At a time when Barcelona are making headlines in Europe for their academy stars breaking through, Real Madrid do not have much to show.
Los Blancos do boast of some of world football’s brightest talents, but none of them can claim to be homegrown.
Nico Paz’s story, thus, comes as a refreshing update. The youngster recently made his league debut for the first team in Real Madrid’s 5-1 thrashing of Valencia, and his breakthrough comes as big news considering that Carlo Ancelotti is a big fan of trusting academy stars.
Breaking the curse
As revealed by AS, only four academy players from 2009 have managed to sustain with Los Blancos’ first team for over seven years.
There are over 40 Castilla graduates who currently ply their trade with clubs in Europe’s top five leagues, but only Alvaro Arbeloa, Nacho Fernandez, Lucas Vázquez, and Dani Carvajal have managed the feat.
The Merengues have their money on Paz to break the curse and be the fifth name on such a list. Carlo Ancelotti understands the player’s high ceiling and has direct use for his profile in his dynamics.
Paz has already featured twice for Real Madrid this season and was also part of the first-team’s pre-season tour to the USA. The ball is now in the Argentine star’s court to capitalise on his chances and establish his name.
Paz speaks after his debut
The talented youngster only recently made his debut for Real Madrid’s first team. He enjoyed the special moment during the team’s 3-0 win over Braga and expressed his elation after the full-time whistle.
“It was crazy. Making my first-team debut has been my dream ever since I was a young boy and it’s come true at the greatest stadium in the world, and in the Champions League,” he said.
As part of the same interview, he admitted that it was difficult for academy players to break through at Real Madrid and gave advice to his peers.
“We know how hard it is because it’s the greatest team in the world but we have to keep working hard because it can be done. It is possible and that’s the message to the rest of the academy boys.”
Official: Real Madrid starting lineup against Napoli | UCL GW 5
Real Madrid are back in the Champions League following their impressive win against Cadiz on the weekend as they host Napoli at the Santiago Bernabeu for gameweek five.
They have already secured qualification to the round of 16, and even a point today would secure first place in the group.
With several players still injured, Carlo Ancelotti has opted for his best available starting lineup, with Daniel Carvajal taking responsibility of the captain’s armband at right-back. He will be aided by Ferland Mendy, who starts on the other side.
Meanwhile, in between them, David Alaba returns to the fold as the starting centre-back, partnering Antonio Rudiger. This duo has the responsibility of screening Andriy Lunin, who continues in goal in Kepa and Thibaut Courtois’ absence.
With both Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni out, Toni Kroos gets the chance to play as the holding midfielder for two games in a row. Federico Valverde retains his spot, as well, while Dani Ceballos comes in for the injured Luka Modric in central midfield.
Rodrygo will spearhead the team’s frontline as one of the two twin forwards, while Brahim Diaz gets the nod over Joselu. Jude Bellingham is the final, and arguably the most important piece of the puzzle, playing behind the front-two.
Confirmed Madrid XI: Lunin; Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Mendy; Valverde, Kroos, Ceballos; Bellingham; Diaz, Rodrygo