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Mega Cantera Round-up

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How are Real Madrid stars of tomorrow progressing this season

Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Youth League Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

Scrolling through my social media, I figure that my last Juvenil update was sometime in October. Since then alot has changed, Real Madrid’s in all age groups have enjoyed a roller-coaster of changing fortune, players have been shuffled and new players have established themselves. Most importantly, Managing Madrid now has a committed podcast segment to the going ons of Castilla and the rest of the cantera (head over to Patreon for that!).

Regardless, I am going to take this week (in which alot has happened) to give the cantera outside of Castilla some coverage it hasn’t gotten all season so get comfortable.

Juvenil A

Story of the season so far: The under-19s enjoyed a great start to their league campaign with 13 wins in their opening 14 matches. They lost their first match of the season away to Union Adarve and dropped further points in a 2-2 draw at home to Real Valladolid. That left them second in the table to Atletico Madrid from the end of December until last Wednesday when a stoppage time goal from Pablo Rodriguez gave Juvenil victory over Burgos and a three point lead over Atletico Madrid at the top of the table. They maintained that lead with a win over Atletico Pinto over the weekend.

In Europe, Dani Poyatos team were put in the same group as the senior team. Opening wins against Paris Saint-Germain, Brugge and Galatasary set Los Blancos on the right track however things got sticky following a home defeat to Galatasary. Coupled with a 4-0 victory for Brugge against PSG, it left Real Madrid second in the group and needing wins in their final two games to automatically qualify. Initially it looked like they were going to fall at the first hurdle, going 3-1 down to PSG at home. However, a red card against the visitors and a stunning Pedro Ruiz brace gave Madrid the win they needed and a draw against Brugge in the last game meant they finished top.

The team:

Juvenil A starting XI according to minutes played
Made with Flourish

Some notable changes have taken place since the start of the season, Ismael Armenteros has broken into the team over Miguel Blaquez and Javier Arribas as Juvenil’s A starting centre back. The young defender is a sure contender for surprise of the season given how vital he has become for the under-19s in such a short space of time.

In midfield Esteban Aparicico has gone from supersub to starter, largely for his versatility and goal scoring. He has nine so far, making him the team’s second highest goalscorer behind Sergio Arribas. Up front, Alvaro Martin and Sergio Arribas have largely led the line. Pablo Rodriguez remains the U-19 starting striker according to minutes, however, his gradual promotion to Castilla means that he hasn’t played that much for Juvenil A (825 minutes so far). His minutes have been spilt between Juvenil A’s two other strikers, Juan Latasa and Christian Vassilakis (Vassi).

Player of the season: Sergio Arribas has been utterly unstoppable so far this campaign. The winger has started all but one of Juvenil A’s games so far and has scored 12 goals so far as well as a number of assists (I have three recorded).

Juvenil A goalscorers in all competitions

Its more than just production with Arribas however, he is clearly playing at a level above everyone else this campaign and should undoubtedly be Raul’s Castilla squad next summer. Israel Salazar remains the standout talent within the cantera setup, but Sergio Arribas joins a list of promising talents currently trailing the Juvenil C forward in the prospect list.

One to watch: Ivan Morante was a quiet purchase for Real Madrid in January and his start to life with Real Madrid has been quiet as well. The 19-year-old was a champion with Villarreal at this age group last season and there are elements to his game already that set him above the. Morante is a very deep sitting midfielder, often dropping as far back as the outside of the box to collect the ball, he’s an excellent transitional option as he’s armed with great technical ablity and a passing range that would have you believe he can see the pitch from the air.

After a rather straightforward debut against Rayo Majahonda, Morante was really put to the test against Burgos last week and he passed with flying colours providing the cross for the first goal and operating well in a double pivot with Xavier Sintes. Its early days still but given continued starts, I can see Morante becoming an established prospect at Real Madrid quite quickly.

What next: Victory over Atletico Pinto means Juvenil A remain top of the pile in group 5 for another week, they play Extremadura (second last) away this weekend. The date to really circle in your calender is March 4th when Dani Poyatos side head to Turin to face Juventus in the UEFA Youth League, a competition this squad should be looking to seriously challenge for this season.

Juvenil B

Story of the season: Juvenil B came under new management in the summer following the promotion of Raul. Manu Fernandez navigated a difficult opener against Getafe to lead Juvenil B to eight wins in their first 10 matches. In week 11, they hosted Atletico Madrid and lost 2-1, leaving them four points adrift of the early leaders.

Since then, they haven’t dropped a single point owing to an all-star attack and a watertight defence with 12 clean sheets in 20 games. Having retaken top of the group a few weeks ago, Juvenil B opened up a four point gap at the top last weekend with a derby win away to Atletico Madrid.

Team:

Juvenil B starting XI

Manu Fernandez has remained pretty consistent with his team selection. The midfield has been a tight battle amongst a talented pool, however Fer, Romera and Ballesteros have all established themselves in the team. Peter Gonzalez would probably be considered the fourth midfielder in this system, starting the Madrid derby last weekend. Oscar Arranda started this season switching between the U-19 and the U-18. That switching between teams has stopped since New Year and the winger has been able to establish himself at Juvenil B, enjoying a fruitful season. Up front Andri Gudijohnsen leads the line with 12 goals so far.

Player of the season: This is difficult as there have been a number of outstanding performers, however, I have enjoyed Lucas Cañizares contribution to the team. Nine clean sheets speak for themselves and although Lucas owes some the credit to the defence in front of him, his influence can’t be ruled out especially considering his understudy (Rome) has enjoyed a good season of his own and still trails Cañizares by six clean sheets.

One to watch: This month has seen Pau Russo, a 17-year old winger, break into Juvenil B squad. His performance against Aletico Madrid last weekend, where he scored the opener, was standout and he is certainly starting to look like a name to remember.

What next: On paper, Juvenil B’s hardest games are behind them. They have played Atletico Madrid twice and Getafe twice and have emerged with a four point lead atop their division. They have no other competition to worry about and realistically should win the title again from this position, however, stranger things have happened and one need only look at Atletico to see how stable a four point lead is.

Around the Valdebebas

Israel Salazar remains the main attraction within the cantera, his goalscoring exploits have helped Juvenil C take a commanding 14 point lead at the top of their league. I have started watching Juvenil C as of two weeks ago and will hopefully more to say about them and their star attraction come season end.

Elswhere, Infantil B (U-13) won the Dubai Intercontinental Cup, beating Inter Milan on penalties after a 3-3 draw. Real Madrid finished runner up in the competetition’s predecessor last season. They are currently one point clear at the top of their youth division.

Cadete A (U-16) are also competing in a cup competition, reaching the semi-finals of Al Kass Cup. They won the competition last in 2017 and will play Mohammed VI Academy in the semi finals. Should they progress from that, they will play either Zenit or Aspire Academy in the final. Cadete A will the return to league action where they are leading the table.

In fact, only two teams (Alevín and Benjamin B) across 12 age groups aren’t currently leading their division. One can only hope it remains that way heading into the business end of the campaign.