Soccer

Pablo Ramon: Zidane ready to bet big on Real Madrid youngster compared to Sergio Ramos

Los Blancos worked hard to sign the young defender from Mallorca in 2019, and he is now set to step up to the first team

With Real Madrid enduring an injury crisis in defence, manager Zinedine Zidane is preparing to gamble on youngster Pablo Ramon, who has impressed for Castilla, the Liga giants’ reserve team.

The losses of Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Nacho and Ferland Mendy have left Real with shoestring options at the back – which could provide an opportunity for Mallorca-born Ramon, a favourite player of Blancos legend Raul, who is currently Castilla manager.

Ramon was first called into the Real first team for the Liga clash with Getafe last month and was an unused substitute in a goalless draw – but could make his senior debut in the final three games of the league season.

Who is Pablo Ramon?

The 19-year-old started his career with his hometown club, Real Mallorca, and became the first player born in the 21st century to feature for the club when he made his debut in a Copa del Rey clash with Valladolid.

He was signed by the giants of Madrid in July 2019 for €800,000. After a season with the U19s, in which he helped them win their first UEFA Youth League title, he was promoted to Castilla for the 2020-21 campaign.

He broke into the Castilla starting XI midway through the season, and has gone on to make 16 league appearances as they target promotion to the Segunda Division, the second-tier of Spanish football and the highest level reserve squads such as Castilla can play at.

The Sergio Ramos comparisons

His leadership, competitiveness and defensive capabilities have seen Ramon compared favourably with the Real Madrid captain and icon, as well as his willingness to carry the ball and join attacks from deep.

Such is the esteem Real hold Ramon in, he has a five-year contract with a €30 million (£26m/$36m) release clause. He is also settled in Madrid with his girlfriend and is focused on his football with a well balanced personal life, thus preventing any distractions from reaching his potential.

Could he feature for Real this season?

Zidane’s men travel to Granada in midweek, before visiting Athletic Club on Sunday then finishing their Liga season at home to Villarreal on May 23. The title race looks set to go down to the wire – leaders Atletico Madrid have 77 points from 35 games, Barcelona 76 from 36, Real 75 from 35 and Sevilla on 71 from 35.

It is a tough environment to throw a youngster in for his senior debut, but Zidane may have no choice but to call upon Ramon – and there is every chance he will step up to the challenge.

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