Coral’s former Real Madrid academy players starting XI
Young Real Madrid graduate Alvaro Medran scored his first senior goal against Ludogorets Razgrad to help Los Blancos become the only club to twice qualify from the Champions League group stage without dropping a point. They are 10/3 chances with Coral to defend their title.
There are high hopes for the 20-year-old midfielder, who came on late for Gareth Bale, but not many from Real’s academy go on to turn out regularly for them. There are the exceptions of Iker Casillas, Alvaro Arbeloa and Daniel Carvajal from their current squad, but the latter duo spent time at other clubs to progress further, before they were taken back to the Bernabeu.
So, writers at Coral have come up with a starting XI of former graduates, who spent at least three years on Real’s books from the age of 15 to 21, but now ply their trade elsewhere.
Francisco ‘Kiko’ Casilla (Espanyol) – Goalkeeper
Catalan-born Casilla is not quite the player that fellow keeper Casillas is in terms of ability and name, and he was released by Real before he could even get a chance in the first-team. However, he has built his career back up in his home province for Espanyol, earning himself his only Spain cap to date this year against Germany.
Juanfran Torres (Atletico Madrid) – Right back
Another player who has rebuilt his career since leaving Real, Juanfran did play a handful of games for Los Blancos, but his stand-out performances for Real’s arch-rivals Atletico Madrid have earned him 12 caps so far. He has won a number of trophies with Atleti, including La Liga last season.
David Mateos (Ferencvaros) – Centre back
Whilst the previous two players have arguably progressed since departing Madrid, Mateos’ career has definitely gone backwards, as he now turns out for Hungarian club Ferencvaros, following uninspired loan spells at AEK Athens and Real Zaragoza.
Javi Garcia (Zenit Saint Petersburg) – Centre back
Unfortunately for Garcia, he was so unimpressive in a Real Madrid shirt that the club sold him twice. Premier League fans will remember him flopping at Manchester City, and the occasional centre back can now been seen playing in Russia under Andre Villas-Boas.
Marcos Alonso (Fiorentina) – Left back
Alonso is another who has played in England, for Bolton Wanderers and Sunderland on loan, where he enjoyed impressive spells. The promising full back, 23, now turns out for Fiorentina.
Esteban Granero (Real Sociedad) – Central midfield
Granero is another who has left Los Blancos twice, and he was a surprise signing for QPR in 2012, but failed to keep the club in the Premier League that season. He can now be seen marshalling the midfield for David Moyes’ Real Sociedad.
Borja Valero (Fiorentina) – Central midfield
Valero gained his sole cap for Spain while on the books of West Bromwich Albion, although due to his performances whilst on loan for Villarreal. He never managed a senior appearance for Real, but has enjoyed spells at Mallorca and currently Fiorentina as well.
Jose Maria Callejon (Napoli) – Right wing
Tricky winger Callejon was sold by Real to Espanyol without playing in their first-team, but was later re-signed in 2011 and impressed for the following two seasons. Unluckily for him, a certain Cristiano Ronaldo was ahead of him in the pecking order, but he is now enjoying a prolific spell for Napoli under Rafa Benitez.
Juan Mata (Manchester United) – Left wing
The one that got away, Mata would surely be a useful squad player in the current Real set-up, but he made his name at Valencia. Mata’s performances for Los Che earned him big money moves to Premier League clubs, first for Chelsea and then Manchester United.
Alvaro Morata (Juventus) – Striker
Exciting young striker Morata, 22, was surprisingly sold by Carlo Ancelotti in the summer to Juventus, but the twice-capped starlet may be another to return to the Bernabeu one day. Like former Real legend Raul, Morata was once in Atletico’s youth academy.
Roberto Soldado (Tottenham) – Striker
Spurs flop Soldado was actually once a good player back in his homeland after leaving Los Blancos earlier in his career. He enjoyed prolific spells at Osasuna (on loan), Getafe, Valencia and even Spain (seven goals in 12 caps).