Real Madrid are famous for always being in the market for the world’s best established players - but that doesn’t mean they don’t give youngsters opportunities to shine.
The 13-time European champions, who are the world’s biggest football club in the eyes of many, have both produced and purchased a host of talented starlets in recent times.
And we thought we’d take a look at what the club’s youngest goalscorers since the turn of the 21st Century are up to now.
Per Transfermarkt, there are 19 footballers under the age of 21 who have scored goals for Los Blancos since January 1, 2000. But what happened to them? Let’s take a closer look…
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19. Nicolas Anelka
Age: 20 years, 9 months, 22 days
Goal: v Al-Nassr (Club World Cup) | Jan 5, 2000
Nicolas Anelka lasted just one season at Real Madrid following his £22.3 million move from Arsenal. The Frenchman failed to score in his first five months at the Bernabeu but finally got off the mark thanks to a fortuitous goal in the Club World Cup.
He went on to play for 10 different clubs - including the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea - before hanging up his boots in 2015.
Since 2018, Anelka has worked as an attacking coach with the youth players at Lille.
Age: 20 years, 9 months, 3 days
Goal: v Sporting Gijon (La Liga) | Feb 15, 2009
Surprisingly, it took Marcelo two years before netting his first goal for Real Madrid.
The adventurous Brazilian left-back, who joined Los Blancos from Fluminense, is now in his 14th season with the Spanish giants and has won multiple titles, including four La Ligas and four Champions Leagues.
17. Alvaro Medran
Age: 20 years, 8 months, 24 days
Goal: v Ludogorets (Champions League) | Dec 9, 2014
Alvaro Medran only made a handful of appearances for Madrid, but he can proudly say that he scored one goal for the European heavyweights.
Now 25, the 5ft 9in midfielder was recently announced as a new signing by Major League Soccer side Chicago Fire following three years with Valencia, where he made 20 appearances.
Age: 20 years, 8 months, 0 days
Goal: v Barcelona (La Liga) | Oct 26, 2013
Jesé looked a huge talent when he first broke through at Real Madrid and went on to score 18 goals in 94 games for the club before he was offloaded to Paris Saint-Germain in 2016.
The former Spain Under-21 international has failed to convince at the Parc des Princes and has since found himself on loan at various clubs including Las Palmas, Stoke City and Real Betis.
The 26-year-old is now on loan at Sporting Lisbon but has only found the net once in his first six appearances at the time of writing.
15. Alberto Bueno
Age: 20 years, 7 months, 22 days
Goal: v Real Union (Copa del Rey) | Nov 11, 2008
Another former Spain Under-21 international, Alberto Bueno scored on his Real Madrid debut against Real Union - but this 2008 Copa del Rey tie is remembered for all the wrong reasons by everyone associated with Los Blancos.
Madrid were dumped out of the competition by the third-tier side and Bueno only went on to make two more appearances before he was sold to Real Valladolid.
The 31-year-old has since spent time with FC Porto and now plies his trade for another Portuguese side: Boavista.
14. Marco Asensio
Age: 20 years, 6 months, 19 days
Goal: v Sevilla (UEFA Super Cup) | Aug 9, 2016
Marco Asensio looked like a future world-beater when he broke into the Real Madrid first team, scoring some spectacular goals with his magnificent left-foot.
Sadly, though, his career has stagnated over the past couple of seasons and it wouldn’t be a shock if he leaves the Bernabeu in the near future.
It also remains to be seen whether he can rediscover his best form after rupturing knee ligaments in a pre-season friendly against Arsenal in the summer. That injury is expected to keep the Spanish playmaker sidelined for most of the season.
13. Borja Mayoral
Age: 20 years, 5 months, 12 days
Goal: v Real Sociedad (La Liga) | Sep 17, 2017
Tipped for big things after forcing his way into the first team from Real Madrid B, Borja Mayoral scored on his first start for the club, against Real Sociedad in September 2017.
He’s only managed to score another six goals for Madrid since then, but has spent time out on loan at Wolfsburg and Levante.
At 22, it’s beginning to feel like he might not have what it takes to become a first-team player at the Bernabeu.
12. Royston Drenthe
Age: 20 years, 4 months, 11 days
Goal: v Sevilla (Spanish Super Cup) | Aug 19, 2007
Royston Drenthe looked so good during his early years, which is what makes his career such a bitter disappointment.
The Dutchman, who shone for the Netherlands at under-21 level, completed a dream move to the Bernabeu in 2007 - but ended up playing for the club just 65 times before he completed a free transfer to Russian club Alania Vladikavkaz in 2012.
Drenthe has since played in England, Turkey and Abu Dhabi, before becoming disillusioned with football and quitting the sport in order dedicate himself to rap music a couple of years ago.
The 32-year-old is back in football, however, with Kozakken Boys in the third tier of Dutch football.
11. Roberto Soldado
Age: 20 years, 4 months, 1 day
Goal: v Olympiakos (Champions League) | Sep 28, 2005
Only the very best make it at Real Madrid and Roberto Soldado wasn’t quite good enough to lead the line at the Bernabeu.
The Spanish striker has still gone on to enjoy an excellent career, scoring goals on a consistent basis for the likes of Getafe, Valencia and Fenerbahce.
He was a disappointment at Tottenham, where he netted 16 goals in 76 games, but that can happen. Some players struggle in certain leagues.
