El Centrocampista

THE FORGOTTEN MAN – Pedro Leon fights for the spotlight

By Olly Dawes

It’s always hard to make a telling impression when you have world class players like Angel Di Maria, Mesut Ozil, Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of you in the pecking order.

If there were injuries or suspensions to these players though, you’d expect to get a chance, especially as your club paid €10m for you – right?

Not at Real Madrid. Not under Jose Mourinho.

In July 2010 when Real Madrid bought Pedro Leon from Getafe, there was real excitement at the prospect of seeing a young Spanish winger gracing the hallowed Bernabeu turf, following his stunning displays for their city rivals.

But Jose wasn’t happy with his attacking talent.

He went on to sign Di Maria and Ozil, pushing talented youngsters like Leon and Santander starlet Sergio Canales onto the sidelines for the entire season.

If we hark back to the 2009/10 season, Leon was the star of the show at Getafe.

His exceptional performances saw him contribute eight goals and nine assists as Getafe finished in a lofty sixth place, qualifying for the Europa League play offs.

And there was to be no doubt as to who the darling of Southern Madrid was as Leon took all the plaudits, making a mockery of the €4m price tag paid to Valladolid for his services. Here is a short clip of a great season for the winger.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VedlgTmbwY&w=425&h=349]

You only have to see this video to see what makes Leon so talented.

He has a stunning right foot, his control and technique are great and he can score some really impressive goals.

Add that to his brilliance on set pieces and he has all the making to be a top class player. But not at the Bernabeu.

Fast forward to the present day, and Leon is set to return to Getafe on loan after making just six appearances for Los Blancos last season.

Leon encountered various obstacles in his fight for a first team place, including public beration from Mourinho and a training ground bust up with Argentine midfielder Fernando Gago.

Mourinho’s comments were made after dropping Leon for the Champions League tie with Auxerre, despite impressing in La Liga just days earlier as a substitute against Levante.

Upon being asked why Leon was not in the side, Mourinho exploded in anger at reporters, saying: “I don’t have to justify his absence. If the president asks me, I’ll tell him, but he hasn’t asked me. You talk of Pedro Leon as if he was Zidane or Maradona or Di Stefano, he’s a player who not long ago was playing at Getafe.”

The last line is somewhat disrespectful not only to Leon, but to Getafe, as if Mourinho was looking down on their neighbours.

Why should the size of the club a player formerly played for matter? If the boy’s talented, which he clearly is, he deserves a chance.

The latest development in this debacle is that Mourinho has forced Leon and Royston Drenthe to train separately from the first team.

It does show a clear sign that they are not in Jose’s plans for next season, but I’m not sure isolation is the best method to show this.

An insight into this tactic can be seen here.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVdFhh1peQc&w=560&h=349]

It would be a crying shame for Pedro Leon to disappear into the wilderness for another year, so a return to Getafe is in the best interests of all parties.

The fans adore him, he will be glad of the game time and possibly a chance to put himself in the shop window after the loan deal.

But most interestingly, Mourinho has shipped out a young player with great potential, something that some Real fans are not happy about.

Some fans are accusing ‘The Special One’ of having no regard for the future at Madrid, and it’s hard to disagree with those sentiments given the treatment to Leon and Canales. Could latest young signings Raphael Varane, Nuri Sahin or Fabio Coentrao be next?

One Comment

  1. Pingback: THE FORGOTTEN MAN – Pedro Leon fights for the spotlight « Sublime Finish

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