x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Primera Liga: Alvaro Morata's first-team debut shows there is talent at Real Madrid

Whatever the reasons for manager Jose Mourinho to field 20 year old, they can learn from rivals Barcelona by giving homegrown players - rather than imports - more first-team opportunities.

Alvaro Morata scored against Rayo Vallecano on Sunday. Denis Doyle / Getty Images
Alvaro Morata scored against Rayo Vallecano on Sunday. Denis Doyle / Getty Images

Real Madrid's youth system does not produce players for the first team. It should, but the maxim that Barcelona create talent and Real Madrid buy it is well known.

Madrid's "fabrica" produces fine footballers who usually fly the nest and thrive elsewhere. Players such as Juan Mata, Roberto Soldado, Javi Garcia, Alvaro Negredo and Diego Lopez, who is now back as goalkeeper covering for the injured Iker Casillas.

The blame has been apportioned to Jose Mourinho, who has long preferred purchased quick fixes to youth development at all his previous clubs, but it is a historical problem at the Bernabeu, save for the freak generation when five home-grown players came through at the same time in the 1980s. Madrid fans like the excitement and glamour of signing the biggest names.

Mourinho appeared to have washed his hands of the youth system in October by claiming its products were not of a high enough standard, so it was a surprise he gave Alvaro Morata a first-team debut on Sunday. He scored after three minutes against Rayo before being substituted after 26 minutes in a tactical change after Sergio Ramos's sending off.

Whether Mourinho thinks the 20 year old has a genuine future at the club or whether he was using him as a pawn in a political game to make a point of dropping big name stars (Karim Benzema the latest to suffer after Casillas) will become apparent, but as Barcelona have shown, home-grown talents can lead the way.

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