Another Year For Real Madrid Castila

Four score and….four years ago I started doing a preview of the Castilla side at the Offside. I cant even remember what the first one looked like, but I do remember how much I enjoyed doing them, and how well received they always were. This is the first here on the new RMFB site, and I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I have writing it. If you have a link to some of the old Offside posts you can certainly post it in the comments, I kinda of want to see what they looked like and if any of my predictions actually came true. But enough of my nostalgia, on to the article.

Another season begins for the “cantera”, or youth categories of Real Madrid, with the three categories of semi and professional ranks, the Juvenil teams, Real Madrid C and Real Madrid Castilla having all returned to training after a short offseason, even with several youth international tournaments being played this summer. This has meant several players are missing for the start of preseason for either these tournaments or they are with the first teams as they jet set all over the world for preseason friendlies. While this will provide good exposure for some of the younger players, as will the u-19 and u-20 World Cup, it creates a problem for Alberto Torril as he begins his preseason preparations missing a large chunk of last year’s team.

There is also the problem that every season the Castilla team sheds its more experienced or talented players due to age restrictions or the pull of other clubs. This may end up hampering Torril’s plans the most this year, because the amazing run of form the team was on when he took charge all the way through to the playoffs will be very difficult to compete, especially without the same group at his disposal. None the less, this is the job of the Castilla manager, who has to not only build a winning team every season by using untested players at the professional level, but also readying these players for moves on to other teams or if they are lucky (and seldom few have been in the last decade), the first team.

Given the amazing surge in the second half of the season, there was great interest in Torril and his players, and thus there has been something of a clear out, not because of a lack of quality or accomplishment, but because the bigger clubs have come calling, and with Mourinho yet to make room in his squad for a single youth team player, the exodus looks to be in mass.

Pablo Sarabia – Getafe Two Year Buy Back Clause
Juanfran – Espanyol (deal yet to be confirmed but probable)
Juan Carlos – Real Zaragoza Two Year Buy BackClause
Javier Acuna – Girona FC One Year Loan
Juanan – Fortuna Dusseldorf Free Transfer
Raul Goni – Real Zaragoza Loan Return
Fran Rico – Granada CF Sold, Contract Not Disclosed
Luis Hernandez – End of Contract

EDIT: It looks like Ivan will remain with Castilla for the 2011/2012 season, and is part of the preseason currently. I assumed he was on a half season loan but it turned out to be a year and a half season loan.

Those are all confirmed (except for Juanfran, but its a matter of days from happening I think), and as you can see, its three center backs and the three players who played behind Morata and Joselu last year, leaving a big gap in the defense and the attack. Fortunately for Torril, there is a never ending supply of young players to pull from, so here is the confirmed incoming players for the new season.

Alvaro Lopez – One Year Contract Extension
Jese, Omar, Lucas Vazquez, Oscar Plano – All Promoted from Juvenil A and Real Madrid C
Jose Antonio Rios – Sevilla Atletico Two Year Contract
Cristian, Javi Hernandez, Zamora, Raul Ruiz, Samu – All Return from Loans

Rios I have never seen play, but I do know he was on the cusp of the Sevilla first team before their managerial turmoil. He will most likely replace Nacho and Alvaro Lopez as the starting left back, but I cant see him ever making it to the first team. Casado will have a fight on his hands once he returns from preseason with the first team for this spot. Rios is also capable of playing centrally, meaning it also looks like he was signed for the kind of versatility Nacho provided, which should mean Nacho will be moving on either to the first team or out on loan.

The promotions I will cover in the player break down, and the returning loan players all failed to impress before, so I cant see them doing anything to warrant attention now. Strange situation for Samu, who was billed as a wonderkid two years ago, making the jump from C to Castilla and doing well mid-season. But he went on loan to Sevilla Atletico last year, returned half way through and spent the rest of the season with the C team. He may end up being released.

