Barcelona academy product Cristian Ceballos rose into prominence as a 14-year-old teenager when he featured in a video along with Ronaldinho Gaucho.
Ceballos matched the two times FIFA Ballon d'Or winner with his ball control and tricks. And the video vent viral among the football lovers across the world.
Ceballos was considered as the brightest prospect from La Masia before an injury prevented his progress. He wasn't deemed fit enough to progress to a squad role at Camp Nou and was released from the academy. The then 18-year-old appeared on trials at Stamford Bridge but he couldn't win their hearts, soon after his talent and potential was recognised at White Hart Lane and he joined Tottenham Hotspur's developmental squad on July 2011.
The attacking midfielder who is comfortable playing behind the striker in all three positions was tipped to make it big at White Hart Lane. Two years have passed now and the Spanish wonderkid is yet to make his Premier League debut for Tottenham Hotspur.
As a 20-year-old this will be his make or break season. He needs more playing time in a competitive league to develop and fine tune his skills.
Cristian Ceballos was the man in form for Tottenham U-21 side last season. Spurs do have plenty of talent available at their disposal from their U-21 team, but not every player is destined for Premier League.
Andros Townsend, Danny Rose, Jake Livermore and Tom Carroll are expected to get more playing time at Tottenham along with Steven Caulker. Then, there are a bunch of youngsters knocking on the doors of first team.
Strikers Jon Obika, Harry Kane and Shaquile Coulthirst, hoped their time would come last season despite the dearth in attacking options the team think tank didn't opt for their route. Ceballos is in the queue for attacking midfielder position along with Iago Falque, Ryan Mason and Alex Pritchard. Wing backs Adam Smith and Ezequiel Fryers will also be waiting for their chance.
Most of these players are expected to go out on short deals to continue their football education. So what will be the route ahead for Christian Ceballos?
His versatility and ability to play across the front four makes him a suitable option to have in the reserves. But the left footed attacking midfielder/winger has so many first team players ahead of him in the pecking order. With players like Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon, Clint Dempsey, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Lewis Holtby fighting it out for a starting spot, and then there are players like Harry Kane, Iago Falque and Ryan Mason staking claims for the occasional substitute roles, Ceballos knows his chances are limited.
Ceballos starred in the inaugural edition of Barclays U-21 Premier League with 13 goals. He was also a key performer in the Spurs NextGen series side, which got the better of La Masia graduates itself. His performances were noticed by the team think tank as he made it into the substitutes bench on some occasions, but failed to make it to the ground.
Ceballos is blessed with skills on the ball, a bit of trickery and directness to get on the scoresheet. He also has good turn of pace to get the better of defenders and a good left footed shot. His creative vision is one of the best among the reserves and utilization of space deserves some plaudits as well. His link-up play in tiki-taka style is good and he can contribute to the fluid attacking style of play that Spurs display week-in and out.
Ceballos is expected to be the star man in U-21 and in reserve matches, but will he be satisfied with that role? One cannot guarantee first team minutes in such a big squad with respect to his position. Will it help him to develop his overall game?
At this age, with the best interest of player and the team. A loan deal to a bottom table Premier League side or a Championship team, where he will get regular playing time will be the ideal solution.
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