Real Madrid Castilla’s pre-season has now finished, and the season is set to kick-off on Sunday against newly promoted Las Rozas. In this third and final summer round-up, we will be looking at all of the transfers in and out of the team, evaluating the pre-season results, looking at how Raúl performed and is shaping up, looking at what is still left to do, and finally making a bold season prediction for the team. Read on and enjoy!
There will be one historic change to the team this season! Traditionally there has never been any set squad numbers for Castilla, with starting players wearing jersey numbers 1-11, and substitutes sporting 12-16/18. This season that will change for the first time. Players will now have set squad numbers for the entire season. This doesn’t really effect much, so I have no real opinion on the switch. However, if it allows players to have their own names on the back in the golden club text UEFA Youth League Style, I think that would be pretty cool. No numbers have been published yet, but we will of course find out everybody’s new number in the team by the first league game on Sunday.
After featuring in pre-season for the team, Takefusa Kubo joined La Liga side Mallorca on loan for the season, meaning that he is no longer going to be involved with Castilla. Good luck to him!
Diego Altube will also act as the new first team third goalkeeper. The club are staying in the direction of avoiding a first time reserve keeper, and are opting to use a youngster to fill the gap if needed. Diego Altube is going to be that man this season. Of course, this brings immense opportunity as he is now two injuries away from starting for Real Madrid. However, if that does not happen then he may miss a large chunk of the season sitting in the stands. We will see how it works out...
The New Arrivals
For the next two sections, I’ll be joining the lists from the first two summer round-ups, along with any new changes together. Do note that the window is not yet done, and that I’m sure more business will happen - both coming in and out.
Diego Altube (Juvenil A) - Diego made an abundance of first team squad’s last season directly from the under-19’s, so it is no surprise to see him promoted to Castilla.
Guillem Rodríguez Martínez (Horta) - 21 year old Guillem had a really good year at right-back with Horta in the fourth division. This led to Real Madrid’s interest and his eventual signing. Will more than likely be a back up feature for the coming season.
Javier Hernández (Juvenil A/Oviedo) - A player loaned out to Oviedo B last term but ended up being a starter for the first team. Javier has surprised everyone, including Zidane who has called him up to the first team’s pre-season tour. Expect Hernández to claim a starting spot this season.
Mario Gila (Juvenil A) - This talented young centre-back has signed the Castilla forms, and really impressed during the summer. He even played well in a holding midfielder role during one game!
Víctor Chust (Juvenil A) - Víctor was away with the Spain under-19s squad. He won the European Championship this summer, and his promotion to Castilla was confirmed after his return. The centre-back position is stacked ahead of this season, but this talented player will surely find a place.
Antonio Blanco (Juvenil A) - The Juvenil A captain is one of the best players in the entire academy, and after winning the under-19s European Championship with Spain he is a welcome addition to the Castilla squad!
Miguel Baeza (Juvenil A) - Another talent promoted from the under-19s. Miguel has been perhaps the star performer during pre-season, and has pushed himself towards the top of the pecking order.
Marvin Park (Juvenil A) - One of my favourite academy players from last year. The exciting winger is a supreme ball carrier with an eye for goal. However, if Rodrygo were to hang around then he would be the fourth choice winger.
Rodrygo Goes (Santos)* - Rodrygo may well leave on loan within the next few weeks, but an injury he recently picked up and is making things complicated. In reality he should be loaned out to a better standard, but he could follow in the footsteps of Vinícius if nothing else materialises.
Rodrigo Rodrigues (Juvenil A) - One of the under-19s star performers last season. The Brazilian will have the chance to play in plenty of games, and if he can capitalise on this opportunity then expect a breakout year.
Pedro Ruiz (Juvenil A) - Another very highly rated academy player. Pedro has already played a handful of games for Castilla, and has looked ready to make the step up for some time.
Luca Zidane (Racing Santander, LaLiga123) - The remains of the banter era finally come to a conclusion. Luca may have a hard time getting minutes ahead of club captain and trusty fan favourite Iván Crespo, but that is not our problem anymore.
