REAL MADRID

Antonio Blanco convinces Zidane

Real Madrid Castilla midfielder Antonio Blanco is impressing Zinedine Zidane during Real Madrid's pre-season training camp. Los Blancos have rejected offers for the 20-year-old.

Real Madrid continue selling homegrown players. This summer has seen the departures of Achraf Hakimi and Óscar Rodríguez to name a few, but others have remained at Valdebebas, aiming to impress and become part of Zidane's plans.

This is the case with Antonio Blanco, a player with a very bright future. The midfielder, who has worked under club legend Raúl at Castilla, is now impressing head coach Zidane. AS has been made aware of the Frenchman's surprise by the progress made by the footballer from Córdoba.

Shades of Casemiro and Kroos

Blanco, en las semifinales de la pasada UEFA Youth League que ganó el Real Madrid.

Blanco's ability to operate in both the more defensive role of Casemiro and slightly more advanced role of Toni Kroos has caught the club's attention, which has resulted in him making the step up to first-team training. Strong ball recovery and an eye for a pass are two areas of his game that makes him stand out at 1.76m tall.

The 20-year-old had a superb 2019-20 campaign under Raúl's stewardship alongside fellow countryman Miguel Baeza, who left last month for Celta de Vigo for 3 million euros. Blanco featured in 23 of the 28 games for Castilla, before an abrupt end to the season, owing to Covid-19. He has also experienced recent success for Los Blancos, winning the UEFA Youth League against Benfica last month in Nyon, Switzerland.

Blanco arrived at Madrid in 2013 and a couple of years later was called up for Spain's underage setup. He has featured at every level from U17 to U19 for La Roja. Goals from long-range are a feature of the central midfielder's game - scoring one particular exquisite chip from near the halfway line for Madrid against Barcelona.

A bright future

Madrid have received several offers for Blanco, but have managed to convince him to stay on at the club for the forseeable future. Experience with the first-team under the guidance of Zidane and alongside fellow La Fábrica graduate Miguel Gutiérrez, will stand him in good stead moving forward, in what could be a very successful career.