The day that Vinicius fired at the back of Kiko Oliva and the ball bounced in the goal of Valladolid with ten minutes remaining, the Real Madrid strategists gathered in the box of the Bernabeu did not celebrate the victory (2-0) ) with the same emphasis with which they were alarmed at the lack of answers of the titular team to please a disappointed fan after the 5-1 of the Camp Nou. That Saturday, November 3, Santiago Solari debuted on the bench of the Bernabéu with a eleven which included Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Bale, Benzema and Asensio, the core of Florentino Pérez's project to storm the season. The president trusted that the vein of Cristiano would unleash the ambition contained in players who had occupied a more or less secondary place in the conquests of the last Champions. The visit of Valladolid put an end to this conviction. Since then the leaders activated plan B. Orders are issued to resort to the quarry as a step prior to the total renovation. The team that today visits Cornellá (Movistar Partidazo, 8:45 pm) is the result of this change of course.
"In moments of sports and economic crisis, more players come out of the quarries, both in small and large clubs," says Alberto Giráldez, director of the lower categories of Madrid until 2014. "In situations of prosperity clubs are less focused on boys . La Quinta in 85, Raúl in 94, Casillas in 99 … all came up in times of difficulty. "
Reluctant to listen to the suggestions sent by the president through various employees, Julen Lopetegui stopped the entry of homegrown in the first team until he was dismissed. Santiago Solari, his successor on the bench, quickly amended it. With the exception of Nacho and Casemiro, all the players with a history of the Valdebebas school have increased their participation.
Solari, who came to lead Castilla and whose vocation brings him closer to the formation than to the first team, has given 870 minutes of competition to Vinicius, who became his 13th player after being the 22nd in the time distribution ranking. The new coach has bridnado 760 minutes to Llorente, returned to the 15th position after not having noticed in the 23rd of Lopetegui; 717 minutes to Reguilón, already seated as a substitute for Marcelo; 577 to Valverde, and 346 to Javi Sánchez who had not played. In addition, he has promoted the debut of Christ, Francisco García and Fidalgo in the search for accomplices that he has known for years. His preference for Lucas Vázquez, of 16º with Lopetegui to 4º of the staff, expresses the way of acting. In case of doubts, the canteranos offer more guarantees. Even to the detriment of Isco and Asensio.
"The need favors the quarry," says Jorge Valdano. "When I was coach of Madrid, there was another moment of need. That's why Raul, Guti, Rivera, Victor … We trained up to three times a week with a select group of canteranos to try to advance their adaptation and finally to throw them into the cage of the lions. I found that there was no money in the club. When I left, Illgner, Secretary, Panucci, Mijatovic, Seedorf, Suker, Roberto Carlos arrived the following year. If you have all those consecrated figures at your disposal, you do not bet on young people. And these players, like Reguilón, like Carvajal, or like Lucas, help the team's football and sentimental consistency. That is also important in these moments where football seems to have no roots. "
The quarry is essential but it has not been enough. In the last 40 years Madrid has not managed to compete in Europe without making large investments in signings and salaries. Now, a new trend is observed. Since 2016 the club reduces expenses. The 250 million euros pledged to hire players in this period contrast with the 300 that has entered the club detaching figures like Cristiano. That since 2016 the oldest player to arrive-out of a total of 20-has been Courtois, with 26 years, results in a deep salary cut.
Eight of 27
Up to 27 players left the quarry had minutes in the first team between 2012 and 2017. Eight of them remain: Casemiro, Carvajal, Nacho, Vallejo, Lucas Vázquez, Marcos Llorente, Mariano and Luca Zidane. Everyone except Nacho and Zidane acquired experience in European First Division teams before making the leap.
