Real Madrid haven’t been messing around in the transfer market. The current list of signings stands at seven, with former RC Deportivo La Coruña attacker Athenea del Castillo joining Méline Gérard (GK), Lucía Rodríguez (FB), Rocío Gálvez (CB), Claudia Zornoza (CM), Esther González (ST), and Nahikari García (ST) on the official roster as of yesterday.
And Madrid might not be done. The possibility to nab Caroline Møller Hansen from Inter (and possibly Yui Hasegawa from Milan) remains alive and it is reported that Las Blancas are still in the hunt for a defensive midfielder (previous target Kheira Hamraoui now resides in France) and center-back.
Regardless if the window ends with seven signings or ten, it seems pretty hard to hone in on which player should excite us the most. Lucía is a press-resistant fullback with unusually refined qualities in possession; Zornoza is a veteran deep-lying playmaker that is sure to please footballing purists; and both Esther and Nahikari can score goals galore.
However, as great as they all are, I wager that Athenea del Castillo will get you off your seat more than anyone else in the squad (well, besides Marta Cardona). At 5’3” (1.6 m) and 20-years-old, she has the perfect blend of youth and stature common in elite dribblers. Her low center of gravity and agility allows her to change direction with ease, which she leverages with her ball control, inventiveness, and acceleration.
Fans who are still bemoaning the departure of Sofia Jakobsson — fret no longer. Athenea still has some ways to go before becoming international class, but she has all the tools to get to that level sooner rather than later.