Top 5 Youngsters In La Liga

Spanish football has got a reputation of clubs nurturing young players who have came through the ranks at their respective clubs. The most high profile club for doing so is Barcelona, leading by example and willing to give their young players a chance. Other clubs have jumped on the bandwagon and now are looking to set up youth academies for now and for the future. I am all for easing youth players into the first team as they are entertaining and make a pleasant change to the beautiful game. They add a new dimension to a team’s game and can have an impact on everyone around them. What young players lack in experience, they return in dedication and commitment (most of them) as they seek to impress on a regular basis. Below you will find some of the young talents in Spain that I rate the most and tip for a bright future.

Isco, or Francisco Román Alarcón if you prefer was the breakthrough player of last season. After Malaga purchased the sensational Spaniard from Valencia, he has done wonders for them. Five goals and four assists in thirty-four starts last season is a good starting point, which I am sure he and many others expect him to improve on. After being another product of an established Valencia youth set-up, Malaga have the bragging rights as to why the player has shone since his arrival. Isco is a versatile attacking midfielder, capable of playing behind the striker or on either wing. As long as he can play games, Isco will play anywhere the manager asks him too. Another example of the dedication that youngsters can give the squad.

Another factor on Isco is that he is a very exciting player. He has the ability to frequently have fans off of their seats with his dribbling ability. His quick feet and trickery make him a very hard player to defend against as he is not frightened to take his man on. If my opinion of Isco has not given you a clear idea of the player, maybe statistics will. Isco, last season finished in the top twenty passers of the season with an impressive 86.6% accuracy. He was extremely close to Spanish counterpart Andres Iniesta (89.7%) Mesut Ozil (87.1%) and Cesc Fabregas (86.9%) Given that all three of these players have played at the highest level for many seasons and are established internationals, it is a remarkable achievement for someone who is as raw as Isco. Without a shadow of doubt, Isco has a bright future ahead of him for club and country.

Thiago Alcantara: Yet another product of La Masia, Thiago currently sees himself breaking into Barcelona’s first team. With the quality around him, he may struggle to start regularly but he will learn an extreme amount about the game. Alongside Spanish legends Xavi and Iniesta will only show Thiago how to perform when wearing the shirt of the Catalan giants. That being said, Thiago is no stranger to the Barcelona way of the game as he has progressed through the youth set up since he was a young boy, so he knows what it takes to prevail. First making his debut in May 2009, Thiago has ever since managed to impress at Barcelona. Last season he was rewarded for his performances with a new four year deal. Barcelona did not fail to add a buy-out clause in his contract, the fee? A hefty €30 million to scare off any potential suitors.

Despite having Italian descent, Thiago has chosen to played for Spain instead. Having already featured for the first team and playing from the under 16’s level until he reached the senior squad. Another typically gifted Spanish midfielder as he can pick his passes wisely, whilst also being able to shoot from distance and tackle, only making him a perfect addition to the Catalan giants. At only aged 21, he still has a lot to learn about the game but will only get better at Barcelona. He is at the right club and can keep his feet on the ground and avoid being sidetracked. I expect to see Thiago as one of Spain’s top midfielders within the next few seasons.

Thibaut Courtois: Despite being on loan from European champions Chelsea, Courtois has been excellent for Atletico Madrid throughout the eighteen months that he has been their. A very acrobatic keeper and at just aged twenty, he has proven consistently that he is going to get very far in the game. Another talent Belgian who has made the grade and a positive reputation for himself, he has settled very well in Madrid, despite the stature of the club. Courtois played a pivotal role in between the sticks for Diego Simeone’s side in the successful Europa League campaign. Whether he returns to Chelsea and replaces Petr Cech or plays elsewhere is a different story, but Courtois will become one of the top goalkeepers in World football, I can garuntee.

Raphael Varane: Varane was purchased by Real Madrid for €10 million pounds and signed a six year deal at just a tender age of 19. The step up from his former club Lens is phenomenal. At only 19, he is built like a thrity year old and is ‘6’3 in height, seemingly unafraid to get stuck in with the tackles. Hopefully, Pepe has not been his guidance or mentor for tackling. Varane managed himself a dozen appearances last term, scoring two goals and managing too help his teams too four clean sheets.

To earn himself a place in the starting XI, contending with Sergio Ramos and Pepe so it proves a difficult challenge. An injury or suspension to either of the pair could work in his favour as he then can prove his worth to Mourinho and hopefully start more games. Whatever the outcome is for the Frenchman, Varane is one of Europe’s hottest prospects and faces a bright career ahead of him.

Iker Muniain, a player who has seemingly been around for a long time, holds the record for being the youngest player ever to make an appearance for Atletico Bilbao. He was 16 years, 7 months and 11 days when he made his debut for the North Spanish side. He has also broken more records throughout his career thus far. He was the youngest played to score in La Liga, netting his first goal in the 2-2 draw against Real Valladolid. Since debuting in 2009, Muniain has seemingly grown into one of Spain’s hottest prospects currently on offer.

A personal accolade for Iker Muniain is that in the year of 2011 he was voted as La Liga Breakthrough Player Of The Year. He was credited by football fans and pundits across the globe for his tremendous performances against Manchester United in the two-legged tie in the Europa League. Perhaps a bigger move is on the horizons for Muniain, but at still a tender age of nineteen, he has a lot of time on his side and does not have to be rushed into any potentially career changing decisions.

If you disagree with my top five talents in Spanish football or feel I have missed certain players out, do not hesitate to comment below your thoughts.

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