Real Madrid have been following a strategy over the past two years. Obvious as it may be, the idea has been a firm focus on the future, signing up the talents of tomorrow on long-term, well-paid deals to secure the next generation of stars at the club.
Some, like the Eintacht loanee Jesús Vallejo, are already making waves, while others – such as Martin Odegaard – have found it harder to impress. Including those two, here are six young players that could be lighting up the Bernabéu in the years to come.
ODEGAARD (Midfielder, Norwegian, 18 years old)
He turned 18 just before leaving on loan to Dutch side Hereenveen, where he is also having problems adapting, as happened in Castilla. He arrived as a precocious star (his transfer from the Stromsgodset cost the club €2.1 million) and has a salary of a minigalactico, receiving €1.2m per season.
SERGIO DÍAZ (Forward, Paraguayan, 18 years old)
Real Madrid paid €5m to sign him from Cerro Porteño, and will have to pay €5m more he if reaches certain objectives. The ‘Paraguayan Kun’, as he is nicknamed, is certainly responding. He scored three goals in his first two games at Valdebebas, and in September he netted an unbelievable strike from 40-metres out in Amorebieta. He has nine goals in 18 games (between Castilla and the under-19 Youth League) this season.
FEDERICO VALVERDE (Midfielder, Uruguayan, 18 years old)
Valverde also arrived at Valdebedas for a fee of €5m after signing from Peñarol. He struggled at first to adapt, but is now showing himself as a box-to-box midfielder with considerable potential, scoring twice so far for Castilla.
JESÚS VALLEJO (Defender, Spanish, 20 years old)
He’s been a sensation in the Bundesliga this season after being loaned out by Los Blancos to Eintracht Frankfurt. Madrid paid €6m to Zaragoza for the talented young centre-back, and after impressing in Germany, looks likely to be recalled by Zidane to Madrid’s first team in time for next season, filling Pepe’s shoes in the squad if he leaves for China. He is a certain star of the future, and is already captain of Spain’s U-21s.
MARCO ASENSIO (Midfielder, Spanish, 21 years old)
The Mallorcan is already a reality in Real Madrid first team, having signed two summers ago for a fee of €4m from home-town club, Mallorca. He went out on loan last season to Espanyol, where he performed well and pitched in with four goals and 15 assists in 37 games. During the pre-season tour to North America he convinced Zidane and stayed in Madrid, scoring seven goals and providing one assist in 23 matches so far during 2016/17.
AUGUSTO GALVÁN (Midfielder, Argentine, 17 years)
He went over a year without playing at Sao Paulo owing to a measure of pressure from the Brazilian club to renew. Despite his contract ending on March 25, Madrid have paid €3m for him (€1m up front and €2m based on objectives), and he will (for now) play with the club’s Castilla side.
Follow the LaLiga 2016/2017 match Villarreal – Real Madrid .