César Gelabert is enjoying a rapid rise through the ranks at Real Madrid and on Monday took part in his first session with the senior squad at the age of 17.
Primarily an attacking midfielder, Gelabert has caught the eye for Madrid’s under-19s and is considered the most exciting prospect to emerge from La Fábrica in several years. He made his Castilla debut in February and was a member of the Spain under-17 side that reached the final of the World Cup in India last October and won the 2017 European Championship at the same age-level. A step up to the under-19s next season is being widely tipped.
Zidane: "He is a very good player, adventurous on the ball"
Gelabert is also expected to be promoted to Castilla full-time next season and Zinedine Zidane was asked about his progression after his run-out with the senior squad on Monday: “That’s a very good question. It’s important to talk about the canteranos, who are the future of Real Madrid. He is a very good player, very adventurous on the ball.”
The 17-year-old may also be among the squad for Madrid’s pre-season tour but despite surprising the club’s technical staff with his ability to make the step up to training with full internationals, Zidane prescribed caution about a competitive first-team debut: “There is still a long way to go before we can talk about that…”
Gelabert signed for Madrid from Hércules in 2015 and can play across the front line, as a winger, attacking midfielder or a false nine.