Real Madrid have opted against signing a new striker this summer and will instead promote their highly-rated youngster Borja Mayoral.
The 18-year-old, according to Spanish newspaper Marca, will be offered a new contract as a Real Madrid Castilla player but will train with the first team and be available to play whenever Rafael Benitez decides to use him - much like teenage midfielder Martin Ødegaard.
Mayoral, a Spain Under-19 international, has been scoring goals for fun in Real Madrid’s youth teams and is considered a better player than Javier Hernandez, the man he will replace this summer, by those at the Bernabeu who have followed his rise through the ranks.
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That Rafael Benitez has opted against signing a back-up striker for Karim Benzema suggests the Spanish coach is seriously considering using Gareth Bale as a centre-forward at times next season.
Benitez also has the talented 22-year-old forward Jesé at his disposal, but Cristiano Ronaldo is not interested in being used as a striker, despite the fact he is now on the wrong side of 30 and not as dynamic as he once was.
Ronaldo will not play upfront
Playing upfront would have absolved Ronaldo, who has scored 50-plus goals in each of his five previous seasons with Real Madrid, of additional defensive responsibilities.
But the Portuguese superstar feels the left-wing position provides him with the space if needs to work effectively.
Perhaps if Carlo Ancelotti was the manager asking him to consider moving upfront it might have been a different story; the relationship between Benitez and Ronaldo currently seems a little frosty.
Real Madrid’s decision to promote Mayoral means Juventus striker Fernando Llorente, who has also been linked with Manchester United this week, will not be moving to the Bernabeu.
Benitez trusts Benzema
It also suggests Benzema, despite what some reports have claimed in recent weeks, does have the trust of his new manager.
Benzema is a particular favourite of Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, while Ronaldo has been vocal about his appreciation for the French striker’s unselfish work over recent seasons.
Roles reversed between Real Madrid and Barcelona?
Real Madrid promoting a young player, rather than spending millions on a new signing, is most unlike Real Madrid.
It’s Barcelona who have been splashing the cash this summer, despite their transfer ban, rather than promoting members of their struggling La Masia academy.
Have the roles now been reversed?
Have your say in the comments below! And tell is if you think Borja Mayoral has a bright future at Real Madrid.