Spain quartet highlights Madrid's bright future

Posted by Nicholas Rigg

Getty ImagesReal Madrid striker Alvaro Morata scored the winner for the Spain U21s against Bosnia on Thursday.

The focus may be on Real Madrid's senior stars as they look to secure their respective nations' World Cup qualification over the coming days, but the club's young guns continued to show the future is bright at the Bernabeu on Thursday night.

Thirteen senior stars have been called up for international duty: Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe, Fabio Coentrao, Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Isco, Alvaro Arbeloa, Raphael Varane, Karim Benzema, Sami Khedira, Luka Modric, Angel Di Maria and Marcelo. All will be hoping to play a part in next summer's World Cup in Brazil.

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But Madrid made a point of building for the future over the summer with their recruitment. Dani Carvajal returned from Bayer Leverkusen, Isco arrived from Malaga, Asier Illarramendi came in from Real Sociedad and Gareth Bale, eventually, came in on a world-record deal (that we all know is up for dispute). This was a Madrid not only bringing in quality, but bringing in quality that should stick around for a while.

President Florentino Perez and boss Carlo Ancelotti also made a point of bigging up Alvaro Morata and Jese Rodriguez, two guys from within. That bigging up has so far been vindicated somewhat with Morata featuring as backup to Karim Benzema and impressing this season, while both he and Rodriguez were on the pitch as Madrid showed their fighting spirit to snatched a 3-2 victory at Levante last time out. Both are making a point of becoming more regular components in Madrid's season.

But while more regular game time at the Bernabeu has been forthcoming for the pair so far this term, arguably their best platform for impressing Ancelotti has been for the Spanish U21s side. That continued on Thursday night as Morata scored what turned out to be the decisive goal as Spain beat Bosnia 3-2. It was a match where, at one point, four Madrid youngsters made up that Spanish team. Positive signs.

Morata has been in sensational form for his country, with his 69th-minute goal, to fire Spain 3-1 up after coming from 1-0 down, being his seventh in five games. His four-goal tally in Spain's 6-2 win over Austria was also a highlight. To boot, he was the top scorer during this past summer's U21 European Championships.

The youngster says his form with his country helps him become more confident at club level: "I am calm. The national team helps me to become even more confident and to compete at my club. Am I in a freer role with Spain compared to Madrid? It is not that, but maybe I have been so eager to prove myself with my club that I have sometimes played tricks on myself, that I have not done everything that I have needed to do. Gradually I am becoming calmer, with the Under-21s I have fun and I can also develop."

But while Morata's good form is there for all to see, Madridistas will take many positives from four of their young stars being on the pitch in Thursday night's victory. Morata started, as did Carvajal, while Rodriguez came off the bench late on. Madrid's 'senior trio' was joined by Castilla goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco. Perez will have been watching with a smile planted firmly on his face. These are players who could help form Madrid's future sides for years to come, surrounded by any future Galacticos who will no doubt continue to arrive in the Spanish capital.

For a club which has trademarked the Galactico this season, it has been a refreshing change to see youth taking a more important role. The fans can connect, as they have done with Morata (his name is sung at large not only at the Bernabeu but when he's playing international football, too). But they're not just being thrust into the limelight for the sake of it; they're showing great signs of quality.

Add the aforementioned Bale, Isco and Illarramendi into the mix, and things are looking bright for Madrid. Spain host Hungary in their next qualifying match on Monday -- expect more from Morata, expect more from Madrid's youngsters and expect more for the future.


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