With the first team all ready for the big kick-off this Sunday, Atleti B are just putting the final touches on their pre-season preparation, and get underway next week in a derby against Real Madrid C.
The club have been working hard over the summer to prepare the reserve side for the new campaign, and have built a new-look squad after numerous outgoings and incomings.
Alfredo Santaelena will remain in charge, though, his contract renewed for a second year after a strong end to 2012/13, which saw the young red and whites make a late play-off push following a lacklustre start.
This year they have been placed in Group II of Segunda B, and so will compete against sides from the Madrid region, Castille-La Mancha, the Basque Country, Navarra, and the Canary Islands.
The foundation of last year’s team was made up of captain César Ortiz, young prodigies Javi Manquillo, Óliver Torres and Saúl Ñiguez, midfield pillars Thomas Teye and Sergio Cidoncha, and the ‘pichichi’ in attack, Gerard Oliva.
All of those have now moved on, though, deemed to have outgrown third-tier football by the management, who have thus either promoted them to the first team in the cases of Óliver and Manquillo, loaned them out to gain experience, or let them leave to further their careers away from Majadahonda.
In total, just eight of last year’s squad remain, although many players from our C-team, including the first team’s pre-season surprise star Dani Aquino, have received promotions.
As well as Ian González and Pablo Trigueros, teenagers Iván Calero, Dani Márquez, Fallou Gallas, David Gómez and David Gil joined the second string on a full-time basis, all of whom starred in Juvenil A’s title success of 2011/12.
Borja Martínez also makes the step up from last year’s Under-18 squad, whom he captained to an impressive second place and the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey.
In terms of new faces, striker Rubén Mesa and midfielder Nana Asare join from Alcalá, the latter on a temporary basis, having been on loan at Rayo B since January.
Rayo Majadahonda left-back Iván Pérez is another to sign after having successfully completed a trial period, and goalkeeper Bernabé Barragan has been drafted in from Betis B.
The biggest news, though, is the acquisition of two Spanish youth internationals, goalkeeper Carlos Morales from Albacete, and Hector Hernández, a talented centre-forward who was regarded as one of the pearls of Las Palmas’ youth setup. Both are just 17 years old.
Morales will most likely spend the season with the C-team, but much is expected of Hector, with Atleti paying €250,000 for his services, as well as agreeing to play in last week’s friendly match against the Canary side.
So far, he has shown signs of repaying the faith the club have put in him, finding the net three times in the four pre-season friendlies in which e has played.
Alfredo’s side are unbeaten in their five games so far, kicking off with a 1-0 win against Atleti C in late July, before going on to win 3-2 at Real Avilá , courtesy of a late Rubén Mesa strike.
They were then held late on in the annual clash at San Rafael with Valladolid B (2-2), but returned to form three days later with a 5-0 mauling against Rayo B, as well as a 2-0 win last weekend at Talavera.
On Saturday they play their final warm-up match at Badajoz, before the real thing seven days later at the Cerro del Espino for the season’s curtain raiser.
Will you be keeping an eye on Atleti B this season? Could this be the year our youngsters finally push for the play-offs?