Football Cantera

The future of La Roja is now.

Jesé Rodríguez to Star in 2013/14 Season

June 25th, 2013

Full Name: Jesé Rodríguez Ruiz
Team: Real Madrid
Position: Forward
Age: 20
Birth Date: February 26, 1993
Birth Place: Las Palmas, Spain
Height: 5 feet 10 inches

Jesé Rodríguez has been with the Real Madrid organization since 2007 when he was fourteen. Born in the Canary Islands, the youngster may be best Madrid’s canterano since Casillas. This is no joke. Last summer, Jesé almost single-handedly won the European U19 Championship for Spain, collecting awards for best goal scorer and best player of the tournament. He joins a prolific group of young strikers currently with the Castilla including Álvaro Morata and Raul De Tomas. Jesé has drawn comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo because of his playing style and impressive dribbling ability. He scores many of his goals from distance and his competitive edge and powerful build make him a force to be reckoned with for defenders. Two years ago he was the undisputed star of Madrid’s Juvenil A team; he scored seventeen goals that season and was promoted to the reserve team at the beginning of this season making them odds on favorites in bwin football betting.

Jesé’s talents and form were noticed by Jose Mourinho who called him up to the first team for the 2011 pre-season tour. He played two friendlies over the summer and scored his first goal for the Merengues against Guangzhou Evergrande FC. He started the season with the reserves where he scored in his first appearance. He had a great debut season, scoring ten goals in forty-two appearances and Mourinho had him with the first team again against SD Ponferradina in the first round of the Copa del Rey. Jesé proceeded to make his La Liga debut this March against Real Sociedad with Jose Mourinho showing faith in a young player which we haven’t seen much before.


The 2012/13 season was a character building one for the youngster. Mourinho seemed determined to snub the 20 year old and his manager at Castilla no matter how good the lad played. Real Madrid Castilla finished the season as top scorers in Liga Adelante scoring eighty goals in the season and breaking a team record that had held since the 1983/84 season. Jesé led his team in goals with twenty-two on the season making a very strong case to whomever takes over the first team that he is ready for top level football.

The only criticism of this prodigious talent is the fact that he is a little hotblooded. That is his only weakness. He gathers too many cards, and can be immature at times. In February he celebrated his 20th birthday, it may be time to calm down and start maturing. Fortunately, he seems to keep his passion and hot-bloodedness on pitch. In normal life he is a humble, wise and calm person.

With the national team, Jesé is forming a strong chemistry with fellow Spanish starlet Gerard Deulofeu. The two seem to complement each other well and seem to get on considering their two clubs’ massive rivalry. He is already lighting it up at the U20 level and looks destined for greatness with the senior side if he continues on this path.

Results – Fútbol Draft 2013

May 22nd, 2013

The 8th edition of the prestigious Futbol Draft award was decided on Tuesday, with the top 33 young talents in Spain being honoured by an independent panel of experts from the RFEF, LFP, AFE and more. Players born after 1992 were voted into three teams, Gold, Silver and Bronze, based on who the panel think are the most promising at this moment in time.

In recent years the likes of Thiago, De Gea, Fabregas, Pique, Mata, Javi Martinez and Busquets have all been honoured with places in the Gold XI, but who are the next generation of stars that could be unconvered by Futbol Draft? We take a look at the three teams.



In goal is for me the obvious choice, Athletic Bilbao ‘keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga having had a great year in particular with Spain’s U19 side, where he kept goal for their European triumph and earned a promotion to the U21’s.

In defence, Bayer Leverkusen’s Dani Carvajal has taken the regular Bundesliga action with ease and is wanted back at Real Madrid, with Sevilla’s breakthrough star Alberto Moreno on the other flank. Catalan pairing Jordi Amat and Sergi Gómez make up the central pairing, the latter enjoying another solid campaign for Barca B, and Espanyol’s Amat having reminded us again of his quality on loan at Rayo.

Atlético Madrid duo Koke and Saúl Ñíguez are chosen in the heart of midfield. As an undisputed starter for the rojiblancos Koke picks himself and keeps his place from last year’s Gold XI, although 18 year-old Saúl is a little more surprising, but not undeserved nonetheless. Málaga’s Isco Alarcón is of course the playmaker, and is arguably the biggest talent in the team.

Despite an underwhelming campaign, Basque wonderkid Iker Muniain is included for a third successive year, with teenage star Gerard Deulofeu (Barcelona) and Álvaro Morata (Real Madrid) unsurprisingly making up the attack.



