Raúl González Blanco was not called upon to take the reins of the Real Madrid youth team that beat Benfica yesterday in the UEFA Youth League final. His work this season, after the pandemic slowed football with his Castilla four points from the playoff spots for promotion to Second, seemed finished. However, the white club chose to entrust him with the youth team to lead him in the final phase of the continental tournament. “The club decided that, as the final phase was going to be very short [it lasted nine days] it was the candidate to reach these guys. It was a pleasant surprise for me », explained Raúl himself.
And so, in just two seasons, the white legend has trained four different teams from the Madrid youth academy. After a year working as an advisor to Florentino Pérez , knowing the ins and outs of office work, in 2018 he made the leap to the benches taking charge of Cadet B. In March of last year, after the dismissal of Álvaro Benito , he went on to take charge of the Juvenile B. And last summer, Castilla, the jewel of Valdebebas, was entrusted to him.
On the horizon, no doubt, Real Madrid glimpse Raúl as the first team coach. Even more so after having successfully tested him in the lower categories. Because beyond the results, the white club are more than satisfied with the work he is doing in the different teams he has taken on. When the time comes, circumstances will dictate judgment, but at the moment Raúl is very well positioned as Zinedine Zidane's replacement when the Frenchman and Real Madrid part ways for the third time. Thus, the same pattern followed by Zizou himself, with undoubted success, and also by Santiago Solari , with much less success, would be repeated . All of them, curiously, members of the Ninth generation.
Raúl González gives instructions to his players.EFE
They also like details of internal management, such as the requirement that all Castilla players attend matches with club clothes and without mobile phones in hand or luxury items, reminding them that, no matter how much the shield of the Real Madrid, they are still Second B players and they have to behave as such at all times. And his rise over his players, as a legend in the life of the club and the Spanish team that he is, appears as a great factor in his favor in his career on the bench.
The key penalty save
The second title of his career - last year he was already regional champion with Youth B - arrived yesterday in Nyon. His Madrid showed the usual solvency in the competition and defeated Benfica in the final. Madrid reached the break 2-0, but the Portuguese club got off the canvas to force a 3-2 with a penalty in favor. Luis López , the white goalkeeper, prevented Benfica from consuming their comeback in 68 and sealed the victory for Raúl's team.
Until now, Real Madrid's top in this competition -created in 2013- were three semi-finals in the first four editions. With his victory, Spanish football adds three triumphs in the so-called youth Champions. The first two correspond to Barcelona, the inaugural champion in 2014 with Munir and Adama in the squad and again in 2018 with the participation of Riqui Puig and Carles Pérez . Names like Miguel Gutiérrez and Antonio Blanco may serve as a reference for future Youth League successes. And of course it will be Raúl's.
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