This post originally featured on our dedicated Real Madrid analysis site, realmadridanalysis.com
On December 1, 2018, Real Madrid supporters were given a glimpse at their future midfield lineup who have already demonstrated talents worthy enough of the Santiago Bernabeu stage.
Ahead of the match against Valencia, which finished 2-0 in favour of the hosts, head coach Santiago Solari decided to start youngsters Dani Ceballos (22) and Marcos Llorente (23) in the midfield and substitute Federico Valverde (20) later on in the game.
After losing to 3-0 Eibar only a few days prior, the team was desperate to claim three points and position themselves higher in the La Liga standings and the players above had a strong influence on the scoreline throughout the match.
The starting duo specifically was paired alongside Luka Modric, who was recently awarded the 2018 Ballon d’Or for his talents, as both Toni Kroos and Casemiro were sidelined with injuries.
And every one of the young midfielders pulled their weight, successfully proving they will be promising players for Real Madrid in the future.
At such a young age, Ceballos been a reliable player for both Real Madrid and the Spanish National Team and his style of play also appears to mimic the talents of Modric and Kroos.
So far throughout the 2018-19 LaLiga season, Ceballos has played 11 games, totalling 661 minutes which is already a major improvement compared to last years total of ten appearances.
Against Valencia, Ceballos maintained his position in the midfield and also helped Real Madrid in their attack, moving up the field and playing out wide if necessary.
His midfield passing rates are not far off from his fellow teammates as he only slightly trails behind the two in passes completed, chances created and through balls.
In his role on the pitch, he is eager to threaten his opponent’s defence and try to force errors, opts to maintain possession and always find ways to move closer to goal.
Despite being the oldest player in this list of young prospering talent, Llorente also impresses on the pitch and mimics the central midfielder talents of Casemiro.
Last season, the 23-year old appeared in 11 matches yet still maintained statistics that resembled the numbers of a routine player.
He averaged a passing accuracy of 93 per cent, which was usually around 17 metres long and won 41 per cent of his duels.
During the match again Valencia, Llorente played alongside his teammates and also dropped back in defence to cover the missing space from Dani Carvajal and Sergio Reguilon when needed.
When it came to his attacking duties, he completed 48/49 in the first half alone which was more than any other player and finished the game with a passing rate of 95 per cent, including one key pass.
Much like his older teammates and his partner Ceballos, Llorente likes to always have the ball at his feet but he is not afraid to fall back and defend when the team needs it.
In addition to Ceballos and Llorente, Uruguay’s Valverde came on as a substitute on Saturday in the 74th minute replacing Modric and after the swap, Real Madrid’s midfield average age dropped to a staggering 21.67.
When together on the Bernabeu stage, all three played with enough composure and talent to make it seem as if they were seasoned starters for the European Champions – for the amount of time they managed the midfield themselves, the covered almost every area.
Looking ahead to the future, the millennial-aged options Real Madrid has either act as substitutes or be in the starting XI are endless:
The player between the sticks could be Luca Zidane (20). The defence could possibly be Alvaro Odriozola (22), Jesus Vallejo (21), Sergio Reguilon (21), and Raphael Varane (25).
Then the midfield would feature the trio mentioned above and Borja Mayoral (21), Marco Asensio (22) and Mariano Diaz (25) could be the leading options for the attack.
By analysing the statistics of the young players, especially the three midfielders, there is no denying that there is a great amount of talent developing within the squad and they are already displaying elite level football skills.