We have reached the half-way point of pre-season, and things are starting to shape up for Real Madrid Castilla. Plenty of unfamiliar faces have taken to the field over the four pre-season games, with others being called up by the first team and finding glory with their youth international sides. This is part two out of a three part series, and we will be looking at the summer results so far, the latest in-comings and outgoings, and taking a first step at evaluating Raúl as a coach. We will also establish the remaining objectives and changes that Castilla need to achieve by the end of the summer as the deadline drawers ever near. Let’s start by taking a look at the new gaffer and his early progress...
The Coaching Staff
There isn’t really much you can take from four pre-season games, in which the squad of players involved is made up of academy players that will not be part of your season roster. For Raúl though - there is one big positive that can be taken away from the early fixtures. The way that Castilla have played during each game has been impressive to say the least. Pressing has been heavily implemented from the side. Perhaps this could be a method to fully utilise pre-season, but it could also be a coaching inquiry to test the waters. On the ball Castilla have also been very intense, playing some high quality possession and at times dominating teams that are on paper a stronger outfit. One goal against Pontevedra in the second game was the end product of a 28-pass move. I can say with confidence that this is one of the best pre-season campaigns for Castilla in memory for an organisational standpoint. Only a few players are left needing to find moves, and even fewer need to be brought in. If the final half of the summer can be as productive as this, then Castilla could go flying into the season fully prepared.
I have remained muted regarding Raúl this summer as it isn’t possible to get excited over the appointment of a coach that nobody knows anything about, regardless of his status within the club. Half-way through the summer, however - I am delighted to report that it looks like we don’t have another Solari on our hands. Far from it in-fact. I will still withhold any final statements until the sample size increases significantly. There is still a lot to do, and decisions to keep certain players that are ready to fly the nest such as Fidalgo would make me question intentions and understanding of the process. We will see.
The New Arrivals
It has been confirmed that Mario Gila, Miguel Baeza and Marvin Park will more than likely stay within the squad for the season after spaces opened up for them. Fernando Guerrero however will most likely play in the academy for the coming season, rather than for Castilla despite featuring in pre-season. Elsewhere there has been only one other confirmed recruit so far: Víctor Chust. A small summary for him is available down below.
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.
OFFICIAL: European Champion at the start of the week, promotion at the end of it. Highly rated centre-back Víctor Chust has been promoted to Castilla from Juvenil A. The 19 year old is a championship winning Spanish youth international. Welcome, @ChustVictor! #RealMadridCastilla pic.twitter.com/eC3xQtdkoi— Real Madrid Castilla Stats (@CastillaStats) August 2, 2019
This list is a tad longer, and is nearing completion. A few unexpected moves have sprung up out of nowhere, but a few lingering transfers have also been finalised after a long wait.
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.
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.
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. Mink Peeters was finally confirmed as a Čukarički FK player during August. Carlos Cobo joined Cádiz to play with the B team. Álvaro Bravo looks like he may stay with Castilla, although the space isn’t really there yet. Lin Liangming was on trial with a Portuguese third division club which would be highly disappointing for a player of his calibre. It is still all quiet for Lusimi Quezada, Alejandro Sotillos, Echu, and a couple of others.and quite a few more. The progress has been speedy but this is probably still something that requires the most attention from the club.
Quiero dar las gracias a toda la gente tan fantastica del Real Madrid por el lindo tiempo que he tenido con el mejor y mas grande club del mundo. Estoy orgulloso de haber jugado en esa camiseta y tengo la esperanza de volver algun día. @realmadrid @lafabricacrm @CastillaStats— Mink Peeters (@mink_98) August 6, 2019
Castilla have played out four of the eight games so far this summer. Up until the fourth, the squad was very mixed and provided almost no insight. The first game against Gimnástica Segoviana finished with a 2-1 for Raúl’s side. Academy players Latasa and the impressive Pablo scored for Castilla in that game. The second game at Valdebebas against second division side Mirandés ended with a narrow 2-1 defeat. Another academy player, Dotor scored for Castilla this time. Castilla were back to winning ways against a dodgy Pontevedra side days later, securing a 2-0 victory thanks to Jordi and finally a Castilla player - Gila! And finally the fourth game brought upon another defeat against second division side Lugo. Jaume Grau and his new teammates handed Castilla a 2-0 loss. Each and every game has shown signs of promise however.
The Remaining Fixtures
Castilla have eight fixtures to play out during the summer. The squad will be compressed and fined out more and more after each game.
- Wednesday 24/7: Gimnástica Segoviana 1-2 Castilla: Latasa and Pablo.
- Saturday 27/7: Castilla 1-2 Mirandés: Dotor.
- Thursday 1/8: Pontevedra 0-2 Castilla: Jordi and Gila.
- Saturday 3/8: Lugo 2-0 Castilla.
- Wednesday 7/8: Alcorcón - The only home fixture of the summer against LaLiga123 side Alcorcón.
- Saturday 10/8: Tenerife - Dani Gómez could play against his old side.
- Wednesday 14/8: Cultural y Deportiva Leonesa - The squad should basically be complete by this point, and we could see a line-up close to the real thing.
- Sunday 18/8: Burgos - A fitting last friendly before the season kicks off.
If we were going by my judgement from part one, then Castilla would still have three players they needed to offload. This would be Javier Belman, Álvaro Fidalgo and Francisco Feuillassier. However, after some careful consideration I think it would now be best for Franchu to remain with the team and recover fully from his injury in peace. That leaves two players that should be looking to depart. After the departure of Moha Ramos, it also seems unlikely that Javier Belman will leave. This is also not too important, as Belman would surely start and as long as he is performing at a high standard, he can still crack on this season. It would be better if he did leave, but it isn’t the end of the world if he doesn’t. Álvaro Fidalgo really has to go though. There have been rumours that Raúl wants to keep him around, which would raise the first question mark around his management style. Fidalgo leaving has to happen for two reasons. One: for himself. He did so well last season and is now at a stage where he can fly the nest and play regularly for a side in at least one division higher. And two: it creates space for the newcomers. Two Juvenil A midfielders may be promoted, and if Bravo is to stay then Fidalgo must leave to ensure that everyone can get sufficient game time.
Moha will surely be promoted from the under-19s, but I am unsure why it is taking so long to do so when Chust has been confirmed. Antonio Blanco is another player that should be promoted to Castilla. Apart from that Castilla should be looking to bring in an understudy keeper, and reserve forward and perhaps a left-back. These three moves coupled with the promotions of the two players mentioned, and the departures of the three developed players would cap off an excellent summer. Part three of this summer series will be released at the end of pre-season. If you missed part one, then you can catch up here. From now on the squads will contain mostly Castilla players, and we can get a really good chance to have a look at what the team is capable of ahead of the new season. It will also be very exciting to witness Takefusa Kubo’s first involvements for the team over the next few weeks. Is there anything you would like to see Castilla do over the summer?