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Real Madrid have strong interest in 16-year-old Belgian midfield wonderkid

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Photo by JASPER JACOBS/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

As part of their new recruitment strategy in the past few years, Real Madrid are always alert to any exciting young footballers making waves across the globe.

This strategy has reaped the club great rewards and the Spanish capital giants continue to track youth talents with great promise.

It has seen Los Blancos make moves to sign teenage prodigy Leny Yoro of LOSC Lille and River Plate’s 16-year-old wonderkid Franco Mastantuono.

Now, it appears that another young talent has popped up on the radars of the reigning champions of Spain and Europe.

Indeed, according to a report from Sport24, Real Madrid have taken a serious interest in 16-year-old midfield prodigy Konstantinos Karetsas, who plays for KRC Genk.

Who is Konstantinos Karetsas?

Karetsas, 16, is a Belgian attacking midfielder who began his youth career at Genk. The young talent left his boyhood club to join the Anderlecht academy in 2020 but returned in January 2023.

Despite being only 16 years old, Karetsas has already made 20 appearances for Genk’s reserve team, scoring six goals and setting up five more.

Konstantinos Karetsas (L) on Real Madrid’s radar. (Photo by JOHAN EYCKENS/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

The teenage wonderkid, who can play as a No. 10 or a central midfielder, has also broken into the Belgian outfit’s senior setup, racking up four appearances in which he has one assist.

A player of Greek origin, Karetsas has opted to represent Belgium at the international level and is currently a part of their Under-17 setup.

Real Madrid closely watching

Karetsas’ potential has alerted a number of top clubs across Europe, with Real Madrid understood to have taken a keen interest in the 16-year-old.

Indeed, as per the report, Real Madrid have been watching the youngster for a long time but of late, have been doing so more intensively.

The teenager’s current contract with Genk is understood to run until 2026 and the Belgian club are in the process of negotiating an extension.

But the interest from Real Madrid and other top European clubs could prove to be a tempting opportunity for the 16-year-old Karetsas.

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Real Madrid News

Just in: Real Madrid’s defensive target picks up fresh injury

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Photo by Marco Rosi - SS Lazio/Getty Images

Real Madrid are in active negotiations with LOSC Lille for the transfer of Leny Yoro. After weeks of impasse, the club appear to have made some ground in the race to sign the Frenchman.

However, should the Yoro deal fall through in the coming weeks, Real Madrid have identified Lazio’s Mario Gila as the ideal alternative.

Formerly of RM Castilla, Gila currently plies his trade for Lazio and has emerged as a key defensive lynchpin for the Italian outfit, impressing onlookers with his technique and discipline.

Mario Gila picks up fresh injury

However, in a major development, it appears Mario Gila has picked up a fresh injury during training, reports Diario AS.

In the pre-season camp at Auronzo di Cadore, Gila appears to have fractured his left foot and could be out for several weeks.

Fresh setback for Mario Gila (Photo by Marco Rosi – SS Lazio/Getty Images)

Lazio confirmed the defender’s injury, stating, “Mario Gila underwent clinical and instrumental examinations which revealed a fracture of the phalanx of the big toe of his left foot, suffered during training.”

Gila has started taking the appropriate treatment and the extent of his injury will be known soon. However, as things stand, the defender could be out for at least the next few weeks.

What does this mean for Real Madrid?

Mario Gila’s fresh injury setback is sure to dwindle any hopes of a potential return to Real Madrid this summer.

In any case, Gila’s chances of returning to Santiago Bernabeu were slim given that Real Madrid have finally made some ground in the deal to sign top defensive target Leny Yoro.

Los Blancos, though, would have liked having someone like Gila available as an alternative, especially with LOSC Lille still demanding a fortune for the Frenchman.

Unfortunately, that might not be an option anymore, no thanks to Gila’s injury. The club, though, will keep a close eye on the Spaniard’s injury situation, knowing he could return to fitness before the end of the summer break.

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