Keep in mind that during the preseason the likes of Morata, Alex and Carvajal are all away on u-20 duty and will thus need extra rest before starting their seasons, while Casado, Nacho, Joselu, Jese, and the two keepers, Tomas Mejias and Jesus were with the first team squad. Casado and Joselu have returned to the Castilla team after the American league of the preseason, and were involved in the second match of the Castilla preseason, but Jese and the keepers remain with the team still.

Castilla has set up a series of friendly matches as they begin their preparations for the SEGUNDA B season. Below is a list of their schedule:

PARTIDOS DE PRETEMPORADA DEL REAL MADRID CASTILLA
Fecha Partido
27-07-2011 REAL MADRID CASTILLA – Parla 1-1 Highlights
30-07-2011 Ávila – REAL MADRID CASTILLA 3-2
03-08-2011 REAL MADRID CASTILLA – Alcorcón 3-0 Highlights
07-08-2011 Tenerife – REAL MADRID CASTILLA
10-08-2011 REAL MADRID CASTILLA – Guadalajara
13-08-2011 Gimnástica Torrelavega – REAL MADRID CASTILLA

It is an interesting bunch of fixtures, and certainly the games against Alcorcon, Tenerife and Guadalajara will provide great tests, given these teams have either been in the Segunda (Tenerife, who were in the Primera two years ago!), are in the Segunda (Alcorcon, close neighbors), or are early favorites for promotion to the Segunda (Guadalajara, not the Mexican team).

A 1-1 draw against Parla allowed Torril to experiment with some of his new players as well as look at how to fill some of the gaps still remaining. The 3-2 loss to Avila again saw experimentation, but it also showed the kind of mental fatigue the plagued the team before Torril took over last year, with a 93rd minute winner surrendered. With the team missing several players there was a make shift back line and not much depth for substitutions, but Oscar Plano did well scoring in both games.

Them there was then a 3-0 win against Alcorcon, which must be seen as a positive, and demonstrated just how important players like Joselu and Alex are to the team, and how much the likes of Nacho and Carvajal are missed in the defense. Juanfran, still waiting on a transfer out of the club, played at right back in the game and ended up getting sent off for some pushing and shoving that occurred towards the end of the game after a strong challenge against him. Even coach Torril got caught up in the fray. A derbi is a derbi I suppose.

Based on the team selections, Torril is still experimenting, and I wonder if he will be able to utilize the 4-2-3-1 he preferred last year. The players are there, but you have to wonder if the talent is, given the loss of the band of three behind the lone striker. Given the absences, as well as the probability of injuries during the season, the C team players are all available to be called up to the Castilla team. And typically the C team players are schooled in 4-4-2, but their is usually a play maker role in the lower categories, either as a second striker or from a wide player in a midfield four. So many of the younger C team players may see some time this year if Torril cannot adequately replace Sarabia.

As I mentioned, the C team lost its two more talented players in Oscar Plano and Lucas, while Jese and Omar, who were virtual starters in the C team last year, will also make the jump, having been registered as Juvenil A players. Madrid C will thus be filling its roster out after loosing players to the Castilla team as well as free agency. The following players will be joining the C team, but have the ability to move up to the Castilla team if Torril decides he would like to see them in action:

Pacheco
Andrés
Ricardo
Derik
Parla
Noblejas
Edu
Álex
Barril
Belima
Ramírez
Kamal
Aguza
Sobrino

A few names stand out, such as Noblejas, who I think will push for the starting left back for Castilla by the end of the season, even if he starts out on the C team. He of course played a few games for them last year, so it would not be a big jump for him anymore. Pachecho has been with the first team before, and may play a few games with the Castilla team depending on the keeper situation. Derik Osede is one to watch, and he along with Kamal may make the step up at any point if there are injuries. Ruben Sobrino is an interesting striker and Aguza is a play maker who may not be as good as say Sarabia, but can still do a job. Given the thinness of the Castilla squad, with some dead wood still floating around, I do expect a few of these players to see time with the Castilla side, and Aguza and Kamal are both logical players to single out because they both can play in the playmaker role, although Kamal is more a central midfielder like Alex.

With some of the C team players outlined, I will know go through each player of the Castilla as it stands of writing this and give my thoughts on their potential and place in the squad. As is traditional, we start from the back and work our way up.