A regular for struggling Racing Santander, Dani Sotres is chosen as goalkeeper for the Silver team. The youngster is likely to keep goal in the U20 World Cup for Spain next month.

Two more of last year’s Under-19 heroes are in defence, tough centre-half Derik Osede of Real Madrid, and Celta Vigo’s 19 year-old utility man Joni Castro, who has enjoyed a solid first campaign in La Liga this year. They are joined by Pablo Iñiguez, another teenager who is now a regular in Segunda with Villarreal, and Athletic Bilbao left-back Jon Aurtenetxe, who provides experience to the team.

The midfield is made up of three young talents who all debuted for Spain’s Under-21’s last February, Real Sociedad’s playmaking prodigy Rubén Pardo, tough tackling Pedro Obiang of Sampdoria, and the pearl of Atlético Madrid’s cantera, young Óliver Torres.

Ahead of them, another of this year’s La Liga breakthrough stars in Rubén García (Levante) makes the team, as does ex-Real Madrid wing wizard Pablo Sarabia. Now at Getafe, he is not their only representative in this team, with Paco Alcácer, the prolific centre-forward on loan from Valencia, the main striker.



For the bronze team, stopper Rubén Blanco, another of the sublime generation coming up at Celta Vigo, is included and is the youngest representative of all three teams.

Atlético right-back Javi Manquillo makes the team, with two of his Spain U20 teammates alongside him in edefence. Sevilla’s Israel Puerto scored in the recent friendly win over Paraguay and partners Jonas Ramalho of Athletic in the centre, with another La Masia graduate in Marc Muniesa at left-back.

Two of Barcelona B and Real Madrid Castilla’s main midfielders are in this team, Álex Fernández and Sergi Roberto, who despite being rivals at club level have played many times for Spain’s youth sides and have had impressive seasons respectively in the Liga Adelante. Liverpool’s supremely talented playmaker Suso makes up the midfield in the #10 role.

Surprisingly, the star of Real Madrid’s La Fabrica academy and ‘pichichi’ of the Under-19 Euro’s, Jesé Rodríguez, only makes the bronze team as a left-forward, with clubmate Raúl de Tomas (18) the striker. Making up the line-up is Betis winger Álvaro Vadillo, another in the long line of talented widemen from the 1994 generation in Spain.

There were a few perhaps surprising omissions, for example Barcelona’s fabulous young left-back Alejandro Grimaldo didn’t make the cut, although he has suffered a lot from injuries lately. The same can apply to Sevilla’s José Campaña who had an excellent tournament in the U19 Euro’s last year, and to a lesser extent Manchester City youngster Denis Suárez, although other players from that team were overlooked on a different basis. For example, Juanmi (Racing, on loan from Málaga), who has sadly regressed a lot in the last 18 months, and the very impressive Juan Bernat of Valencia were also not included.

Of course though, with the huge amount of talent coming through in Spain right now, it is always going to be difficult to make decisions like this, and there will always be quality left out. Looking at the three teams though, you can be sure that the current generation have a line of successors that have the potential to match their success and knows, maybe even emulate it. Two of the Golden XI, Isco and Muniain, have already represented La Roja at the highest level, but you can be certain they will bet the first of many of the names you see on this page.

Jese Stars Against Villarreal CF

January 19th, 2013


Real Madrid’s Castilla put the beat down on last year’s La Liga bottom-feeders Villarreal CF, earning their fifth win of the season. The next generation of Madrid stars have been inconsistent at best in their first season back in Liga Adelante but really showed their attacking potential on Saturday, making an important statement in lead-up to their show down with Barca B next week in the Mini Clasico.

Jese had a dynamite 2012 and is set to follow it up with an even better 2013 as he leads Castilla’s attack. He scored and had an assist in Saturday’s five-nil victory against Villarreal. The nineteen year old joined Pedro Mosquera, Borja Garcia, Alvaro Morata and twenty-two year old Russian winger Denis Tcherychev on the scoreboard. Jese used his pace well all game and beat his defender to score his team’s fourth goal.

Unfortunately for Castilla, Jese earned his fifth yellow card, meaning the young talent is set to miss his team’s clash with Barca B, and counterpart Gerard Deulofeu next week. Jese is blindingly talented but he will have to curb his aggressiveness, and channel it into the positive elements of his game. This is the second time this season he has been suspended which is one of the few criticisms of his style of play. Jese is set to star for Spain at the U20 World Cup in Turkey this summer which is a platform from which his career could really sky-rocket.

