Real Madrid: Hugo Duro is the latest Castilla sensation

Real Madrid, Hugo Duro (Photo by Emmanuele Ciancaglini/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Hugo Duro (Photo by Emmanuele Ciancaglini/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Raul Gonzalez, the Real Madrid legend, was appointed as the Real Madrid Castilla manager in 2019, but he couldn’t achieve his objectives as the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He had some issues with the squad concerning the lack of quality, especially in the goalscoring department. He was determined to bring in a new striker, and he specially requested the management to sign a 20-year-old Spanish striker Hugo Duro on loan from Getafe.

It was strange to see a promising player transferred to a Segunda B club, since Duro was gonna turn 21 in three months, and was getting some chances at Getafe. He also played against Real Madrid in a 1-0 loss at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano in July 2020. It was a risky move for the Spaniard, because it is always a downgrade from LaLiga to Segunda B. But he wasn’t looking at the name Castilla, he was looking at the name of ‘Real Madrid’.

His move to Real Madrid on a loan for one year was confirmed in August 2020 and the initial impressions were very good. He scored in the pre-season games, and he looked very promising. He continued the good form into Segunda B, scoring 8 times for Castilla in the revamped competition. He had shown composure before the goal, and he was strong enough to shrug off challenges and take on the physical defenders of the Spanish third division.

His gameplay reminds a lot of people of his current manager and the Real Madrid legend Raul. If anyone watches him play for Castilla, they can understand that his role is similar to that of Karim Benzema for the first-team. He has been very active in the build-up, as he likes to drop deep and link-up with his teammates. He’s strong and quick, with a solid physique. His passing and dribbling look fine, but his finishing with his left foot and heading abilities have been the most impressive. He knows how to get into the right positions and how to get onto the end of the dangerous crosses and passes from his teammates.

Hugo Duro now has an opportunity at Real Madrid as a backup striker

At the beginning of the season, it looked like he might never get chances with the first team as there were four strikers in Karim Benzema, Luka Jovic, Borja Mayoral, and Mariano Diaz. Though Mayoral left on loan for Roma, there were still three strikers in the Real Madrid first-team. A first-team chance looked unlikely, but fortune favoured him as he earned a call up for a UEFA Champions League match against Inter Milan in November 2020, with Karim Benzema out injured and Luka Jovic quarantined due to a positive COVID-19 result. Though he didn’t get any minutes, a call-up for the Champions League was a huge thing for the Spanish striker as he never expected that.

After returning from Milan, he had to rush to give an exam the next day, at Carlos III University in Madrid. He studies Mechanical Engineering there, a course he’s pursuing as per his parent’s wishes. Though many professional players of his age give up their studies in their teens, Hugo is firmly committed to his studies. It takes a lot of effort to manage studies and professional football at the same time, and it’s highly appreciable that Hugo has been dedicated to both of them.

Hugo had to wait long for his next opportunity, but Luka Jovic leaving on loan in January opened a slight possibility of him being called up in the future. And Mariano’s injury record meant there was a higher chance of him getting into the mix. He did get a call up in February, for the game against Real Valladolid, as the team’s main striker Karim Benzema was injured. He got to play 24 minutes and make his LaLiga debut for Real Madrid, and he looked very promising and the maturity was visible. He linked up well with others, and the presence of his Castilla teammate Arribas on the right helped him a lot.

As a reward for his impressive performance, he was given a chance to make his Champions League debut against Atalanta, as he came on for Isco in the second half, and he again looked solid, dropping deep to link-up with his team-mates, and provided a constant threat with his left foot. His agent was very happy to see him make his debut in the greatest club competition, as he said “It was a risk for Hugo to leave Getafe for Castilla but time has proved us right. As a child debuting in the Champions League with a team like Real Madrid is anyone’s dream,” as reported by Cope and relayed by Madrid Xtra on Twitter.

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He might have to return to Getafe at the end of the season, but everything suggests that Real Madrid are impressed by the striker, and they would like to activate the purchase option in his loan deal. Considering the current striking options and with names like Erling Haaland being linked, he might not get an immediate opportunity with the first-team if he’s bought. But he might be loaned out so that he can improve even more and then come back in the future to fight for a position. He’s a talent you shouldn’t lose at any cost, and Real Madrid should make sure that they won’t let go of Hugo Duro.