Keepers:

Mejias:

I assume Mejias will end up as the third choice keeper for the first team, but I will categorize as with the Castilla team because he may end officially with the team if Real ends up unable to trim its squad enough to include three keepers. It has happened before. Mejias is a good keeper, and has played for Spain at various youth levels, but like many good keeper before him, and several after him, he will never step out of the shadows of Iker Casillas unfortunately. Very well could become a starting La Liga keeper in a few years times, and given that Adan is the second choice keeper for the first team for now, Mejias may end up playing mostly with the Castilla, but may also look for a loan. Real rarely loans out keepers, but they have had to sell some really good ones before and Mejias will be yet another in a year or two.

Jesus:

Jesus has also been training with the first team, competing with Mejias for the third keeper spot on the first team, but I doubt he will win that contest. Jesus was signed for Castilla last year after appearing for Numancia’s first team five times in the 09/10 season. He is a local lad, and had spent time with the Getafe youth squads before moving to Numancia. Jesus started 26 times for Castilla last year, and was called up to the first team several times also, appearing once in replacing Jerzy Dudek during his send off against Almeria. Jesus, like Mejias, does not have a real shot at replacing Iker, so expect him to leave the club in a year or two.

Isaac:

Isaac was also signed last season, this time from Espanyol, but did not make any appearances for the Castilla side. Given the quality of some of the keepers younger than him in the C team, he will probably be on his way just like Jesus and Mejias, but in his instance, I am not sure he will end up as a starting keeper for a La Liga or Segunda side. I have never seen him play so it is difficult to know.

Defenders:

Casado:

Now 22, Jorge Casado was a Rayo Vallecano player for 10 years. He signed for Real Madrid Castilla last year off the back of a strong campaign with Rayo B, who were promoted from the Tercera in to the same group Castilla play in currently in the Segunda B. Casado trained with the first team several times last season, as well as being a part of the preseason tour of the USA this year, but I do not think he was ever considered an obvious choice at left back for Castilla, nor for the first team. He ended up appearing 27 times for Castilla last year, often sharing left back duties with Nacho. He will again have to share the role, with Nacho still around (although likely to leave) and Rios being brought in from Sevilla Atletico.

Nacho Fernandez:

I am not sure if he is with the Castilla team at present, but he is still listed in the squad on the official website. He has yet to feature for the team in preseason as he, like Jese, has been with the first team for the full preseason tour of the USA, Germany, England and China. Nacho, who has been in the Castilla team for two years now, is equally comfortable at left, right and center back, and this utility may land him a squad spot with the first team, if one of the senior players is to leave before the close of the transfer window. It may also mean that he will spend most of the season playing in the center of defense for Castilla, with two left backs now in the squad, and the team lacking in the middle.

Having seen Nacho play several times now, I have always liked what I saw. He has a great attitude and is very committed to defending, although he still needs to learn how to read the game better, but that comes with experience. He is not a physical player, nor does he possess great attacking strengths, but he is solid and versatile, and Mourinho values that. Although Varane was brought in to the first team this year, there is a slight chance Nacho may stay with the first team, especially if Coentrao spends most of his time in midfield. While I would like to see him continue with the first team, it seems the matter is out of his hands, and will depend on if one of the first team defenders leaves or goes down through injury.

If he spends the remainder of the year with Castilla, I know he will end up moving to a La Liga team, probably Getafe. He is good enough to play at the top level, and I would equate him to Miguel Torres. Not a “galatico”, but a fan favorite none the less.

Ivan Gonzalez:

I rated Ivan Gonzalez very highly last year when he made the break through to the first team at Malaga and became a starter at center back. He had size and power and looked to be developing a strong aerial game, but when Manuel Pellegrini took over, Ivan’s mistakes were more heavily scrutinized. Ivan does not read the game well, nor is he quick to react and often will be ball watching. His size does not lend itself to quick movement, so he is often caught out by a good through ball. But he has potential, and given the lack of center backs, Ivan should get a chance to prove himself. With Malaga now capable of buying just about any player they want, he may not have much of a shot if he is to return to his parent club. But this year he will be able to put himself in the shop window, so there should be some strong showings. If Torril can pair him with a speedier and more intelligent (in the game) player, he may excel.