Moha Ramos (Birmingham City, The Championship) - This one was a surprise, but perhaps it shouldn’t have been. After playing just one game last season, the Ramos camp were understandably not going to settle for anything close to that this time out. Birmingham came calling, although they do have multiple keepers on board already. How this one pans out is anybodies guess.
Dani Fernández (Fuenlabrada, La Liga123) - Dani returned to the club he was loaned out to during the 17/18 season. It’s a move that makes sense. He can be a starter in the league above and make his way up from there.
Javier Sánchez (Real Valladolid, La Liga) - Castilla captain Sánchez ended up getting the move he deserved, climbing to La Liga after an excellent season.
Gorka Zabarte (Osasuna, La Liga*) - Gorka was shafted to make way for some incoming Juvenil A players. Osasuna provided the perfect getaway destination. He will represent the B team in Segunda B primarily.
Álex Martín (Leganés, La Liga*) - So far so good for Álex. He looks to have a space in the Leganés first team, which was an unthinkable move a few weeks ago. Whether or not he can keep that space and not drop down to the B team is another question. I’d love to see him have a run in La Liga.
Jaume Grau (Osasuna, La Liga) - Jaume was sold to Osasuna before immediately being loaned out to LaLiga123 side Lugo. He now has a clear path to the top level, and it is all in his hands.
Jaime Seoane (Huesca, La Liga123) - 2017/18 player of the season Seoane has finally sealed his move. After impressing for the first team during pre-season, joined recently relegated La Liga side Huesca. Better late than never.
Augusto Galván (CD Leonesa, Segunda B) - Another shock departure. Augusto was supposed to have a starting role in this seasons Castilla side, but he was forced to make way for two potential reasons. The first being the clubs attempts to dodge the European passport restrictions regarding Kubo, Rodrygo and Rodrigo. The second to perhaps allow a potential opening for Alberto Soro or someone else to come in. He could still have a progressive starting year in Segunda B with this move.
Jorge De Frutos (Real Valladolid, La Liga) - One of Castilla’s best players last season will now play in La Liga. I’m very excited to see how Jorge gets on.
Alberto (Fuenlabrada, La Liga123) - Alberto had quite a successful first season last year, but is still recovering from a nasty injury picked up towards the end. This moves comes as a surprise, but he has the potential to do well in the second division.
Cristo González (Udinese, Serie A) - Castilla’s star player is now plying his trade in a top league, but not for a club that many would expect. Madrid hold a buy-back and a high sell on clause in case he is to do well.
Dani Gómez (Tenerife, LaLiga123) - The right move after a mixed time with Castilla. The very talented Gómez could easily make the second division his own next season.
Sergio Díaz (Cerro Porteño, Primera División) - It was always unlikely that Sergio was going to return to Castilla, but it would have been necessary for a young player who needs to start from scratch. In the end he returned home, which was probably the only better option for him. I really hope it works out for him.
This clan of players makes up the loanees and players that could not make the squad in previous years, but are still contracted and need moves. The list below consists of the players that have found moves and their destinations. Below that is a small summary of the players still stuck in limbo searching for exits:
Pablo Margallo - Leganés B
Mink Peeters - Čukarički FK
Carlos Cobo - Cádiz B
Echu - Granada B
Luismi Quezada should be at the top of the priority list to find a decent move away. Lin Liangming has been on trial with Portuguese third division club Gondomar SC but nothing has materialised yet. Alejandro Sotillos will continue to recover from an injury picked up last season out on loan at Valdebebas, so he may be one of the last to be sorted out. There are still a few unnamed players on this list that need to find a move as well. Álvaro Bravo was on this list, but it appears that he may have impressed Raúl during pre-season - and may form a part of this season’s Castilla squad!
Castilla played out eight fixtures, winning three and losing five. The results were as follows:
- Gimnástica Segoviana 1-2 Castilla: (Latasa and Pablo).
- Castilla 1-2 Mirandés: (Dotor).
- Pontevedra 0-2 Castilla: (Jordi and Gila)
- Lugo 2-0 Castilla.
