The model of football is witness to a tremendous change. Gone are those days when the colossal hype and fan craze were only for the European elites. With the dawn of the new age, football has become a medium to expand and explore new nations. It has become a new language and has opened up new paths for such nations. The FIFA U-17 World Cup will be held in India from 6th October. This means that India is now more than ready to host and accept other sports rather than just a few. People, now have a new religion to worship in India.
The U-17 World Cup brings to Indian shores raw talent. Events like these are a blessing in disguise. An upcoming footballing nation can stand witness to the making of Gods. The likes of Casillas, Kroos and Ronaldinho were all part of the U-17 World Cup, and now they are legends of the game. These young players, touted to become successors have immense talent and no better way to showcase it than the U-17 World Cup. Moreover, in such an inflated and hyped-up market, such players can be recruited by big clubs. Although the contingents have young prodigies from various European heavyweights, this will be a chance for big clubs to shortlist players for their next shopping spree.
In this feature, we analyse one of the favourites, Spain who are one of the big contenders of the U-17 World Cup. We shall also take a look at players to watch out for from the Spanish contingent.
The Spanish are coming into the competition as the European U-17 champions. Out of the 21 players to represent their country, 9 are products of Real Madrid and Barcelona. It’s always debatable as to which is the better team among the two. However, both teams have sent some of their young and promising prodigies for representing the country. These young talents have so far out shown other players in the squad, thereby showing the credibility and talent which Madrid and Barcelona successfully bring forward.
Real Madrid have 5 players participating in the U-17 World Cup. The brightest among them all is Victor Chust. Victor traditionally plays a centre back and is a prominent member who saved Spain in crucial moments also. He has played 12 matches so far and has scored once. The defender has an appetite for the game and has played out the full game most of the times. In fact, during the U-17 Euros, he played every single minute for the Spain. He also has a clean record with respect to bookings. Victor Chust will be vital for the Spanish side during their match against Brazil. Chust was also part of the “Team of the Tournament” for the U-17 Euros.
The second player to feature in the playing eleven on a regular basis is Antonio Blanco. Blanco can deputise in any part of the midfield. However, he plays in central midfield and fills up the defensive midfield position. Blanco is the lynchpin of the Madrid youth wing just like Casemiro to Real Madrid. He has played 14 games for Spain scoring twice and assisting on three occasions. Unlike his Madrid and Spanish compatriot, he doesn’t hold a clean slate. In his international career, he has two bookings. Mohamed Moukliss is another player who plays in midfield. He has a knack of taking on players and has that flair. Although he lacks height and built, he makes it up for with his gameplay. He has 13 international caps and has scored once. The other players to feature from Madrid Youth side are Pedro Ruiz and Cesar Gulabert.
Barcelona has always been successful in bringing out young talents. Over the past years, they have had a legacy of players who have played for the youth side and also played their part in the Spanish Senior side. Quoting Joachim Low after 2010 World Cup semi-final, “We were defeated by Barcelona in the semi-final.” Such is the power and influence of the Blaugrana for the Spanish side. Barcelona has sent 4 players to the Spanish U-17 side. The crux of the fact is that all the 4 players are crucial team members of the U-17 side and are regular starters. Abel Ruiz is the highlight of them all. Abel is a goal scoring machine and many consider him as the next Villa for the Catalans. Taking over the Jersey no.9, Ruiz has played 6 matches in U-17 Euros and has scored 6 goals. He will be leading the Spanish side.
Combining with the captain is Sergio Gomes. Gomes has 15 caps under his belt. He scored on four occasions and was also one of the players who played all matches in Euros. He had scored once and assisted once during the European campaign. The next two are the full backs of Spain. Everyone knows Barcelona bring forward full backs who rewrite history books. Juan Miranda, the second oldest player in the squad. He plays in the Left back position. Juan is a versatile player. He can also fill up the centre back positions. Having 14 caps under his belt, he scored twice and provided an assist. The last and probably the most decorated player among them all is Mateu Morey. Mateu is a right back. The young full-back was the highest scoring defender in the U-17 Euros. He was also part of the “Team of the Tournament” in the U-17 Euros. In 13 international matches he has played, he scored 3 goals and has one assist to his name. Moreover, he has a good defensive record having just one yellow card. The two full backs will be players who can be pivotal to Spanish success.
With such players, Spain are one of the contenders for the U-17 World Cup. It will be enthralling to see whether these young prodigies can bring the much-coveted trophy to Spanish shores. This has been the one trophy which has been eluding the Spanish for a long time. And it will be fantastic for these young players to leave their mark on the World at such a young and tender age.
Read our preview of Spain’s big boys who will take centre stage in Russia next year.
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