Jesé Rodríguez Leads Castilla

September 23rd, 2012

The last three months have been nothing short of a fairy tale for Spanish starlet Jesé Rodríguez. Not only did the nineteen year old win a U19 European Championship in July, ending as the top goal scorer of the tournament. Since then he has scored his first goal with Real Madrid first team, and has been a main feature of the Castilla side in their first season back in the Liga Adelante. With nine points from six matches, manager Alberto Toril’s side are thriving in their return to Spain’s second division.

Castilla have scored with relative ease so far this season, a fact that Toril is pleased with, however the former manager Real Madrid’s Juvenil sides is not pleased with the goals his side has let in. Castilla’s game against bottom of the table side Guadalajara this weekend was a roller coaster match that ended in a four-three victory for Madrid. When asked about the match Toril was pleased but had warnings for his club.

“I am pleased about the nine points, but we are lacking in balance. We score goals, but we are not managing to keep them out. We have to grow as a team. We did not have the ability to represent a danger, and Jesé was good in that respect, but we were sluggish. It has been a crazy game , full of comings and goings and of allowing opportunities for goal.”

“The way to progress is to let nothing into the goal and beyond that this team has boys with the talent to score goals, but we need solidarity, to form a block and get involved in the defensive aspects. This year we still have not found the equilibrium we had last season.”

Toril has had a direct hand in developing Jesé into the player he is today. The current Castilla manager has worked with the forward from the Canary Islands since 2009 when the two of them were in the youth system. In a smart move by the management at the club, the player manager duo were promoted to Castilla the same season which has created a seamless development for a player that is one of the top prospects in Europe. Jesé had a great first season with Castilla and has followed up his impressive form for Spain this summer with some prolific play in the first six games of the season. Jesé has four goals to start the season, leading all Castilla players in goals. He has enjoyed his start to life in Liga Adelante but has noticed an increase in difficulty. In an interview after the match with Guadalajara he spoke about the challenges facing him and his teammates.

“It was a game without fluidity, at the beginning we were trying harder, but they were closed-off behind. We cannot let that many goals in because that kills you in the Second Division. The team has done well regarding the sacrifice made and well-able to respond, but there are things that need improving”.

“We have scored four goals in Second Division, which is not easy, and in that regard we are satisfied. Against Ponferradina we need to go out more decisively and with more concentration because the Second Division teams are veterans and have quality”.

It will get harder and harder for Jose Mourinho to ignore the youngster’s obvious skill and maturity. It will be interesting to see whether Jesé can make the difficult transition from Castilla straight to the first team. If not, look for the player to go out on loan as early as January to help further his development. Surely he is a player that Madrid does not want to lose.

Pablo Sarabia

September 12th, 2012

Full Name: Pablo Sarabia Garcia
Team: Getafe
Position: Attacking Midfielder
Age: 20
Birth Date: May 11, 1992
Birth Place: Madrid, Spain
Height: 5 feet 10 inches

Another diamond of the Real Madrid cantera that had to leave the club of his youth, Pablo Sarabia did not have to move cities to find a club willing to provide the youngster first team football and continue his development. Sarabia joined Real Madrid at the age of twelve from the Escuela de Futbol Madrid Oeste football academy. Only five years later at the age of seventeen he made his debut with the Castilla. He scored his first goal only two weeks into his first professional contract. Sarabia received his first and only first team debut in the Champions League against AJ Auxerre. He replaced Cristiano Ronaldo with less than twenty minutes to go in the club’s four-nil victory.

His second and final season with Real Madrid Castilla, Sarabia began to show his true potential. He was given confidence from the manager Alberto Toril and finished third on the team in scoring. Netting twelve times during the season as an attacking midfielder playing behind Joselu and Morata, despite this attacking trio Castilla did not manage promotion to the Segunda Division and Sarabia was not getting enough first team minutes so the youngster decided to move on. Getafe signed the versatile attacker for around €3million and signed the nineteen year old to a five-year contact. Madrid still have an opportunity to buy the player back at the end of this season thanks to a smart clause in the two teams’ agreement. Sarabia’s taste of consistent La Liga football has not gone exactly to plan, managing only one assist in ten starts and nineteen appearances last season. This year is an important one if the lad wants to return to Real Madrid, he is part of a Getafe squad with a number of young Spanish stars; Paco Alcacer, Pedro Leon, and Alvaro Vasquez should combine for some exciting, attacking football which can only help Sarabia’s chances.