Soldado also scored seven goals in 12 games for the Spanish national team between 2007-2013 and now, at the age of 34, is playing for La Liga outfit Granada.
10. Alvaro Morata
Age: 20 years, 0 months, 19 days
Goal: v Levante (La Liga) | Nov 11, 2012
Of all the young strikers to emerge from Real Madrid’s youth academy over the past two decades, it’s fair to say that Alvaro Morata was the one who many people expected to become a star in the first team.
The 27-year-old has enjoyed a fine career, but there will always be a feeling of ‘what if?’ when it comes to Real Madrid.
Despite scoring 20 goals in his first season back at the Bernabeu following a two-year spell at Juventus, Morata was sold to Chelsea in 2017 for £60 million.
But after failing to convince at Stamford Bridge, where he scored an underwhelming 24 goals in 72 games, Morata has spent the past season-and-a-half with Atletico Madrid and will join the Rojiblancos permanently next summer.
9. Javier Portillo
Age: 19 years, 11 months, 18 days
Goal: v Panathinaikos (Champions League) | Mar 20, 2002
Another striker who set tongues wagging with Real Madrid B, Javier Portillo failed to make enough of an impact for the first-team and was eventually released in 2006 following the arrival of Ruud van Nistelrooy from Manchester United.
He went on to play for Gimnàstic, Osasuna, Hércules, Las Palmas and Hércules again before hanging up his boots in 2015.
8. Brahim Diaz
Age: 19 years, 9 months, 9 days
Goal: v Real Sociedad (La Liga) | May 12, 2019
Snapped up from Manchester City in January 2019, the highly-rated Brahim Diaz has shown glimpses of his huge talent over the course of his first year as a Madridista.
But getting minutes at a club like Real Madrid isn’t easy - even if you’re as talented as Diaz - and the 20-year-old may find himself out on loan in 2020.
7. Sergio Ramos
Age: 19 years, 8 months, 6 days
Goal: v Olympiakos (Champions League) | Dec 6, 2005
Whatever happened to this guy?
Sergio Ramos has, of course, established his status as one of the most important players in the club’s recent history.
The all-action centre-back, who has scored a remarkable 88 goals in 621 games during his 15 seasons at the Bernabeu, has helped his current employers win a host of titles, including four La Ligas and four Champions Leagues.
6. Gonzalo Higuain
Age: 19 years, 2 months, 15 days
Goal: v Atletico Madrid (La Liga) | Feb 25, 2007
Brought to Spain in 2007, when he was just 19 years old, Gonzalo Higuain banged in 121 goals in 264 games during his spell at the Bernabeu, before leaving for Napoli in 2013.
The Argentine forward, 31, has scored goals consistently wherever he’s been - with the exception of Chelsea, where he only netted five goals in 18 games - and is now back at Juventus following a spell away from Turin on loan.
5. Achraf Hakimi
Age: 19 years, 1 month, 5 days
Goal: v Sevilla (La Liga) | Dec 9, 2017
A product of Real Madrid’s youth system, Achraf Hakimi was promoted to the main squad in August 2017 and scored his first goal for the club four months later against Sevilla.
The Morocco international, 21, is currently on loan at Borussia Dortmund until the summer of 2020.
Age: 18 years, 8 months, 16 days
Goal: v Osasuna (La Liga) | Sep 25, 2019
Described as the ‘next Neymar’ by some, Rodrygo recently hit the headlines after scoring a perfect hat-trick against Galatasaray in the Champions League.
A couple of months earlier, the Brazil international made his Real Madrid debut against Osasuna and scored within a minute after coming off the bench.
Still just 18, expect to hear a lot more about Rodrygo after the coming weeks and months.
3. Raphael Varane
Age: 18 years, 4 months, 30 days
Goal: v Rayo Vallecano (La Liga) | Sep 24, 2011
Real Madrid won the battle for Raphael Varane’s signature in 2011 and nobody has looked back since.
The French defender has played 290 games for the club over the past nine seasons and, like many of his teammates, has won plenty of silverware during that time.
Varane, 26, is also a World Cup winner.
2. Vinicius Junior
Age: 18 years, 4 months, 24 days
Goal: v UD Melilla (Copa del Rey) | Dec 6, 2018
The jury is firmly out over Vinicius Junior, who looked brilliant at times during his first season as a Real Madrid player but has struggled for form and consistency under Zinedine Zidane.
The Brazilian winger appears to possess all the tools required to become an elite player, including lightning-quick pace and incredible skills. But does he have the right mentality? Time will tell…
1. Jose Rodriguez
Age: 17 years, 10 months, 15 days
Goal: v CD Alcoyano (Copa del Rey) | Oct 31, 2012
Real Madrid’s youngest goalscorer since 2000, Jose Rodriguez is the only player on this list to score for Los Blancos before the age of 18.
The former Spain Under-21 international made four appearances in total for the club before joining Galatasaray in 2015.
He then moved to Mainz a season later and ended up spending time on loan at Malaga, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Fortuna Sittard before being offloaded to Malaga permanently in August 2019.
So, as you can clearly see, scoring goals for Real Madrid at a young age is no guarantee that you’ll make it at the Bernabeu.
Only a few of these players have gone on to become household names.
That said, it does more or less guarantee a career in football - even if it’s not at the Bernabeu.
Having Real Madrid on the CV always looks impressive, especially when you’ve scored a first-team goal.News Now - Sport News