Dani Carvajal:

Winning the u-19 European Championship should put many on notice, that Dani Carvajal is a serious talent. After a solid year with Castilla, he was able to push himself in to the first team of the Spanish selection and performed well in the tournament, dispelling the naysayers who claim Real cannot provide players to youth teams after none were chosen for the u-21 European Championship. Carvajal is small in stature but fierce in a challenge and incredibly dedicated and competitive. Very fast, and comfortable in attack and defense, he is the modern wing back prototype. I really like the kid, and he has trained with the first team before, but I have a feeling his size (5’8″) will restrict major interest for the time being.

Carvajal will have serious limitations when it comes to making it to the first squad given Ramos and Arbeloa are both excellent players. His future may lie away from the club, but he has another year to develop in the Castilla before he thinks about his next step. Like Nacho, alot will depend on the make up of the first team in the coming years. Will Ramos become a permanent center back? Will Arbeloa become a permanent left back fill in? Will Miguel Torres move to the EPL, leaving Getafe needing a right back? Hard to say, but Carvajal will continue his development this year and we should keep an eye on him.

Pablo Gil:

While I praised Nacho’s versatility as a way to show value to the first team, in Pablo Gil’s case, it may harm your prospects also. Gil arrive at the club last year as one of many recruits, but has yet to set himself apart, and has been used as a fill in when needed. This year he may get his chance to start at center back, the position where he caught the eye when playing for Albacete before moving to Castilla. I do not think he has much of a chance at playing for the first team, but he will be a steady presence at the back.

Rios:

I have never seen Rios play, nor have I been able to learn much about him. He came from Sevilla Atletico this summer, and is able to play at left or center back, but beyond that little is known. He should be used in both roles to fill in for Casado or Nacho, or in the center if he ends up being a good partner for Ivan. This signing looks like providing depth at the back, not necessarily bringing in a player capable of pushing on to the first team, and the amount of playing time he will get depends on where some of the more establish players will end up come September 1.

Midfield

Mandi:

A defensive midfielder who can play at the back, Mandi is limited technically but can read the game well and break up plays. With Alex and Fran Rico, he lost his place because he had to narrow a skill set, but with Fran Rico gone, and the team in need of a playmaker, Alex may be asked to make more runs up the field, which would mean Mandi would start as the “water carrier”. Another player who was brought in last year by Melenedez, he has little shot of making the jump to first team football, and this will surely be his last season at the club. There are similar options from within the club, so he may even have to be content with riding the bench.

Alex Fernandez:

A fantastic player, and the prototype Spanish central midfielder, Alex is another in a long line of the Madrid version of the player everyone raves about as being a Barcelona-only phenomenon. This type of ball winning and cerebral central midfielder who does a little bit of everything well has been around for awhile, but many of you may remember Redondo, who was the most recent manifestation of this classic role. De la Red, Borja Valero, Jurado, Granero, and Dani Parejo have all followed the same path Alex is on, with a strong rise through the youth ranks as well as representing several international selections and having made their first team debut before they hit 20. The question is, where does Alex go from here?

Much like his brother Nacho and Carvajal, his path to the first team is blocked by the likes of Granero, Sahin, Xabi and Khedira, and he may find his future lies away from the club. Its a real pity, because he is a very good player, the type of player the first team has been purchasing rather than producing in the last few years, despite the list of very talented players above. Alex could become a Redondo-esque player if given the time to develop. He will play for Castilla for the remainder of the year, but I have no doubt there will be serious interest in him come next summer. He is to good to play in the third division, and will certainly make the step up to La Liga with ease.

