It is quite remarkable. Real Madrid always seem to have a wealth of talent on their books. The most successful team in European football history have had a star studded squad for a long time. But it was the promotion of youth players in their ‘Galacticos’ era that balanced the books and kept their footballing philosophy and values alive. Players like Raul came through the youth system. Now with Marco Asensio is grabbing the headlines but a new attacking full back is attempting to wrestle the spotlight from his team mate.
Achraf Hakimi is 18 years of age and impressed in the recent 1-1 draw in the Champions League against Tottenham. The choices he made in that game showed his potential. He did well selecting when to bomb forward and try and create but balanced it in sitting back and trying to negate the English teams attacks when it was called for. The defender certainly made a name for himself on that night.
Born in Madrid Hakimi joined Real in 2006 after impressing in regional Spanish football. After developing his talent in Madrid’s famous ‘La Fabrica’, which translates to the factory, he began his Madrid career in 2016 playing in pre season. The rest of the campaign saw the youngster compete for Real Madrid B. The season was a success for him as he played 28 times and scored a single goal during the competition.
As we all know now Real Madrid full back Danilo left for Manchester City at the start of the 2017/18 season which meant that cover for first choice right back Dani Carvajal was non existence. If Carvajal thought he could put his feet up and coast this season without competition for his place he would be wrong. An infection of the heart has sidelined the Spanish international for sometime at the start of this season giving the promising Hakimi a chance. He has performed well in this time and the competition for Real Madrid’s right back position is well and truly on.
Hakimi has been helped by his progression at international level. His heritage hails from Morocco and he decided to represent them instead of Spain. Before he had even been included in the Madrid senior squad he had played for Morocco from U-20 level straight up to senior level. The experience he must have gained from an opportunity such as this must have improved his game tenfold.
Real Madrid will always have the best players. Their ability to attract superstars from other big clubs is evident. However, if they can continue to scout players at young ages and bring them through the ranks effectively they will be unstoppable for a long time to come. Hakimi is the latest of these. With great pace and strength the physical attributes are there. Can he keep his place in the team? It will be a challenge for him this year, but it is only a matter of time before the Moroccan international is a regular in the Madrid line up.
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