When will talented young footballers learn that they seriously risk hindering their development by agreeing to join one of Europe's elite clubs?
The careers of so many potential superstars have stalled in recent years after they prioritised money and the prestige of representing one of the world’s best clubs over actually playing football.
The fact that so many players with huge potential aged 18-23 are wasting away on the benches of top clubs is a modern-day travesty.
One player who unfortunately falls into in this category is Real Madrid’s Dani Ceballos.
The 21-year-old impressed for Real Betis last season and then exploded at last summer’s European Under-21 Championship in Poland.
Ceballos played a starring role as Spain reached the final and although Germany eventually won the competition, it was the Betis star who was deservedly named best player of the tournament.
What happened next was inevitable.
Real Madrid waved a £14.5 million cheque in front of Betis and a tempting contract to Ceballos, and so off he went to the Bernabeu last July.
Ceballos can't get a game at Madrid
Seven months later and what everyone expected would happen *has* happened.
Ceballos, despite his huge talent, can’t get a game at Madrid because there’s too much competition for places.
He’s made just 17 appearances for Los Blancos this season. Only seven of them were made in La Liga.
What happened v Leganes was humiliating for Ceballos
His most recent ‘appearance’ came in Madrid’s 3-1 victory away at Leganes on Wednesday evening.
When you hear what happened, though, you’ll feel sorry for the kid.
With Madrid 3-1 up deep into stoppage time, Zinedine Zidane sent on Ceballos for the final 20 seconds of the match.
Watch the incident here...
While Zidane was clearly trying to run down the clock, it must have been a humiliating experience for Ceballos.
As soon as he’d run on the pitch, it was time to walk off again. To call this an ‘appearance’ for Real Madrid is, quite frankly, ludicrous.
Zidane slammed on social for humiliating Ceballos
Many football fans have slammed Zidane for embarrassing Ceballos - and you can understand where they’re coming from…
One can only imagine how Zidane would have reacted if one of his coaches had done the same thing to him during his playing career.
How Ceballos reacted
According to Marca, Ceballos was furious after his worthless run-out and left Leganes in a "sour mood".
You can hardly blame the guy for feeling angry.
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