Omar:

A new recruit to the Castilla team, Omar is a highly rated attacking midfielder who came straight up from the Juvenil A team along with Jese. I have not seen much of him other than in the preseason friendlies, but he looks like he will be a box to box type player thrust in to a more attacking role. Whether he can cover the loss of Sarabia remains to be seen, and I dont think he will, but he could be very useful in other roles. He will need this season to develop and for Torril to figure where best to fit him in. Look for him to make more of an impact of the bench before he gets a starting role just yet.

Lucas Vazquez:
A player promoted from the C team, I do not know much about him. Sorry, happens sometimes.

Jose Zamora:

Another player that was brought in, this time form Eibar by way of Espanyol, and never really lived up to expectation. He has had some injury problems, and spent the last two years on loan with Ponferradina and Halmstads in Sweeden. He has no future at the club, probably why he was loaned to Halmstads, but may be kept around as an extra body. Expect to see him gone before the window closes as long as Torril can replace him.

Javi Hernandez:
The younger cousin of Real Madrid legend Guti, Javi Hernandez was another player loaned to Halmstads last year because he was not needed by the team. He had some serious knee injuries hamper his development and probably his shot at being an important player for the Castilla team. I do remember two years ago when he was fit, he played very well behind a loan striker and contributed with some goals, but at this point, it is better if he moves on for his career.

Victor Merchan:
Another player to have been with the club for 10 years now, Merchan was a bit of a phenom when he was much younger, and was part of that great Juvenil team along with Sarabia, Juan Carlos and Morata. He often plays out wide, but he is very much a player who cuts in and likes to drift centrally, and may even fight for the central play maker role this year. Torril has also used him in central midfield in place of Alex, which could work if he was to improve on his defensive skill set. Merchan may not have much of a chance at a top level career, but he is a very good player for the Castilla side, and will end up in the Segunda or Segunda B when his contract runs out.

Antonio Martinez:
A defensive midfielder who has been with the club for ten years, Martinez started his Castilla career off with a serious knee injury, which kept him out of action until the tale end of last season. When he did return to the field, he impressed and even scored a goal in his eight appearances. While I do not know much more about him than that, I have the feeling he may end up partnering Alex in the center of midfield, over taking Mandi as the sole defensive midfielder. He had worked with Torril in the C team before, so this may be his year to shine, if he can stay injury free.

Strikers/Wingers:

Jese:

I think everyone is aware that Jese is a very good player, who has spent the entire preseason with the first team despite being 18. Jese has been on the radar for a few years now, having been impressive in the u-17 European Championships (oddly he was not selected for the u-17 World Cup this year) and having scored 17 goals for the Juvenil A side last year. He appeared three times for Castilla last season, and will go straight in to the team on the right, where he will replace Juanfran. Many have hoped he could replace Sarabia, given the precocious talent the two both possess. But while Sarabia has always been a playmaker, but was used a winger, Jese has always been a winger, and might not work as well in a central role. Of course this all depends on whether Jese will even be with the Castilla team this year, or if he will end up wit the first team more often than not. A fantastic prospect that will have a bit of expectation on his shoulders this year if he does end up with Castilla.

Alvaro Morata:

While Soldado, Callejon and Negredo have all starred for the Castilla in previous years and scored a plenty, no one has looked as good as Alvaro Morata at this age. He rose through the ranks quickly after joining from Getafe, and the same can be said in the Spanish youth categories. Every team he has played in there have been goals, but not just with his head, which you would assume would be his best attribute given his size. He has great foot skills and balance for a big man, and is very involved in build up play. You may be surprised when you watch him play, as while he is positioned as a target man, he can drift around playing 1-2s and little flick ons before appearing in the box or making a nice run which he always seems to finish off. I would rate him a far better player than Soldao or Negredo were at 19, and he has the potential to be a starter for the first team.

While Sarabia has moved on to Getafe, Morata is still with the Castilla despite having won the Golden Boot at the European Championship and having been the teams tops scorer last year with 15 goals. While it might be a good thing that Morata is still with the Castilla team, given he is still young and the team needs to fight for promotion, I am suspicious that there are other motives. First being that Joselu may be ready to move on, but more likely, that Mourinho and the Real Madrid staff are hedging their bets that a third striker will not be purchased, and that Morata will end up in the position as de facto, even though he will spend time with the Castilla team. He still can develop further, but I either want this kid with the first team and playing or out on loan playing, because he is far to good to play third division football for to much longer.

