How Real Madrid’s 19 wonderkids on FM2020 have developed IRL this season
Real Madrid are more renowned for buying the best players in the world rather than developing them, but the Los Blancos have some of the most exciting young players around currently on their books.
According to Football Manager 2020’s list of 650 Wonderkids, as compiled by FMScout.com, 19 are currently contracted to Real. That’s defined as “players with high potential ability who are not older than 20 years old on July 1, 2019”.
Here’s how they’re getting on in real life.
After starting his career in his native Ukraine and experiencing first-team football as a teenager with Dnipro and Zorya Luhansk, Lunin was signed by Real Madrid in a deal worth a potential €13.5million in 2018.
The 21-year-old made a handful of appearances on loan at Leganes last season before joining Real Vallodolid on loan at the start of 2019-20.
Lunin failed to establish himself as No.1 at Vallodolid and made a loan switch to second-tier Real Oviedo in January. He has fared better after dropping down a division, making nine appearances before football was postponed.
David de la Vibora
Still just 17 – footballers born in 2003 feels very wrong – plenty of interest surrounded De la Vibora in 2019 after Real Madrid handed the winger a pro contract amid interest from Juventus, Liverpool, PSG, Tottenham and Manchester United.
With time on his side, De la Vibora has spent the season with Real’s Under-17 side.
An established player at senior level, albeit at Borussia Dortmund, Hakimi has spent the last two seasons on loan at the Bundesliga outfit, impressing both at full-back and on the wing.
“Achraf is the world’s best right-back together with Trent Alexander-Arnold,” the player’s agent, Alejandro Camano, told Sky in April. “All the big teams in Europe want him, and that includes Real Madrid, of course. But BVB are still an option for us. At the moment, we’re just waiting.”
The first player on this list making his mark on Real’s first team, Valverde has added some typical Uruguayan bite to Los Blancos’ midfield, building on the 25 appearances he made last season with another 32 in 2019-20.
Valverde’s sh*thousery even earned praise from Diego Simeone after a particularly dastardly red card in the Spanish Super Cup victory over Atletico Madrid. Praise doesn’t come much higher.
Signed from Sevilla in 2013, 21-year-old Calderon is yet to appear for Real Madrid’s first team and has spent the last two seasons playing in midfield for the Castilla.
According to Google, Miguel Baeza is either a 20-year-old midfielder for Real Madrid Castilla or a MMA fighter nicknamed ‘Caramel Thunder’.
We really hope it’s the latter.
In January 2019, Sintes was signed by Real Madrid alongside fellow Real Mallorca centre-back Pablo Ramon in a combined €1million deal, following in the footsteps on Marco Asensio, who made the same move.
The young duo remained at Mallorca on loan until the end of 2018-19 with Sintes, now 18, spending 2019-20 with Real Madrid’s Under-19 side.
“Quick and with a sweet left foot,” is the description of Arribas on Real Madrid’s official website, which means we already like him.
Given the 18-year-old midfielder has spent the season with Real’s Under-19s, it seems like it might be a while before we can see if that’s the case.
Not Theo Hernandez, the left-back Real Madrid sold to AC Milan last summer, but rather Theo Fernandez, a 17-year-old French midfielder who is currently a member of Real’s Under-19 squad.
At least Barcelona have loaned most of their wonderkids out so we had something to say about them.
Now we’re talking. One of Real’s big investments in a hot prospect from Brazil in recent years, Rodrygo was signed in a €45million deal, arriving last summer.
The 19-year-old forward has endured a mixed debut campaign at the Bernabeu, scoring a minute into his debut and bagging a perfect hat-trick against Galatasaray in the Champions League, only to fall out of favour and get sent off after being dropped down to the Castilla side in February.
Time is still on the Brazil international’s side, of whom Zinedine Zidane said: “His first touch is unbelievable, it’s worth half a goal.”
The most high-profile name on this list, Vinicius was another €45million signing from Brazil and made 31 appearances in all competitions in his debut 2018-19 season at the club.
Despite the frustration of being briefly overtaken in the pecking order by Rodrygo in 2019-20, Vinicius bounced back to score the opening goal in El Clasico just before football was postponed, meaning he has matched his tally of four goals from the previous campaign.
⚪ VINICIUS JUNIOR SCORES FOR MADRID!
— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) March 1, 2020
Vallejo refused to sign a new contract at Malaga and joined Madrid in January 2020 for just €350,000.
The 20-year-old was then sent straight out on loan to Segunda Division side Deportivo La Coruna for the remainder of the season.
One of the more high-profile names on this list, Odegaard made his first-team debut for Madrid at the age of 16 in 2015.
The 21-year-old joined Real Sociedad on loan in 2019 and has been in incredible form this season, netting four goals and providing five assists in La Liga.
He even scored against his parent club in February and helped to knock them out of the Copa del Rey.
“My goal is to succeed at Real Madrid, but I’m happy at La Real for now,” Odegaard told El Larguero in 2019.
“I don’t care if I have to wait two or five years to play for Real Madrid. I want to win La Liga with Real Madrid.”
Previously a member of Barcelona’s academy, Kubo was forced to leave in 2015 after the club was investigated for breaking FIFA regulations on signing young players.
He was expected to return to the Nou Camp after turning 18 but shocked everyone by opting to sign for Madrid.
The midfielder has spent the 2019-20 season on loan with Mallorca, contributing three goals and three assists in 24 La Liga appearances.
“After turning 18, I had the chance to choose a team and I chose Real Madrid because of their interest in me,” Kubo told AS in April 2020. “I’m very grateful. And now I’m a big Madrid fan.
“[My dream is] to be a great player and to do great things at Real Madrid. Also for Japan. It all depends on me and I will have a place at Real Madrid.
“I’m going to keep working and I’ll wait for my opportunity. When it arrives, I won’t waste it.”
Reinier joined Madrid in January 2020 and became the third young Brazilian to be signed by the club in the last two years.
The 18-year-old has made three appearances for the Castilla this season, scoring two goals.
When years of sacrifice finally pay off.
This is what it means for Reinier, who is living his childhood dream at Real Madrid 🙏 pic.twitter.com/ZWbg5nrzNg
— Goal (@goal) February 18, 2020
Regarded as one of the brightest prospects in Europe at the time of his arrival, Madrid spent £15.5million to sign Diaz from Manchester City in January 2019.
But the 20-year-old is behind the likes of Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale and Lucas Vazquez in the pecking order and has been limited to seven appearances in all competitions this season.
Despite struggling for regular playing time at the Bernabeu, he rejected a loan move to Getafe in January 2020.
Gelabert has featured in 13 Segunda B matches for the Castilla side this season but is yet to make his first-team debut.
The 19-year-old attacking midfielder has just over a year left on his contract with Madrid and has been linked with Lyon, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund.
Gomez has starred for the Castilla over the last few years but joined CD Tenerife on loan in search of regular first-team football.
The striker has scored eight goals in 31 appearances in all competitions this season.
Vassi was previously on the books at Valencia and was wanted by Atletico Madrid before the city rivals won the race for his signature in 2017.
The winger has been promoted to the under-19s this season, and his form over the past two years have alerted Greece to the potential availability of the Spanish-born talent.