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Madrid youngsters could prove the Real deal if given a chance
- Updated: 9 August, 2012
Real Madrid Castilla striker Joselu finally completed his protracted move to German outfit Hoffenheim on Tuesday, for a fee said to be in the region of €6m. While this may seem like your regular transfer window story, to many it raises another point – should the current Spanish champions give more chances to their B team players?
Since the induction of Florentino Perez as president, Real Madrid have earned a reputation of buying the best players in the world – Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo formed part of the team that dominated Spanish and European football in the early 2000’s, earning the famed ‘Galacticos’ tag.
They have always been compared to their fierce rivals in this case. Barcelona’s strategy of promoting players from their B team and developing their young players has earned much praise, as well as many trophies.
Madrid on the other hand took to the transfer market to challenge Barca, and Perez’s re-election as president resulted in further spending. €80m on Cristiano Ronaldo, €68.5m for Kaka and €35m for Lyon’s Karim Benzema has finally resulted in bringing the title back to Madrid, but could they have saved money by having more faith in their academy and B team products?
Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain’s goals helped Madrid to the La Liga crown in 2012, scoring a combined 43 goals, but former B team players Roberto Soldado and Alvaro Negredo contributed a total of 31 goals between them for their respective sides. If you put the stats in isolation, then the 12 extra goals could have been what secured Madrid the title, but who knows how many Soldado or Negredo could’ve scored with Madrid’s supply line? Madrid paid a combined €50m for Benzema and Higuain, whilst promoting Soldado or Negredo would’ve cost them nothing.
Meanwhile, Madrid allowed Juan Mata to leave the club and head to Valencia on a free transfer. A move to Chelsea obviously followed, but Mata could’ve been the player to play in the centre of Madrid’s 4-2-3-1 system – instead of Mesut Ozil. Again through comparing in isolation you see that Ozil scored 7 goals and contributed 24 assists, whilst Mata scored 12 goals with 23 assists.
Of course, Madrid have the ability to spend a lot of money to achieve their success, but could more patience have saved the club some money in recent years?
In recent years, Perez has taken to bring some players back to the club that came through the ranks – Alvaro Arbeloa, Esteban Granero and Jose Callejon have all returned the club after prolonged exits as Perez starts to show that Madrid do produce notable talent.
It seems that Perez really is learning, as Joselu’s move to Hoffenheim includes a buy-back clause, similar to what Barcelona have inserted into the deals to sell Oriol Romeu, Bojan Krkic and Jeffren Suarez. This means that should Joselu prove himself in the Bundesliga, he could find his way back to the Bernabeu.
The fact remains that if you compare Barcelona and Real Madrid’s squads, 68% of the Catalan’s squad have come through the ranks, whilst just 23% at the Bernabeu were produced by the club. Maybe that Real Madrid B’s promotion to the Segunda Division will give younger players the chance to test themselves at a higher level – and as a result, more players given a chance – like Jese Rodriguez, who sparkled at the Under 19 European Championships.
Rodriguez isn’t the only one though – other prodigies like striker Alvaro Morata, midfielder Alex Fernandez and centre-back Nacho Fernandez will be looking to prove themselves in the Segunda next year in a bid to make the first team, but it seems disappointing that Madrid have been watching Inter Milan’s 31-year-old full back Maicon when they had a perfectly good, young right back in the squad already – but Dani Carvajal has also moved to Germany with Bayer Leverkusen.
Morata made just two appearances for the first team last year but has already made a plea to Mourinho for action.
“The important thing is to have minutes on the pitch and play with the first team. Playing with Real Madrid makes you a better player. The coach knows he can count on me for anything he needs. I have been training double sessions with the first team and that helps us get up to speed quickly. It provides me with a chance to learn a lot because there are great players here. All I want is to continue improving as a player.”
He has travelled to the US as part of Madrid’s pre-season tour and he, like me, will be hoping that Madrid put more faith in their prospects.Follow @icentrocampista