Atlético youngsters inspire Spain to another trophy

Rojiblanco quintet instrumental in Copa Atlántico success

Captain Saúl is presented with the trophy (rfef.es)

Captain Saúl is presented with the trophy (rfef.es)

Five of Atlético’s most talented prospects were playing in the annual Copa Atlántico tournament this week, as Spain’s Under-18 side added yet another trophy to their stunning recent haul.

Held in Gran Canaria, Saúl Ñíguez and Javier Manquillo from Atlético B and Óliver Torres, Dani Márquez and David Gil from Juvenil A, all featured as Julien Lopetegui’s team won the competition for the sixth year running.

Playmaker Óliver was named the best player of the competition, and Saúl had the honour of lifting the trophy following a series of faultless midfield performances, leading to his appointment as the team’s captain.

Right-back sensation Javi Manquillo had an important part to play as well, starting twice and setting up the opening goal in Friday’s match after a typical burst forward. Dani Márquez and David Gil also played their part, starting one game each.

La Rojita played three times in the four-day tournament, winning each game by the same 2-0 scoreline against Denmark, a Canarias XI and Russia respectively.

Real Madrid striker Raúl de Tomás swept the Golden boot award with three goals overall, but it was the diminutive Óliver who received most of the attention. One of few players to start all three games, Oli carried his club form onto the international stage, causing constant havoc thanks to his combination of quick feet and vision.

Saúl, on the other hand, has played mostly as a winger for Atlético B but showed experience beyond his years in a holding midfield role for Spain, suggesting that his future could be in a more central position.

He was recently joined in the reserve side by Manquillo, who has already gone a step further by debuting in the first team and could next year be playing alongside a whole host of talent from our all-conquering Juvenil A side.

With a growing number of players in the national teams at Under-16, Under-17 and Under-18 level, could we be about to witness a golden generation at Atleti?


  • Javi Lozoya

    I think we are indeed about to witness a golden generation with this kids, they’re just amazing, it’s so exciting to see that Atleti youngsters are very important for Spanish youth teams. Their reputation precedes these kids, they’re having a great season in the Juvenil A category. Like Óliver, he is Atleti’s crown jewel, he is labeled as Spain next big thing and I think he has everything to succeed at highest level of football and become a world class player. If there is someone that resembles Messi is Óliver, he also has some details of Xavi too. Hope he is promoted next year to the B team, does the preseason with Atleti’s first team, and gets call up for the first team matches every now and then to experience what’s it like to be part of the first team. Also, from the Juvenil A category, GK David Gil is one to watch in the near future. He is just as good or even better than De Gea, hope he makes the preseason with the first team too, and is about time for him to be promoted to B team as there’s a strong rumor that Iago Herrerin is gonna leave the B team and join a Primera. Dani Márquez, Javi Manquillo and Ivan Calero are other very promising and talented players too, and they’re players to watch too. Hope they’re called to preseason too and play friendlies with the first team so we us fans have a look a them on summer, anyways. It’s very interesting and exciting to hear about young talents of Atleti winning trophies with Spanish natl. team, that talks of the great job Atleti is doing with its youth teams.

  • 7th

    indeed, we may see a golden generation, but that all depends on our boards.

  • Heißenberg

    no, we probably won’s see a gold generation. We also had quit a few good young players two or three years ago (Borja, Dominguez, Keko, Koke, De Gea, Camacho, Pulido, Cedric, Sergio Marcos, Ruben Perez) and it didn’t work out. Probably some of them will be good, most of them will be players for average Primera team.
    Our board just don’t have a patience to wait youngsters.

  • We have some very good young canteranos. Hope they will make us proud in the future. Koke isn’t doing too bad, at least he scored last season and he was a good canterano so he got an eventual call up to the first team.

  • Ringo Schut

    Borja: bad luck
    Dominguez: success, I guess
    Keko: I think he was overrated
    Koke: good chance at success
    De Gea: success, although it doesn’t go his way, momentarily
    Cedric: unsure…
    Pulido: time to show something
    Ruben Perez: unsure
    Sergio Marcos: in progress

    The talents are mostly pretty awesome, but Atleti sucks at getting them ready for the highest level or just hires coaches who never use the talented youngsters.