Miguel Ángel Portugal, who was the coach of one of the most prolific generations of Castilla between 1997 and 2006, points out a transformation: "In the 70s the canterano was not a recuse for times of crisis. There were three ways to strengthen the team: the good Spanish player, the three foreigners allowed by the regulation, and the good ones from the quarry. Currently the canterano is also prepared as a source of income. Before leaving Madrid was more difficult. Now there is so much money in football that it is not so important for the player to prepare to play in Madrid but to make a career. The quarry is like a master's degree. "
"Of those who have left in the last three years, Macos Llorente has the greatest potential," says Giráldez. "He is scrupulous in his preparation, disciplined. When he started he was much smaller than his teammates and this made him develop a strong competitive instinct. Two years will pass but he will become master there because he is a great player and has an advantage. The boys raised in Madrid adapt better because they understand the political and social background of the club. "
In recent decades Valdebebas has stopped focusing the Community of Madrid as a free source of talent to invest increasingly huge amounts in signing foreign teenagers. With Juni Calafat as head of international recruitment has been hired Casemiro (6 million to Sao Paulo), Vinicius (40 million to Flamengo) or Rodrygo (40 million to Santos).
"Since the Bosman law, Madrid has a world market and it is very difficult to consolidate in the first team", explains Valdano. "These guys who stick the jump from the quarry to the first team and now from Brazil or from Mallorca – like Vinicius and Asensio -, it only makes sense for them to remain if they are given a chance to play a minimum of 30 games in the season. Because it evolves competing and that is not easy when the daily requirement is as disproportionate as the one in Madrid. "
Accomplice of the consolidation of the Quinta del Buitre as a player, and responsible for the Madrid sports management in the periods 2000-2004 and 2009-2011, Valdano acquired status as sponsor of the quarry when in 1994 he supported the jump to the first team of Raúl, Guti, Víctor and Rivera. Your recipe is simple. "A young player, if he's not a genius, is full of flaws," he says. "If you want to make a career with that guy, you have to fall in love with a virtue … Generalemnte the boys who come to the first team of a big one have an outstanding virtue And falling in love with that virtue means giving them the confidence they need to do that many times He knows how to do, that's where the coach is important, many times the academic way of leading a quarry induces you to fall in love with players who have no defects, for me the important thing is to fall in love with players who have an outstanding virtue. "
"This situation can crush Vinicius"
"To the pibes you have to put them in good times because in bad times they burn ", warns Ángel Cappa, who as the second coach of Madrid at the hands of Valdano, was a direct witness of the appearance of Raúl, the last field player to reach the status of myth after leaving the quarry. "Raúl," continues Cappa, "appeared at a very propitious moment in a team where everything fit."
"The first official game was with Sevilla," recalls the coach, "at 15 seconds we won 0-3. At 15 minutes 0-3. Then they kicked Alfonso and he was injured for six months. There Raul appears. He incorporated his own into that gear. However now Madrid is in a moment of uncertainty. A young man appears and instead of joining something armed, he has to overcome obstacles. Instead of favoring it, this situation could crush it. "
"We," concludes Cappa, "arrived at a Madrid that had not won the League for four years. Everything we did was welcome. Now it's the other way around. It has entered a transition stage. Vinicius does not play with the tranquility of being protected in an order. He grabs the ball and wants to bargain with all the opponents to save the situation and this leads to bad play. Because he is not one link more than an armed group but they put it so that the ship does not sink. He assumes responsibilities that do not correspond to him. "
Archetype of the contemporary squad, developed in Valdebebas but trained in Rio de Janeiro, the spur of the new strategy of Madrid is Vinicius Júnior. He is only 18 years old and occupies the left wing of the attack, none other than Cristiano Ronaldo.
"We all see how difficult it is to find a coach in the face of a crisis," observes Jorge Valdano. "It's one thing to be a coach and another thing to be a Madrid coach."
Valdano points to two candidates: Raúl González and Xabi Alosno. Both practice in Valdebebas after savcarse the title. The former Real Madrid captain directs Cadet B while Xabi trains Real Madrid Infantil.
"Valdebebas", says Valdano, "not only has to be a pool of players but coaches and I think that now Real Madrid is facing a great opportunity because the two have knowledge and character to end up being relevant figures in football in quality of I know that they already have an exhaustive knowledge of everything that exists in the quarry of Madrid, before forming players you have to train trainers, and these have been two characters that have had a very great learning. for those who passed, in addition to players characterized by their intelligence, will allow them to handle the difficulties of football with personality mjucha ".
"We must not forget", concludes the former Madrid sports director, "that the most important person for the youth team is the coach of the first team, who is the one who has to have the courage to put the youth players in. That is much easier do if one has a great knowledge of the players ".