Real Madrid are seeing some exciting young talent come through their youth ranks. The likes of Sergio Arribas and Rafa Marin have been regulars in the club’s Castilla team, and although they are set to move on this summer, there are promising talents ready to replace them.
One such talented young prospect tipped for great things is Nico Paz. The 18-year-old attacking midfielder is seen as the ‘crown jewel’ of the academy by Real Madrid, reports Mario Cortegana of The Athletic.
Young Nico has had an impressive year so far. Having started the 2022/23 campaign with the club’s Juvenil A setup under Alvaro Arbeloa, the attacking midfielder was bumped up to Castilla midway through the season.
And Nico pounced on the chance and made a big impression, helping Castilla to the promotion playoffs. The Argentine youth international made 17 appearances for Raul Gonzalez’s side, finishing with two goals and three assists.
Nico has caught the eye of first-team manager Carlo Ancelotti, who has called him up to train with the seniors on quite a few occasions and even named him in matchday squads on a couple of occasions. However, a first-team debut has eluded the teenager so far.
The 18-year-old has been named in the squad for the pre-season tour of the USA by Ancelotti. That was not the plan initially as Real Madrid intended to take just two youth goalkeepers on the trip. But Dani Ceballos’ injury opened up a spot and Nico ended up making the cut and may well have chances in the US.
As mentioned earlier, those within Real Madrid rate the Argentine very highly. In fact, the report claims that some within the Castilla setup even compare Nico to Manchester City superstar Kevin De Bruyne due to the quality of his final pass, his power when striking the ball, and his ability to finish from range.
The attacking midfielder has also caught the eye due to his ball control in tight spaces and ability to withstand physical pressure from opponents which are considered important traits for a player to make the jump to the senior level.
As such, expectations are sky-high for Nico, and he could get a taste of first-team football on the US tour. A solid run could see him become more involved in Ancelotti’s plans come the actual season.
Real Madrid rising star suffered against Atletico due to veteran forward’s absence, says Simeone
Real Madrid’s 3-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid was not the first time were in trouble this season. In fact, the Merengues have gone behind early in almost every league game so far.
However, the difference on Sunday night was that they never really mounted a comeback. More importantly, Jude Bellingham did not come good, for the first time.
Simeone unravels the mystery
A jubilant Diego Simeone spoke to the media after his side downed Real Madrid by three goals to one and spoke about a plethora of topics.
Interestingly, he commented specifically on why Bellingham did not have an impact at Civitas Metropolitano, citing the absence of Joselu as a key factor.
“No, the spaces were reduced and I think that Joselu’s lack of presence left him with fewer chances to get there, when he takes advantage of Joselu’s aerial play. We controlled him better, he’s extraordinary,” he said, as quoted by AS.
He even called out the refereeing on the night and insisted that the Real Madrid star-boy should have seen red for his late tackle on Angel Correa, saying:
“It looked like a sending-off to me live, it was a hard leg up, with Angelito hitting the ball.”
Ironically, he defended his defender Jose Maria Gimenez for an equally threatening tackle on the night.
“A bad foul, it’s a yellow card because it goes sideways. Bellingham goes from the front and I think it’s a bit more,” he stated paradoxically.
No time to lament
The game at Civitas Metropolitano may not have gone Real Madrid’s way. Yet, it is good for the Merengues to taste defeat early and see the gaping holes in their dynamic.
Carlo Ancelotti admitted in his press conference that he bore the lion’s share of the fault for Sunday’s loss and that he would have done things differently if given the chance.
“Maybe I could have done it better. It’s pretty clear. When the team doesn’t do what it has to do, it’s my responsibility,” he stated.
Nevertheless, Los Blancos have a hectic schedule ahead with two games in the next five days and a UCL fixture against Napoli next week. With Vinicius Jr back, one hopes they find their mojo once again.