Joselu:

Joselu has been a prodigy since he was 14, when he started playing for Celta’s B team. He went on to make 28 appearances for Celta Vigo in the Segunda in 2009, and last year joined Castilla where he scored 14 goals, his most prolific year in his career. That was the early knock on the player, who despite his size and talent, was never a sharp finisher, despite being in good positions. This past year he came on leaps and bounds, and has added finishing and some nifty foot work to his game, but he still has a way to go before being ready for La Liga football. Jose Mourinho took him along the tour of the US this preseason and he looked good when given better service, and of course he scored on his first team debut last year against Almeria. The question for the player is, if he has a strong start to the season with Castilla, will there be a spot for him in the first team, or will he be looking to move away from the club by the winter windows os he can start playing at a higher level? Hard to tell just yet, but expect another double digit year from him if he stays.

Oscar Plano:

Oscar Plano was promoted from the C team this season, but played twice with Castilla at the end of last year, scoring once. Plano has always had an impressive scoring record in the various youth teams, but this preseason he has really showed his abilities by scoring in all three preseason games. Given Morata will need some time off to rest after the Euro triumph, and that will give him an opportunity to stake his claim in the team. Another factor weighing in his favor is that without a true playmaker, Torril may end up using a 4-4-2, which would give Plano the chance to partner Joselu or Morata, where I think he could really thrive. Plano is a quick player, and very good at positioning himself to capitalize on mistakes in the box. He may need to add a little muscle in order to hold the ball up better, but there is no doubt he will score plenty of goals. He may be a surprise come the end of the year, especially if Joselu or Morata ends up leaving.

Raul Ruiz:
Raul Ruiz came to Castilla as one of the most highly rated young players I can remember the team recruiting at that point. Typically players are recruited well before they make their senior debut in the Segunda and end up playing ten times in a season. Ruiz was also a u-21 international at the age of 19, so you understand why he was highly rated. Unfortunately he has never showed exactly why he was so highly rated at first, with a combination of injuries, indifferent form and when he did play, a lack of end product to his play. He was loaned to Halmstads last year along with Javi Hernanez and Jose Zamora, but unlike those two, he may still have a future with the Castilla team this year. A call to the firs teams is out of the question at this point, but if he can get himself fit and productive, he may be a useful player, filling in for Juanfran if he is to leave.

Denis:

Despite being 20 years old, Denis already has 41 appearances for the Castilla team. He made his debut as a 17 year old three years ago, and spent most of last season as a substitute, but made a great impact off the bench, scoring three times and adding numerous assists. Denis is an interesting player, as he was born in Russia but has spent his entire playing career in Spain because his father played for Sporting Gijon in the 90s. He joined Real in 2002, and this year he got his first two call ups to the Russia u-22 team, which must be great for him considering he is not based in Russia and never has been. Denis speaks fluent Spanish, and plays like a Spanish winger, but he looks like a young Russian boy.

I think this year will be Denis’ break out, as he is now been thrust in to the starting role on the left of the attacking band of three. He will be providing crosses for Joselu and Morata to head home, but more importantly, he will have a greater impact because he will start the game. He will also have to become more creative since the team lacks a clear playmaker at this point, as well as chipping in with a few more goals. He is an exciting looking player, who has trained with the first team before, so lets keep our fingers crossed that Mourinho takes a look at him. I rate him highly, but he needs to take his chance this season.

Juanfran:

Get this boy on a plane to Barcelona ASAP! Still with the Castilla team, but rumored to be close to a move to Espanyol, Juanfran Moreno has always been a favored player of mine. Never fully trusted because of his lack of concentration at points during a game as well as his inconsistency, he is a very fast and skilled winger with a great delivery in to the box, and goal scoring ability. He has played for the first team once in 2010, and had made the traveling squad on numerous occasions last year under Mourinho. Why he never made the break through is still unknown, but he is now at a point where his development is all but finished at the third division level, and he needs to move on in order to further his career. Espanyol would be the perfect place for him, and I would say sell him outright and let him be. I doubt we will ever buy him back, so let him go and grace the league with his skills.

