El Centrocampista

THE NEXT BIG THING – Álvaro Vadillo

By Heath Chesters

At 16 years of age, attacking midfielder Álvaro Vadillo became the youngest débutante in the history of Real Betis, starting in the first eleven for their opening encounter of the season away to Granada CF.

Vadillo celebrated his 17th birthday last month coincidently, the same day which marked the 104th anniversary of the foundation of his club.

The youngster has been making waves in La Liga ever since, and has been linked with a move to English champions Manchester United in many of this weeks papers.

Some even claim Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have already had a bid rejected by the Andalucians.

So who is this exciting young player and why is he one of the hottest prospects around?

Whilst still very much a rough diamond, Betis youth team co-ordinator Jose Antonio Gordillo said after his début: “Tactically he still must improve, but he has speed, nerve and agility.

He likes to take players on and when he does he’s very difficult to stop, whilst his passing accuracy is also very good.”

Although very impressive in his début versus Granada, Gordillo went on to suggest “He played away from home against a team that pushed hard, but he was bold, was a constant danger in the middle.

He’s lacking a little rhythm, but once he’s played five or six games, he’ll soon adapt to the pace of the game.”

It’s expected he’ll be rotated between the first team squad and the B team this season, but having already stepped up to the challenge and pressure of playing in the clubs opening fixture upon their top flight return, he’s very much in the plans of manager Pepe Mel.

Having already played for the Spanish U17 team against Georgia, with another excellent performance, there’s also suggestions he’ll quickly ascend to represent the U19 and U21 selections.

Such is the belief in the future of this youngster, he was already attracted the attention of clubs elsewhere.

It’s reported Italians Fiorentina made an approach during the summer with a “multi-million” offer.

Despite the very tempting offer given the uneasy financial situation at club, Betis management and the player rejected the move.

Vadillo claimed: “The satisfaction I have here was not going to be the matched in Italy. I prefer the love of this club, who put faith in me,
and I have shown mine in return.”

Able to play as an attacking midfielder, either centrally or wide, he’s been inevitably compared to another great Bético youth product of the past, Joaquín.

For a young player with such a bright future ahead of him, he’s very much down to earch and has his feet firmly planted on the
ground, despite his rapid rise to the first team.

At such a young age, it will be interesting to follow his progress over the next few years, though if his performance against Granada CF was anything to go by, it’s clear he’ll soon be a regular fixture in the Real Betis first team.

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