Real Madrid: A young player to know on each La Liga team in 2020-21

Real Madrid, Rodrygo Goes (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Rodrygo Goes (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images) /
5 of 6
Real Betis, Emerson
Real Betis, Emerson (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images) /

RB Emerson, Real Betis

Real Betis look poised to win a Europa League spot in Manuel Pellegrini’s first season managing the club, as Los Verdiblancos are flush with veteran talent like attackers Sergio Canales and Nabil Fekir. But out of their few young players, right back Emerson is definitely the one to watch.

He has his hazy moments defensively, such as the costly red card in their eventual loss to Real Madrid this season, but he is an exciting attacking player who makes a lot of defensive involvements. Emerson has 2.8 tackles per game and 2.1 interceptions per game this season with 1.1 key passes per game on offense. The man loves pushing up the pitch to help the Betis attack.

LW Mikel Oyarzabal, Real Sociedad

There are so many fantastic talents on Real Sociedad, like midfielder Mikel Merino and striker Alexander Isak. But there is nobody who quite captures headlines like Mikel Oyarzabal, who may be the most valuable young Spanish footballer.

A brilliant attacker with an innate feel for space and elite technical quality, Oyarzabal has scored eight goals with four assists for La Real in the 2020-2021 season. Even without Martin Odegaard feeding him, the left-footed forward is thriving. He plays a big creative role in his own right with 1.6 key passes per game. Real Madrid will most likely never sign him, but he could one day be a major threat in the Champions League for a rival outside Spain.

CB Pau Torres, Villarreal

As with Real Sociedad, there are a few candidates on the Yellow Submarine, but Spanish international Pau Torres is the clear favorite. The 24-year-old center back is reportedly on Real Madrid’s radar, as he is a rapidly-improving defender who is good with the ball at his feet. Torres will be a national team starter for the future. He probably won’t make the big move to Madrid, but he could be playing for another big Champions League side within a few years.

CB Jules Kounde, Sevilla

Jules Kounde has serious competition for this space, as Youssef En-Nesyri has blossomed into one of La Liga’s top strikers with 12 goals so far this season. He is easily clear of Luuk de Jong. That said, Kounde is still the best choice, as the 22-year-old center back is so composed and intelligent that it is often hard to believe he is still under 23. Most young center backs aren’t nearly this consistent and adept at reading the game.

Real Madrid fans have Kounde at the top of their center back wishlist, but he is barely a more realistic option than Juventus’ Matthijs de Ligt. Sevilla paid a pretty penny to get him from Bordeaux, and that was before he became a well-known name at center back. There are very, very few center backs in La Liga better than Kounde.