Real Madrid starlet Borja Mayoral is getting a lot of attention in recent weeks, quite deservedly one might add.
Zinedine Zidane has broken the mould with the 18-year-old striker and his decision to introduce a couple of young guns into the first-team charge at Real Madrid, who have been lacking their own youth products for some time now.
There have been no breakthrough within the club’s ranks since Alvaro Morata, who was himself forced to leave the club in order to forge his career elsewhere and Borja Mayoral is being regarded as the refreshing change for Los Blancos.
As Manchester United supporters will surely tell you at this point, fans of any club love to see a home-grown player making his way through the club and into the prominence.
And just like Marcus Rashford who has the Red Devils’ fans purring with excitement, Borja Mayoral is making the Real Madrid’s most faithful proud to see a youngster kicking the ball with world-class stars at Santiago Bernabeu.
So, who is Borja Mayoral?
One of Real Madrid’s brightest prospects, Borja Mayoral is the highly rated forward who has been with Real Madrid since 2007, when he joined the Los Blancos youth set-up.
A local kid, born in Parla, Madrid, made his senior debut in 2015 when he was awarded a cameo appearance for the reserves in a 1-0 win Segunda Division B win over Getafe CF B. He went on to play 28 matches for Real Madrid B and to score 13 goals in the process.
Borja Mayoral has been a rare positive thing that has come out of the FIFA transfer ban and the ongoing process of the club’s appeal.
Zidane’s decision to include his Castilla star into the first-team fold might not have been made had it not been for the ban, which could still see Real Madrid get punished during the next two transfer windows for signing underage players.
The Spain Under-21 international Borja Mayoral had said Cristiano Ronaldo was his model and was looking up to the Portuguese star, unaware of the fact he would be awarded an opportunity to play alongside his idol during this season.
Indeed, Spanish press has started to make comparisons between Mayoral and Ronaldo, but are also claiming that Borja Mayoral could be Real Madrid’s next Raul – the club’s bright future.
During the times of a crisis, Zinedine Zidane has recognized the need to put faith in home-grown talent he himself helped polish during his days at Castilla. And the Frenchman should be applauded for his courage.
Mayoral’s brace in the UEFA Youth League against Manchester City towards the end of February was enough for Zinedine Zidane to put faith in this youngster and get him on the pitch for the biggest debut performance he could actually have – the Madrid Derby.
His surprising inclusion in the 1-0 loss to Rojiblancos saw Mayoral make a minimal impact, but the 18-year-old striker impressed with his composure. Mayoral tickled the fans’ imagination, did even more with against Levante and Celta Vigo when he showed glimpses of his huge potential and quality.
Still, Real Madrid striker possesses great value that exceeds the pure sport aspects.
Modern football puts the commercial aspect of the game in the forefront and Real Madrid have been the leaders in that domain over the past decade and more.
Changing the focus to young blood, to diamonds rough around the edges that have the potential to be polished in proper gems will only help Florentino Perez get the backing of his voters.
Champions League debut
In the absence of Karim Benzema, Borja Mayoral is likely to be given his maiden UEFA Champions League appearance against AS Roma.
It will see him make a stunning journey from UEFA Youth League to elite competition in less than a month, an impressive leap to prominence for an 18-year-old boy.
With the French forward injured and well out of contention for the return-leg, Zinedine Zidane has included Mayoral for the team that will be facing AS Roma in a rematch that Real Madrid are heading into with a two-goal lead.
Real Madrid are standing at 2/5 to emerge victorious from the return leg at Santiago Bernabeu and Mayoral will be hoping to give his full contribution to the cause.
With Real Madrid effectively out of the La Liga, UEFA Champions League remains the only possibility of winning a trophy and saving the season.
Real Madrid might have lost several battles this campaign, but they have won a player of technical quality and tactical excellence whose qualities will be invaluable assets for the future of the club.