Last season saw the meteoric rise of both Alvaro Morata and Jese Rodriguez, two of Real Madrid’s most gifted youth players in recent years. Now we take a look at the new crop of Castilla newbies looking to leave their mark at the Santiago Bernabeu this season.
Raul de Tomas – Striker
However easy it may be to run away with the idea of a new Raul at Real Madrid, De Tomas may be the closest Los Blancos have come to replacing their golden boy.
Like his namesake, De Tomas was born in the city of Madrid. He was signed by the club in 2004 and has appeared at almost every level with the academy. Although already a regular for the Castilla, the 19 year-old deserves a mention for his notable achievements, one of which, is the regularity with which he has represented his country at youth level.
A gifted goalscorer with good pace and a fine physique, De Tomas featured pre-season for the Real Madrid first team during their American tour, notably a friendly defeat to AS Roma. With Alvaro Morata out of the picture, he is sure to get his La Liga debut later in the campaign, with a chance of replicating his predecessors good form.
Enzo Fernandez – Central Midfielder
Perhaps the most easily recognised of Real Madrid’s youth players, Enzo Fernandez, who opted to take his mother’s second name, is the eldest son of Zinedine Zidane. Despite these attempts to shield the young Enzo from comparisons, it was always going to be the case that he’d be closely scrutinised.
After ten years in Madrid’s various youth academies, Enzo is now 19 years old and certainly old enough to be playing regularly for Castilla. Like his father, he plays in the midfield fulfilling a variety of roles. He also appears to have his father’s same close control that made him such a joy to watch, however, it’s very early to say how effective he will be.
With Jose Rodriguez loaned out to Deportivo La Coruna for the season, Enzo would fit perfectly into the Spaniard’s place in the Castilla. It’s vitally important that he is protected from any overly intrusive media attention and that he remains grounded, particularly as this is something Zizou is hoping to oversee himself. With his father able to monitor him more closely as the Castilla coach, their collaboration seems destined to happen.
Javier Munoz – Attacking Midfielder
A player who could very easily be overlooked when it comes to match analysis, Javier Munoz has everything at his disposal to become a fine player.
A local lad from the nearby municipality of Parla, Munoz joined Real Madrid’s Under-12 team in 2006 and has progressed through the various youth teams. He has been described as an unorthodox playmaker: one that can make the vital pass but will primarily seek to get himself into a position to score.
Although not the strongest and certainly not the tallest of players, Munoz has excellent stamina and will eat up the minutes even with a busy weekly schedule. Playing prodominantly as an offensive midfielder, Munoz can play a more withdrawn role as required.
He showcased his wonderfully diverse set of skills during the UEFA Youth League last season. Goals against Juventus and Napoli were personal highlights but couldn’t inspire his side to progress past the semi-finals. Although his near future points towards a loan spell away from the Santiago Bernabeu, Munoz could well find himself back and playing at the famous stadium in the course of his career.
Alvaro Medran – Central Midfielder
One of the better known faces on this list for his involvement with the Castilla, Alvaro Medran is looking to fill the void left by Jose Rodriguez.
Born in Cordoba, Medran joined Real Madrid in 2011 after stints at nearby clubs. He was noted for his decent passing ability and excellent ball retention despite his slight frame. Now, he has developed other aspects of his game to compliment these early traits.
Prefering to sit in front of the defensive line, Medran plays a similar game to Xabi Alonso with flamboyant long passes and stout defensive work. He has also been known to score the odd belter from range, but the emphasis of his game is dictating the passage of play.
Into his first full season with the Castilla, the 20 year old needs to make the most of his time under the tutelage of Zidane. He caught the eye last season when he netted from behind the halfway line, now the target must be match-by-match consistency.
Juan Jose Narvaez – Striker
Real Madrid’s summer of 2014 was spent hunting the mercurial striker Radamel Falcao, who ultimately joined Manchester United. However, it would appear Los Blancos already have their very own Colombian striker in the form of Juan Jose Narvaez.
Narvaez has spent much of his playing career in his homeland, making his debut for Deportivo Pasto back in 2011 at the age of 16. He had a trial with Tottenham Hotspur in the same year, meeting future Madrid star Gareth Bale in the process, however he soon returned to Colombia.
In 2012, at the insistence of Zinedine Zidane, Narvaez was signed for Real Madrid’s youth academy. He proved worthy of Zizou’s appraisal and would grab the headlines in the UEFA Youth League. Having put four goals past Juventus and scoring once against Galatasaray, Narvaez became his side’s most prolific goal scorer in the tournament.
Destined for a bright future, the 19 year old is now a full member of the Castilla team. With plenty of competition ahead of him from Raul de Tomas to Karim Benzema, Narvaez will have his work cut out if he wants to work his way into the Real Madrid first team.
Follow Louis Gibberd-Thomas on Twitter: @mercutio156