- Castilla 3-0 Alcorcón: (Rodrygo, Baeza and Pedro).
- Tenerife 3-2 Castilla: (Pedro and Pablo).
- Cultural y Deportiva Leonesa 3-0 Castilla.
- Burgos 3-2 Castilla: (Gila and Baeza).
Despite winning less than half of the games, positives were shown in every single game. The worst performance was probably the Leonesa game, whilst the best was against second division side Alcorcón. The scorers can be seen above, with four players scoring twice to become joint top scorers of the summer.
Full time: Leonesa 3-0 Castilla!— Real Madrid Castilla Stats (@CastillaStats) August 14, 2019
One of those games where the result doesn’t reflect on the performance. Javier Belman & Takefusa Kubo looked excellent, but everyone had a fair amount of involvement. Leonesa will be one of the group’s strongest teams this year! Last up: Burgos!
Again, not all of the results were fantastic on paper - but the performances on the whole were very promising. The players look very sharp and cohesive, and nobody is lacking the appropriate fitness levels to get going early. I was really impressed with how early Raúl began organising his side during an always busy period for a B team manager. That did however slow down towards the middle part of pre-season, and he is left with quite a bit to do with only four days left. Still, he has been no slower than many other managers in this position. The decision to keep hold of Fidalgo and deny him a deserved move to a better standard at the perfect time is a questionable one for a coach in charge of development. However his ultimately failed efforts to keep Takefusa Kubo grounded and not tossed into the unknown by the tornado of hype following him around have been admirable, although it was unclear if they were for the right reasons. On the pitch there have been fantastic moments, and the work rate via pressing and pure commitment have been impressive. At their poorest they have looked very stale at times against opposition from the same division, especially defensively - which could be a cause for concern. I will reserve my judgement on his capabilities until the season starts for real. On the whole, this summer has still been up there with some of he best I have seen in recent years, and Castilla should feel fully prepared to compete throughout the season.
The squad is 90% complete now. The rumour mill has suggested that Raúl has been searching for a more experienced striker to help with the first timers, but so far nothing has been concrete there. The immediate future of very talented midfielder Moha from Juvenil A has to be distinguished in the next few days. In reality he should be playing for Castilla. Elsewhere it looks like Castilla will refrain from bringing in a new keeper, despite Moha leaving and Altube’s first team opportunities. A new left-back is also off the cards as one of the five centre-backs will be used if required like last season. Javier Hernández was tested there during a friendly. The winger situation could get tricky if the big names are to leave on loan, but the impressive Jordi is on standby to provide a quick-fix if needed. Going out, Álvaro Fidalgo still really has to leave now for his next progression, although it looks like he will not. Not a good move by Raúl if so. Javier Belman will have to stay, meaning that no one else needs to leave. The immediate future of Rodrygo Goes is still up in the air. If all of this can be sorted in the next four days then Castilla will be ready to hit the ground running.
Some of the star performers of the summer included the really exciting Miguel Baeza, young academy player Pablo (whom I would love to get an early promotion), Marvin Park yet again - and Mario Gila. There were no poor performers, although Javier Hernández did look shaky at times. I’m sure after impressing at Oviedo last season that it is just a blip. By Sunday evening we will know the final submitted squad, the new squad numbers, and hopefully just how good this team can be. The summer has made me reasonably optimistic about the new season. This squad is stronger than that of last year’s. However, the class of 2019 overachieved beyond belief and went from predicted relegation fighters to promotion contenders. This year I am going to set the aims higher. I think a play-off place should be the minimal objective, and depending on who stays and goes in the next few days - perhaps more. Of course, anything can happen over the course of a season. Disaster can strike, or like last year - you can create your own luck and achieve something incredible. The first opponents Las Rozas are a newly promoted side, providing the perfect opportunity for a strong opening performance. Join me on Sunday through the @ManagingMadrid Twitter account to follow all of the action! Are you excited for the new season? Which new player do you have the highest hopes for? Give me your thoughts down below!
Prediction: 4th place (at least) and a play-off run!