Ruben Ramos:
Ruben Ramos was a prolific and creative second striker for Atletico Madrid’s youth team before moving to the Castilla team last season. Since then he has only made a handful of appearances due to injuries and indifferent form. A return of three goals in nineteen appearances is hardly what you would look for from a striker. Torril may try using him as the playmaker this year given the lack of options, but Ramos is surely on the chopping block if they can offload him. Another player Torril did not sign but is still in the squad, basically as dead weight along with the Halmstad boys, Mandi and the carousel of center backs that have been brought in to the club.

Cristian:
Like Raul Ruiz, Cristian was brought in to the Castilla team two years ago after appearing for home town side Alicante. Cristian is a decent finisher, but he does not have the size and power of Joselu or Morata to lead the line as a loan striker, nor is he versatile enough to play behind one of those two, or out wide. He spent last year on loan at Valencia Mestalla, scoring 11 times in 16 games, as their side returned to the Segunda B. He has played a bit in preseason and scored once, but I cant see him being used much this coming year, given the depth Castilla has in the striker department. May be headed back to Valencia Mestalla if Palco Alcacer, who scored the two goals in the u-19 final for Spain, gets promoted to the first team this year.

With the player evaluations complete, I can say that while last year’s squad was far superior in terms of talent, this squad is still solid. Torril will work on using some of the older (22 which is not really that old!) to create a solid base with which to let the new players from the C team express themselves. I also think Denis will have a very strong season and impress quite a few people. While I cannot say they will be promoted this year, they will be a good bet for the playoffs given Torril’s excellent track record and the quality the squad has compared to many of the other B teams in the group. But this year is a transition year, with a few C team players getting their feet wet, but many more to come next year.

Below is a listing of the club’s schedule for the Segunda B, with home and away fixtures listed.


CALENDARIO DE LIGA COMPLETO DEL REAL MADRID CASTILLA
PRIMERA VUELTA SEGUNDA VUELTA PARTIDO
JORNADA 1
21 AGOSTO JORNADA 20
15 ENERO REAL MADRID CASTILLA – Sporting de Gijón B
JORNADA 2
28 AGOSTO JORNADA 21
22 ENERO Conquense – REAL MADRID CASTILLA
JORNADA 3
4 SEPTIEMBRE JORNADA 22
29 ENERO REAL MADRID CASTILLA – Albacete
JORNADA 4
11 SEPTIEMBRE JORNADA 23
5 FEBRERO Coruxo – REAL MADRID CASTILLA
JORNADA 5
18 SEPTIEMBRE JORNADA 24
12 FEBRERO REAL MADRID CASTILLA – Getafe
JORNADA 6
25 SEPTIEMBRE
JORNADA 25
19 FEBRERO Montañeros – REAL MADRID CASTILLA
JORNADA 7
2 OCTUBRE JORNADA 26
26 FEBRERO La Roda – REAL MADRID CASTILLA
JORNADA 8
9 OCTUBRE JORNADA 27
4 MARZO REAL MADRID CASTILLA –
C. D. Tenerife
JORNADA 9
16 OCTUBRE JORNADA 28
11 MARZO Rayo Vallecano B – REAL MADRID CASTILLA
JORNADA 10
23 OCTUBRE JORNADA 29
18 MARZO REAL MADRID CASTILLA – San Sebastián de los Reyes
JORNADA 11
30 OCTUBRE JORNADA 30
21 MARZO Leganés – REAL MADRID CASTILLA
JORNADA 12
6 NOVIEMBRE JORNADA 31
25 MARZO REAL MADRID CASTILLA – Toledo
JORNADA 13
13 NOVIEMBRE JORNADA 32
1 ABRIL Celta de Vigo B – REAL MADRID CASTILLA
JORNADA 14
20 NOVIEMBRE JORNADA 33
8 ABRIL REAL MADRID CASTILLA – Lugo
JORNADA 15
27 NOVIEMBRE JORNADA 34
15 ABRIL Atlético de Madrid B – REAL MADRID CASTILLA
JORNADA 16
4 DICIEMBRE JORNADA 35
22 ABRIL REAL MADRID CASTILLA – Real Oviedo
JORNADA 17
11 DICIEMBRE JORNADA 36
29 ABRIL Marino de Luanco – REAL MADRID CASTILLA
JORNADA 18
18 DICIEMBRE JORNADA 37
6 MAYO REAL MADRID CASTILLA – Alcalá
JORNADA 19
8 ENERO JORNADA 38
13 MAYO Vecindario – REAL MADRID CASTILLA

