Masterclasses in Valdebebas being given by some of the greatest players the game has ever seen. Raúl, Roberto Carlos, Julio César and Juan José Vallina, among other ex-players, form part of a team who will be helping promising young players in Real Madrid’s youth teams with their development. And what better way to help young players resolve the countless different situations they will face in games than by gleaning knowledge and advice from some of the best and most experienced players who have ever pulled on the white shirt.
The idea is to improve the performance levels and capacity of players in all of the youth categories – both individually and in each line of the team. The team of ex-players will begin working with the Under-16s and Under-15s and the three major youth sides, including José María Guti’s Under-19s, and Álvaro Benito’s Under-18s. Raúl will work with the strikers while the two Brazilians Roberto Carlos and Julio César will impart their knowledge and experience to the defence – the former working with the full-backs, Julio César with the centre-backs.
It’s a similar model to the one which Ajax employ in their youth academy, where some of the great ex-players have returned to pass on their expertise and explain the secrets behind the club’s philosophy to the upcoming, younger players. So far it has been delivering results, which is what Madrid are hoping for: positive results in the short term.
The idea was the brainchild of Javier Lozano in 2009. Lozano, who as a coach, led Spain’s Futsal team to be crowned world and European champions and who is now LNFS president, joined Real Madrid as Director of the Professional Area in 2007 before taking over from Míchel as the Head of La Fábrica in December 2008. By 2009, first team players who had come through Madrid’s youth ranks such as Raúl, Rubén De la Red and Iker Casillas were giving masterclasses to the younger players in Valdebebas but only once every so often, not on a regular basis.