Real Madrid's homegrown youth players at the ICC contain 'the Messi of Madrid'
Nine of Real Madrid's homegrown youth team players have flown out with the senior squad for the International Champions Cup in the U.S. and will be hoping to impress new coach Julen Lopetegui over the coming weeks.
As Madrid's World Cup players take a well-earned rest, all those who have travelled are likely to get a chance to impress in games against Manchester United in Miami on Tuesday, Juventus next Saturday in Maryland, and Roma in New Jersey next Tuesday.
Many of the young talents brought to the Bernabeu in recent years have come from abroad, including new €45 million winger Vinicius Junior and 19-year-old Martin Odegaard. But three of the club's nine homegrown youth products in their 32-man touring party also travelled to the U.S. last year. So who are the emerging stars hoping to impress this time around?
RB: Sergio Lopez, 19
Among the youngest to travel, attack-minded right-back Sergio Lopez was born in Germany but raised in Salamanca, and joined Madrid's youth ranks in 2016. Last season's eight UEFA Youth League games brought a goal and an assist (both against Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals). After under-studying for new €40m signing Alvaro Odriozola in the U.S., Lopez is expected to step up to the Castilla B side for 2018-19.
CB: Adrian De la Fuente, 19
El Escorial born De la Fuente has been at Madrid since he was nine. A strong, tall centre-back, he was a regular for Guti's U19s last year and is under contract until 2022. He also made headlines with a "David Beckham vs. Wimbledon" style goal from his own half against Leganes last December, and the following month scored in a Spain U19 friendly against Italy.
CB: Javi Sanchez, 21
At "La Fabrica" since he was just seven years old, Getafe-born Sanchez is a centre-back who can play well with both feet and has five goals in his 44 games to date with Castilla in the third tier. He may go on loan to gain experience elsewhere in 2018-19.
CB: Jose Leon, 23
The oldest of the Castilla contingent on tour, Castilla's 2017-18 captain is a left-footer who helped La Cultural Leonesa to promotion from Spain's third tier two seasons ago. After more than a decade at the Bernabeu, he signed on for another two years with the club earlier this summer.
LB: Miguel Reguilon, 21
Attack-minded left-back Reguilon has already played almost 100 times in Spain's third tier, having spent the 2016-17 on loan at CD Logrones, where he scored four times in an October 2016 game against Bilbao Athletic. A Castilla regular under Santi Solari last year, he recently signed a two-year contract extension. The Madrid native is likely to under-study Theo Hernandez during the ICC.
MID: Jaime Seoane, 21
A Madrid-born box-to-box midfielder, Seoane has been a regular with Castilla for the last two seasons but has just 12 months left on his contract. He made his senior debut in the Copa del Rey against Fuenlabrada last season, playing the last nine minutes in a 2-2 draw at the Bernabeu.
AM: Oscar Rodriguez, 20
Perhaps the most talented of the local players who have come through Madrid's youth system in recent years, Rodriguez has also starred through the ranks for Spain's underage teams. Now represented by Rene Ramos' RR-Soccer Management (the brother of Sergio), he scored four times in seven UEFA Youth League appearances, while also regularly featuring for Castilla, and starting for the senior side in the Copa del Rey against Fuenlabrada.
LB/LW: Luismi Quezada, 22
Quezada has already completed three seasons at senior level, including 2015-16 on loan with Olot. He scored a penalty in an ICC shootout against Manchester United last season, got 15 minutes in the Copa del Rey under Zidane last season and sat on the bench for a La Liga game against Sevilla. The son of a Dominican Republic professional baseball player, he has played for the Caribbean country up to U20 level.
FW: Francisco 'Franchu' Feuillassier, 20
Born in Argentina, Franchu arrived at "La Fabrica" aged 11 thanks to ex-Madrid player Juan Eduardo Esnaider. After a spell in Rayo Vallecano's youth system the pacy forward established himself with Castilla last season, although two goals in 32 games showed he still needs to add more end product. Dubbed by some as "The Messi of Madrid" after his Copa del Rey debut last October, the Spanish and Argentine federations are currently engaged in a tug of war over his allegiance for senior international level.