Real Madrid Castilla have taken part in the Madrid group of the Segunda B since the restructuring of the league a few years back. Of course this means several derbi matches every year, but it also means that besides the B teams, there is usually one or two very strong sides located just outside Madrid that are usually favorites for promotion. This year Real Oviedo, Albacete and Tenerife are all in the group and must be considered the favorites to return to the Segunda. All three clubs were in the Primera at some point in their history, so Castilla will have a very difficult league campaign ahead of them given these historic, and much large clubs.

Finally, let us discuss some tactics and possible formations that Torril may look to through the season. As I mentioned a few times in the article, I believe the main weakness besides the center of defense will be the lack of a central playmaker that keeps the 4-2-3-1 formation ticking and creates the most chances. Torril will thus either find a replacement for Sarabia, something it looks like he is willing to do given the preseason friendlies, or utilize a new formation to better suit his creatively limited squad:

Torril’s Expected 4-3-2-1

————–Mejias————
Carvajal—-Ivan—Rios—Casado
———-Alex—Mandi———-
Jese———-Omar———Denis
————-Morata————-

My Preferred 4-3-2-1

—————Jesus————–
Carvajal—–Ivan–Nacho—-Casado
————Alex—Antonio——–
Jese———Merchan———Denis
—————Morata————–

4-4-2

————-Mejias—————-
Carvajal—Ivan–Pablo Gil—Casado
Jese——Alex—–Mandi——Denis
———–Morata—Joselu———

I dont personally think Omar has what it takes to replace Sarabia, nor do I think that would even be his best position. But it looks likely he will be given the chance to prove himself there. I would prefer to use him in the center of midfield, possibly in place of Antonio in my preferred lineup. It may look like a central midfield thats light on defense, but with Alex playing much deeper and physical contests not as pronounced in this formation, it is more about closing down the opposition than having one player to sit in front of the defense and actively tackle the opposition. With Omar and Alex you may find a good balance there, but I will go for Antonio Martinez to start, as he is a tidy player with more experience than Omar for now.

The 4-3-2-1 Torril will use might be familiar, but it limits his attack which is something he may not be able to afford. A 4-4-2 would be able to squeeze both Morata and Joselu, while still utilizing the excellent wing play Denis and Jese will bring, and further emphasizing the passing of Alex. This would require a far more disciplined and experienced midfielder in Mandi who would keep things tight. The 4-4-2 would allow Morata or Joselu to get involved with the play also but keep both on the field. The only problem with the 4-4-2 is that the play making role will fall primarily on Alex, who is not as close to the strikers as he would be in a 4-3-2-1, but then again he is not the type of player who thrives further up the pitch. If Torril could get Jese and Denis to wipe balls in to the box, but also emphasize to Jese to float in to the middle from time to time to link up closer to Morata, it may work. Then again, if you want Jese to do that, why not just play him as the playmaker in the 4-3-2-1? Difficult decisions.

So thats it, the Castilla preview for 2011/2012. Please leave your comments below on the article or if I left anything out. If I see even one comment about some stupid transfer gossip I will delete it, we dont work on these articles for days so people can ignore them and talk about how cute Neymar’s hair is and thats why we should buy him or how much they love Mourinho. Yeah we know, you have said it a thousand times before. Enjoy and check out the podcast page for a new upload. HALA MADRID!