For his country, Sarabia has always shone. He has a UEFA U-19 Championship and third place finish at the FIFA U-17 World Cup under his belt. His eight goals in sixteen appearances for the U19 squad is especially impressive and he will most assuredly represent his country at the U20 World Cup next summer in Isreal. His silky skills and dangerous shot make him exciting to watch, but it is his work ethic that will endear him most to fans. I would compare his playing style to Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla but at twenty years old, there is still lots we haven’t seen from the youngster.

Spain U20 runners-up in Torneo L’Alcudia

August 26th, 2012

Spain’s U20 side were unable to win the Torneo COTIF L’Alcudia for the first time in its history on Thursday night, losing 2-0 to Argentina in a closely fought final just two days after overcoming them in the group stage. Goals from the excellent Alan Ruiz and Lucas Rodríguez separated the sides, but the team still came out of the competition with plenty of positives going into next year’s World Cup. Manager Santi Denía, voted as the best coach at the tournament, used it as a chance to test 21 players in view of next year, with all receiving good minutes over the five games they played, and doing well given the fact that they were far from full strength.

Right from kick-off, Spain looked to dominate and push forward, hitting the crossbar early on through Nono, the man who scored the winner in their previous meeting and one of the tournament’s stars. However, Argentina gradually found their feet and took a surprise lead in Valencia on 20 minutes, with MVP of the tournament Alan Ruiz beating Adrián Ortolá, voted the best goalkeeper, with a delightful left-footed effort.

La Rojita continued to have the lion’s share of possession, but found themselves 2-0 down going into the break when full-back Lucas Rodriguez struck. Denia responded by sending on Espanyol playmaker Albert Miravent at half-time, but they couldn’t find a way through the secure Argentine backline, with both teams ending with 10 men following late red cards to Lisandro Magallán and Álvaro Vadillo.

In the end the South Americans were deserving winners, but things may well be different in Turkey next summer, when Spain are able to call on their full squad. Whether Santi Denia will remain in charge there is yet to be seen, but he can’t have done his chances any harm with an impressive showing in his first experience of managing the U20 side.

Spain – Ortolá; Iván López (Joaquín García ‘74), Puerto, Varela, Insua;, Íñiguez (Miravent ‘41), Aitor Castro (Vico ‘41), Nono (Carlos Garcia ‘74); Álvaro Bustos (Rubio ‘52), Vadillo and Hernández (Borja Galán ‘67)


Spain U20′s progress to COTIF semi-finals

August 22nd, 2012

Spain’s U20 side made it through the the semi-finals of the Torneo COTIF L’Alcudia last night following a hard fought 1-0 victory over Argentina. Nono’s strike in the 55th minute separated the two teams in Valencia, elevating La Rojita to the top of the group and setting up tonight’s clash against South Korea. Then on Thursday, the team, managed by Santi Denía following Julen Lopetegui’s promotion to the U21 side, will take on either Argentina again or Turkey in the final or third place play-off, depending on the semi-final result.

Like in the Olympics, the Spanish found themselves stunned in their opening game against Japan, trailing 2-0 for much of the game before Betis winger Álvaro Vadillo halved the deficit in the second half. However, they responded well in their second group match against Saudi Arabia, with Pablo Íñiguez, Aitor Castro and Borja Galán securing a 3-0 win, putting all or nothing on last night’s clash with Argentina.

Nono vs. Argentina

The two tournament favourites played out a tough contest, even more so given the heat and that it was their third match in five days, but again it was the Real Betis contingent who made the difference, Nono scoring the winner with a fortunate free-kick, in a game that was lit up by the wing play of Vadillo. La Albiceleste’s star player Alan Nahuel Ruiz was notably absent during the game, but will be out for revenge should the two sides meet again in tomorrow’s final.

Should Spain win the competition for the first time in its 28 year history, it’ll be a great achievement given the squad is missing the bulk of the European Under-19 winning squad, many of whom are expected to compete in the World Cup in Turkey next summer. Despite the fact that many of the current team will not be involved, Denia insisted that these games are still vital for his preparation, and that the they were all part of his 40 man shortlist for the final tournament.

“All of the 21 players have a possibility to go to the World Cup” he said, “the tournament is played at a high level and very competitive, as demonstrated by the close results in the games so far.”

