Over the last 10 years, Real Madrid’s youth academy has become more and more important for the long term success of the first team. As a response to sky rocketing wages and bloated transfer fees, the club has found itself looking within its own ranks for new players.
Currently, Real Madrid is inundated with youth academy graduates and yet, the teams that has consistently produced these future stars receive little to no coverage, I’m hoping to help change that. Over the coming season, I will be writing a monthly roundup article on Juvenil A and Juvenil B, letting you know how both team’s seasons are getting on and what players are impressing.
In this debut edition, I will look at how both teams finished last season, what has changed over the summer and what to expect for the upcoming season. Let’s get into it.
Dani Poyatos enters his third season as Juvenil A manager perhaps feeling a little bruised that he wasn’t considered more seriously for the Castilla job.
Though the Spaniard has failed to add any silverware to the trophy cabinet, he has maintained the team’s competitive streak following the departure of the treble winning 2016/17 side. Juvenil A finished runners up to Atletico Madrid in Group Five of the Division de Honor last season and qualified for the Copa de Campeones and Copa del Rey by being among the best second placed teams across the seven groups. They were knocked out by Sevilla in the first round of the Copa de Campeones but managed an impressive run to the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, beating Barcelona along the way before losing to eventual winners, Villarreal. In the UEFA Youth League, Madrid were knocked out by Hoffeinheim in the quarter finals.
As is the case every summer for youth teams, there are alot of new faces among the Juvenil A ranks as many of the top performers from last season have been promoted to Castilla. Miguel Gutiérrez is the only remaining member of the backline to have played last season. Several defenders have been promoted from Juvenil B including the highly rated Sergio Santos, who impressed from a number of positions across defence and midfield last year.
The club have also bought defender, Pablo Ramón from Mallorca, and a goalkeeper, Juanpe from Atlético Pinto, to fill in the blanks. The changes continue in midfield as only Mohamed Aiman (Moha) and Álvaro Martín remain from the previous season. Once more, the openings in the squad have largely been filled by promoted youngsters, notably Theo Zidane among those to graduate from Juvenil B. A trio of promoted forwards complete the squad.
Juvenil A have played in three preseason competitions so far, the Torneo Basilea, the Torneo Zagreb and the Memorial Maolo Arnoya, which they won. They have also played one stand alone friendly against Atletico Albacete which finished scoreless. They kick off the new season next weekend against Burgos-Under 19 team and will be expected, at the least, to challenge for the title and qualify for the Copa del Rey.
As one of the 32 teams to have a senior team reach the Champions League, Juvenil A’s Youth League group is exactly the same as the senior side and will be confident of qualifying for the knockouts.
Juvenil B finished last season as Liga Nacional champions once more, thanks to the joint efforts of Alvaro Benito and Raul Gonzalez. The team nearly finished unbeaten until a 2-1 defeat away to Getafe B on the second last matchday meaning Raul’s kids had to settle for an 11 point winning margin instead.
¡El Juvenil B es CAMPEÓN de Liga!— Cantera Real Madrid (@lafabricacrm) April 4, 2019
El conjunto dirigido por @RaulGonzalez ha sumado hasta la fecha 72 puntos y lleva 23 victorias y tres empates. Además, es el máximo goleador de su grupo con 93 tantos y sólo ha encajado 16.#LaFabrica | #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/8VHKfasCJL
Once again, its been a summer of change at the youth team, starting with the manager as Raul who has been promoted to Castilla coach. In his place, the club has promoted Manu Fernandez from Juvenil C. The promotion is richly deserved after Fernandez oversaw a record breaking campaign with Juvenil C, winning their division with 80 points, 124 goals scored and just 25 conceded.
Similarly spectacular performances will be expected of the Spaniard at Juvenil B with the youth side looking for their 11th Liga Nacional title in a row this campaign. As already mentioned, much of Raul’s league winning team has been promoted for the upcoming campaign. Álvaro Carilla and Rafael Martin (Rafa) are the only defenders to remain from last season, everyone else has followed Fernandez from Juvenil C.
A stacked midfield features some more familiar faces alongside six new arrivals, all from Juvenil C (Adrián Esteban, Mario Jimenez, Miguel Romera, “Fer” Fernado Rodriguez, Pau Russo, Jesus Martin and Oscar Aranda) , they will play behind a newly promoted front three. Juvenil B also took part in a preseason tournament in the summer, the Torneo de Brianza in Italy, losing in the final. Unlike Juvenil A, they have played alot more stand alone friendlies this summer, winning three and drawing one.
Juvenil B’s league campaign starts their season on the 14th or 15th September away to Getafe B. Despite all the changes, they are still likely to be a force to be reckoned with this season and, unless checked by Atletico Madrid B, comfortable title favourites.
That wraps up this Juvenil roundup, I’m open to suggestions on how to improve this segment over the coming season so please let me know what you think.