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‘Feel like I’m in a video game’ – Real Madrid ‘lucky charm’ on experience with first team

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Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Real Madrid’s historic 15th Champions League triumph on June 1, a dominant 2-0 victory against Borussia Dortmund, continues to be celebrated by fans and players alike.

But behind the scenes, there was a secret weapon fueling the team’s success this season: Jeremy de Leon.

De Leon, a young Puerto Rican winger, wasn’t a household name amongst fans. He wasn’t even a registered member of the first-team squad.

Real Madrid’s lucky charm

De Leon arrived at Real Madrid in the winter transfer window, initially brought in to reinforce Raul’s RM Castilla side. However, his talent quickly caught the eye of Ancelotti, who began including him in regular first-team training sessions.

De Leon’s presence wasn’t simply for training purposes, though. Ancelotti, known for his superstitions, saw a different role for the young winger.

De Leon became Real Madrid’s lucky charm. He inexplicably found himself included in the travelling squad for the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City at the Etihad.

Ancelotti was quick to realise Jeremy de Leon’s charm (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Madrid emerged victorious on penalties, and De Leon, though unregistered, celebrated alongside the team. This unorthodox strategy continued for the successful semi-final trip to Munich and the triumphant final in London.

De Leon on being Real Madrid’s ‘secret amulet’

Weeks after the historic win, De Leon finally broke his silence in a YouTube interview (h/t Mundo Deportivo).

“It’s crazy to be with them,” he said. “Going from playing FIFA with them to being there with them, sitting and eating at the same table. It’s crazy.”

The young winger described the surreal experience of being part of the team’s inner circle. “At first it’s intimidating, but you get familiar with it and get used to it. In the end, one ends up being one more.”

Jeremy de Leon, of course, will look to become more than a lucky charm for Real Madrid. At just 20, the youngster has a future ahead of him and the player could become a crucial player for RM Castilla next season.

Given how Ancelotti rates him highly, it won’t be surprising to see the Puerto Rican starlet soon making a push for the first team, despite the increased competition.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid face Premier League, Saudi Arabia competition for free transfer target

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Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid are set to welcome two new stars this summer, Kylian Mbappe and Endrick, but the Merengues are keen on further bolstering their squad.

Owing to the embarrassment of riches Real Madrid possess in midfield, replacing Toni Kroos with a new signing in midfield is not seen as an immediate priority.

Nonetheless, interesting opportunities will invariably be evaluated closely and it appears the name of Adrien Rabiot has entered the club’s crosshairs.

Real Madrid not the only ones interested

But, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, Real Madrid face stiff competition from Premier League clubs and Saudi Arabian teams in their pursuit of midfielder Adrien Rabiot.

The French midfielder is set to become a free agent if he chooses not to renew his contract with Juventus, a decision that seems increasingly likely.

Rabiot set to become a free agent this summer. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Known for his technical prowess and versatility, Rabiot excels at playing multiple roles in midfield and notably thriving as a goal threat with late runs inside the opposition box that tend to catch opponents off guard.

While Real Madrid have no shortage of quality in midfield, Dani Ceballos’ exit could pave the way for the 29-year-old to secure a signing for Los Blancos.

However, Real Madrid would have to outmanoeuvre both the financial prowess of Saudi Arabian teams and the competitive allure of Premier League clubs to secure Rabiot’s signature.

On top of that, Juventus are also not giving up on their efforts to try and renew the contract of the French international.

In any case, Rabiot is unlikely to be a priority target for the club but they will be sure to keep a close eye on how his situation develops.

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