Kick off against South Korea tonight is set for 8.15pm local time, with just a day to rest and reload for tomorrow’s final at 9.30pm. Should Spain not progress, they will instead compete in the third place play-off at 7pm, against the losers of the other semi-final. MarcaTV will be showing the games, for those with access.

Spain set for Under-20 Alcudia tournament

August 16th, 2012

It’s not often that Spain’s Under-20 side play, the last time being just over a year ago in the World Cup in Colombia. However, having qualified for next year’s edition, Julen Lopetegui’s side will compete in the Torneo L’Alcudia in Valencia this week as an early form of preparation.

Last month we saw the Under-19 side successfully defend their European championship, and many of that team will progress to the next age group in 2013. Just four of their players have been chosen for this tournament though, squad players Adrián Ortolà and Pablo Insúa, as well as the two emergency call-ups Salva Ruiz and Nono.

Spain kick-off on Friday against Japan, one of the teams that shocked them at the Olympics recently, and also take on Saudi Arabia and more notably Argentina in the later group games. Despite the fact that some of their big names won’t be involved (note the absence of Real Madrid and Barcelona players from the squad), it will still be nice to get a chance to see some of the lesser known talents and younger generation, even more so given that they opted against calling up a single player from 1992, the age limit permitted.

Copa Atlantico celebrations

There is no real star player of the team, although the stand-out inclusion is probably that of Álvaro Vadillo, one of four Betis players in the squad. The exciting winger, who debuted in La Liga at the tender age of 16 last year, spent most of the season injured with a knee injury, and will be looking to make his mark on the international scene now he is fit again.

Also involved are 17 year-olds Rubén Blanco, Celta’s young goalkeeping hope, and Álvaro Bustos, the star of Sporting Gijón’s cantera, who were called-up due to the likes of Raúl de Tomas and Omar Mascarell, set to start the season today for Real Madrid Castilla, being withdrawn from the squad. Denis Suárez also had to pull out, along with Athletic’s Iñigo Ruiz De Galarreta, Valencia’s Juan Bernat and the injured Atlético ‘keeper David Gil.

As well as the Under-19’s, Lopetegui took charge of the U18 Copa Atlántico back in February, and has used this opportunity to give chances to six of the players who competed there. Among them is playmaker Albert Miravent, who was one of the most impressive players in the Canarias tournament. His team mate from Espanyol’s excellent youth side Óscar Arroyo is in the squad too, as are Francisco Varela, Pablo Iñiguez, Iker Hernández and Fede Vico, a regular in the Segunda División for Córdoba.

With Spain likely to play five games in just 6 days a lot of rotation is expected, particularly considering Lopetegui is in charge, and we should get the see the whole twenty-one play a decent amount of minutes. Their final group game against Argentina on Tuesday comes just 24 hours before the semi-final, with the final and third place play-off the day after that.

The players I see having the biggest future from this squad would be Blanco, Salva Ruíz, Vadillo, Vico and Bustos, although there are many others I am looking forward to get a proper look at. Also, as an Atlético fan the presence of Borja Galán interests me, a very fast and technical forward who captained our Juvenil A team to the title last season.

In the Alcudia tournament’s 28 year history Spain are yet to win it once, so we hope they can add to the titles won at U18, U19 and full level this year by adding it to their haul. The first round of games got underway last night, as next year’s World Cup hosts Turkey and the region of Valencia overcame South Korea and Ecuador respectively.

Spain and Japan kick-off tonight at 8.15pm local time, and will be shown live on MarcaTV.

Full Squad

Goalkeepers: Adrián Ortolà (Villarreal), Rubén Blanco (Celta Vigo)

Defenders: Iván López (Levante), Óscar Arroyo (Espanyol), Pablo Insúa (Deportivo), Israel Puerto (Sevilla), Borja López (Sporting), Francisco Varela (Betis), Salva Ruiz (Valencia)

Midfielders: Álvaro Vadillo (Betis), Joaquín García (Sevilla), Aitor Castro (Real Sociedad), Nono (Betis), Fede Vico (Córdoba), Álvaro Bustos (Sporting), Carlos García (Betis), Pablo Iñiguez (Villarreal), Albert Miravent (Espanyol)

Forwards: Iker Hernández (Real Sociead), Borja Galán (Atlético Madrid), Alex Rubio (Sevilla)

Football Cantera

The future of La Roja is now.