Real Madrid: A young forward Zinedine Zidane seems to be high on

Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by Stanislav Vedmid/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by Stanislav Vedmid/DeFodi Images via Getty Images) /

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has been criticized for not trusting the young players in the side enough, and the lack of minutes for Martin Odegaard has been cited as a damning example of the legend’s negligent usage of Real’s impressive young talent. That ignores the opportunities he has given to some of the other young players over the past couple of seasons, such as Fede Valverde and previously Vinicius Junior.

Zidane is in a tough spot where he wants to give the youngsters more chances, but it is tough to play them over the old guard or trust anyone but the proven Champions League winners when Real Madrid are (unfairly) expected to win every match.

That said, there seems to be a young forward from Castilla emerging on Zidane’s radar in a positive way, and he is none other than UEFA Youth Champions League winner Sergio Arribas.

According to a report from Manu de Juan of AS (report in Spanish), Zinedine Zidane is being “convinced” by Arribas and has “his eye on him”. The piece is filled with praise for Arribas and signs of Zidane having high expectations for the talented young player.

Sergio Arribas was preferred to Isco by the Real Madrid manager against Levante

We saw Arribas make his debut off the bench on Matchday 1 against Real Sociedad. Arribas even played out the final 15 minutes of Real’s crucial 2-0 Champions League win over Borussia Monchengladbach. And this past weekend, Zidane subbed in Arribas in the 82nd minute over the more experienced Isco – apparently “humiliating” Isco in the process.

Arribas is one of a few home-grown talents from Castilla that Madridistas should be watching closely. Midfielder Antonio Blanco and left back Miguel Gutierrez, who could replace Marcelo as Ferland Mendy’s backup next season, are two others.

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But right now, Arribas is the one making the most first-team appearances. He is a strong passer and highly-technical left-footed right winger, which means Marco Asensio may have to watch his back in the coming months if Arribas starts getting more playing time. Zidane’s own future may be uncertain at this stage, but Arribas’ should be bright.