With lots of attention surrounding the young English produce, pundits are forgetting that Spain still hold the rights of bringing up the next generation of world-class players to the game. With the likes of Iker Casilas and Xavi staying in Spain for all their career, and being brought up and trained in Spain, is rather impressive (just to name two of the many). Obviously, most of the best players are found and created by Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy, but that’s a whole different story they are trained from a young age that football is not about physicality, and muscle they teach more technical side of football; first touch, pass and move, and actually thinking about the game. This is what is missing, if England can even dream about our national team competing with the top nations. Of course, our players are good, but Jordan Henderson’s no comparison to the likes of Cesc Fabregas. If the FA had caught on, we could have some of the best academy players at the moment right now. Anyway, back to the top 3 young talents in La Liga. Obviously there are more, this is just ones that stand out.
Blatantly, there was going to be a La Masia graduate in the top three. Thiago is a young central midfielder with some big boots to fill. With the likes of Xavi (who has a chronic Achilles injury) and Iniesta both ageing and becoming more injury prone, the new, young crop must come in and impress. When not injured, Thiago is just like a young Iniesta- can read a game, play the final ball through, but still has much improvement to be done to even be considered under the bracket of Xavi or Iniesta. In 2009, Thiago made his debut for the first team, at the tender age of 18. This shows he possesses talent, due to Guardiola giving a teenager his debut for possibly the greatest club in the world. That shows something. Will he fill some of the greatest central midfielders shoes? I don’t know he shows great potential, but gets injured too often/easily, therefore no one really see’s his real talent, but he does not lack it.
Isco has gathered a lot of attention in recent times with the likes of Manchester City and more likely Arsenal to make a swoop for the financially troubled Malaga star. The 22-year-old shows fabulous skill, touch and talent and is proving Valencia wrong about selling him in 2011. Malaga managing to feature in the Champions League is a revelation of the young Spaniard, giving him huge opportunities to perform on the bigger stage, and to show the world his raw talent he possesses. Just like on Malaga’s first Champions League game in 2012-Isco scored twice in a 3–0 home win over FC Zenit Saint Petersburg, also being chosen as Man of the match. If that’s not proving yourself, what is. From a young age, Isco showed a great football brain; being scouted at the age of 7 to the not-so famous Valencia academy, he worked his way up to the first team but was then sold. For the future? I reckon he’ll move on from Malaga, to either Real Madrid, Arsenal or another top club in England. If done soon, he’ll be a younger Santi Cazorla- too good.
One of the less documented young players in Spain, but boy is no exception the Bilbao left winger is still only 19, but the media who do pay attention to him have dubbed him as the Spanish Messi, due to the way he approaches the game. Just remember, until Guardiola took over as manager, Messi was a left winger until Pep deployed the ‘false number 9’ system where he asks of Messi to be much more of a striker- to get back, and link up the play and on the counter (doesn’t happen often). Surprisingly still at a young age, he has made over 100 appearances for Althletico Bilbao- proving that he is more than ready to compete at the top-level. His future lies in the Premier League for sure. Barcelona do not need him due to Gerard Deloufeu coming up the ranks and soon will be first team. Real do not need him, since they already have left-wing spot for Ronaldo. Most recently, United (sadly) have been given permission by Bilbao to open talk with him for a possible transfer in the future. This is great news for him, due to Cristiano being made at a young age by Sir Alex. But, if this moves happen, I can guarantee he moves to Madrid. Hold it to me. Future? I reckon he’s got enough talent to later be one of the greatest players in the world.
To conclude, there are at least a dozen more players I could’ve written about, simply due to the system the Spanish deploy and teach from the earliest of ages in football. Something we should champion in the future.