twice and gave their entire team nightmares even though they were persistently fouling him. He even got bitten in the head during that game in a bizarrely questionable attempt at stopping him. Against Unionistas a week later he ran the show, scoring a clever free-kick in a 3-0 romp. His last goal for Castilla came from another free-kick, and it earned Castilla a point against Celta Vigo B. He was then given a first team opportunity and never looked back after his excellent displays. There is of course a moral dilemma that comes with fielding such expensive players in an un-prosperous third tiered division like Segunda B, but I think the decision to start Vinícius off in Castilla was a good one. In-fact, I was a strong advocate of bringing him back for the play-offs as I think it would have strongly benefited all parties involved. That did not happen, though. I would like to see a similar process implemented with Rodrygo Goes next season.

Castilla rating: 7/10.

Just the latest in a long line of South Americans to have successfully used Castilla to bridge the gap over to Europe.

Rodrigo Rodrigues

Brazilian Rodrigo had a fantastic first season at the club with the under-19s. So much so that he was handed his Castilla debut from the start against Las Palmas B. He then made one more appearance against Pontevedra on the final day. Whilst he did not do enough to get a season rating, he has certainly done enough with Juvenil A to earn a place is Castilla’s squad next season, and I really want to see that happen.

Castilla rating: N/A.

Pedro Ruiz

Pedro did enough last year to earn a season rating. This year that was not the case, as he only played one game against Pontevedra in a 3-0 defeat. He again impressed for the under-19s this season and will surely be promoted to Castilla next season after being shunned last summer. No rating.

Castilla rating: N/A.

Miguel Baeza

Miguel Baeza made his Castilla debut in the worst game possible, starting against the impressive Pontevedra in the 3-0 defeat. He is very highly rated in the academy, so expect to see a lot more of him in the near future. No rating.

Castilla rating: N/A.

Diego Altube, Marvin Park and Saúl García were also called into Castilla match day squads this season, but all failed to make an appearance. No ratings.

Conclusion!

Some of the best surprises are unexpected. This crop of players were supposed to engage in a relegation battle. Instead, they spent every single week towards the top of the table, and achieve the unthinkable: the promotion play-offs. The team were the top scorers of group 1 with 62 goals. This was also the third best effort out of all 80 teams in Segunda División B. Whilst the league standard had admittedly dropped, every single player had an above average season, and the fact that they couldn’t achieve the impossible twice with promotion to LaLiga2 changes nothing about their season. It was a tremendous success. The class of 2018/19 will live long in the memory for defying all of the odds and achieving something historic. They are owed my thanks for transforming Castilla and finally instilling some interest into the team again after two very dry years. I am eager to see where all of the coming graduates will end up next season, and I’m already anticipating quite a few surprising moves. For Castilla, they will have to rebuild using Juvenil A and some other exciting external imports, and it seems like they will need to start the search for a new manager. If the rumours are to be believed, then they may have already found an infamous one. Thank you all for following myself and Castilla this season. I really hoped that you enjoyed it as much as I did. Be sure to keep up with all the busy goings on this summer by following my Twitter: @CastillaStats. Let’s hope that Castilla can go one better in 2019/20!

Castilla Season verdict: Success!