Last week, Real Madrid won the prestigious UEFA Youth League for the first time. The competition, which mirrors the Champions League competition that the senior side know so well - had managed to evade Juvenil A’s capture despite all of the good work produced by the academy over the years. Current Castilla manager Raúl played a big part in the triumph, as he stepped up as an emergency manager to fill the void left by departing coach Dani Poyatos. This provided him with a great opportunity to observe and influence the capabilities a talent pool that he would be required to dive into in just weeks time for Castilla’s new season. The under-19’s breezed past the rescheduled competition, which was all held in-house in Swizterland.
Juvenil A bested the likes of Juventus (3-1), Inter Milan (3-0), Red Bull Salzburg (2-1), and Benfica in the final (3-2). Six Castilla players were involved, but the rest of the squad was directly from the under-19s or below. That’s why it comes as no surprise that only a week later, Raúl has promoted ten of that historic winning squad to Castilla ahead of next season. As mentioned on the latest CastillaCorner podcast, goalkeepers Toni Fuidias, Luis López - defenders Sergio Santos, Pablo Ramón and Miguel Gutiérrez - midfielders Iván Morante, Xavi Sintes, Carlos Dotor and Sergio Arribas - and forward Juan Latasa have all made the grade. There are still question marks over the selection of Latasa and the goalkeepers, who enter a stacked part of the squad which will need to be further addressed before the season starts.
OFFICIAL: Very highly regarded centre-back Pablo Ramón has been promoted to Castilla for next season. The 19 year old got a lot of people talking about his consistently excellent performances with Juvenil A. Welcome aboard, @PabloRamonP! #RealMadridCastilla pic.twitter.com/fDFKVwve7I— Real Madrid Castilla Stats (@CastillaStats) August 27, 2020
For the hugely rated Pablo Ramón and Miguel Gutiérrez this feels like a natural step in the right direction - and big things will be expected of them almost immediately. In reality all ten players are very exciting and have the potential to add a lot to Castilla, before graduating on to bigger things in the near future. I expect at least half of them to compete and win a starting spot within this first year. These players are coupled alongside the external additions of winger Kenneth Soler (Espanyol) and striker Hugo Duro (Getafe). Which player are you looking forward to seeing the most?