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Real Madrid see teenager as ‘crown jewel’ of academy, player likened to Man City superstar

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Photo courtesy: Real Madrid official website

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.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid youngster to have a more prominent role next season – report

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Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

In a recent report by Manu de Juan in AS, it has been revealed that Arda Guler is expected to play a significant role for Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid next season, despite ongoing rumours connecting him to Liverpool

Currently, Carlo Ancelotti has five key players listed on the club’s official website: Kylian Mbappe, Vinícius Jr, Rodrygo, Brahim Diaz, and Endrick. However, Guler is an additional player who is likely to make a substantial impact next season.

In fact, it is said that the Turkish teenager is set to be Ancelotti’s versatile player for the 2024-25 season. His adaptability is a major asset as he can play in various positions, including as a central or attacking midfielder, a right winger, or even as a forward. 

His recent performance in the European Championship highlighted his capabilities, where he scored one of the tournament’s standout goals. This versatility makes him a valuable addition to the squad.

Ancelotti has clear plans for Guler

Ancelotti has indicated in the past that he sees Guler’s primary role as a forward. However, the coach is not hesitant to use him in a midfield role when needed. 

Arda Guler will have more prominence next season at Real Madrid. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)

This flexibility will be crucial, especially with changes in the team’s lineup. With Toni Kroos having left and Aurelien Tchouameni expected to play more as a centre-back, there will be a need for additional midfield options.

Despite his potential, there are concerns about Guler’s physicality and his ability to cover extensive ground on the field. Ancelotti has acknowledged these limitations, noting that Guler needs to improve his defensive positioning and overall physical endurance. 

The coach has mentioned that Guler is already working on these areas, aiming to overcome these challenges.

Meanwhile, during one of the celebrations at Cibeles, Ancelotti hinted at Guler’s increased involvement in the upcoming season. He described Guler as a “very interesting boy,” suggesting that the young player will have more opportunities to showcase his skills. 

This implies that fans can expect to see a lot more of Guler in action, making him a player to watch closely in the next season.

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