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Talented striker Pablo Rodríguez joins Lecce

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A surprise move for the prospect...

Benfica v Real Madrid - UEFA Youth League Final Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Pablo Rodríguez, who only joined La Fabrica four years ago from his hometown side Las Palmas, was originally expected to enjoy another year with Castilla next season before surprise rumours of a potential loan deal began to spiral. What comes as even more of a head scratch, is that one of the academies biggest prospects has left the club to join Italian side Lecce on a permanent basis. The transfer fee paid for now remains undisclosed, as does any information on a potential buy-back clause or player retention rights - but even with a lucrative deal this move would remain bewildering.

The plan for 17 year old Pablo last year was to play beyond his age group with Juvenil A, but after seriously impressing for Castilla in pre-season, and with some of the other strikers suffering from injuries - he ended up playing for the reserve senior side on a full time basis. It is rare for younger players to be given such an opportunity, but for Raúl it paid off. Pablo scored his first senior goal in the very last minute to salvage a point against UD San Sebastián de los Reyes, with a really tidy finish. Despite his lack of contact time with the under-19s, he still occasionally featured and managed to consistently find the net for them. When COVID-19 hit, Castilla’s season was cancelled, and this allowed Pablo to join up fully with Juvenil A for their rescheduled UEFA Youth League campaign. His goal in the final against Benfica played a crucial part in the club’s first youth European triumph. Shortly after he was taken off due to injury, but that didn’t stop him celebrating the historic title later on...

Benfica v Real Madrid - UEFA Youth League Final
Pablo goes down injured in the final...
Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

If Lecce remained in Serie A, then a loan deal would perhaps have been somewhat understandable. However, they were relegated to Serie B during the summer, and whilst signing Pablo is a huge coup for them - for Real Madrid it doesn’t make very much sense. Castilla did however stockpile forwards this summer, meaning that two players would have to make way. The talented Rodrigo Rodrigues was the first departure, leaving for Segunda B side Talavera CF on loan. From there it didn’t look promising for Pablo. Hopefully he can impress in Italy, and this will not be the last we see of him in Madrid...