ORIENT, in collaboration with La Liga, picked out the five players to watch out in the 2019 Spanish Football Championships season.
Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)
Vinicius Jr. has made a lot of headlines even before he has kicked the ball for Real Madrid. The 18-year-player will continue to surprise us in the second half of 2018/19 season.
Brazilian virtuoso who is more in the vein of what Neymar has been doing all his life, a player who is always looking to create new flicks or tricks during a match. The Brazilian wonderkid was key to Real’s victory against Alaves as they ran out 3-0 winners, putting them just two points behind city rivals Atletico Madrid.
Vinicius has a very good chance of becoming a world-class player in very little time. Vinicius was raised inside the Flamengo youth academy which has honed some of Brazil’s biggest talents in the past, this is a perfect opportunity for him to earn a spot in the biggest club in Europe and start a career that could become something truly great. Real Madrid’s players love having Vinicius Junior in their side, according to Santiago Solari. He could be a first choice player at the Bernabeu this season given his age. Vinicius scored his first La Liga goal and and Solari hailed him after the match.
Iñaki Williams (Athletic Bilbao)
Spanish professional footballer who plays for Athletic Bilbao as a forward, confidently spent the first half of the season in a difficult campaign for the Basque club. All five of his goals in La Liga in his first 18 games were scored at home matches, after “goalless” 770-day in front of his own team’s fans.
On the middle of January 2019, Williams scored both goals in a 2–0 home league win over Sevilla FC, finding the net at San Mamés for the first time in 41 league appearances. His second, involving a turn and sprint from his own half, touch away from the goalkeeper and precise finish at high speed, was described as “incredible”. The fixture was also his 100th successive appearance in the league, only the fifth Athletic player to achieve this and the first outfield player from any Spanish club to do so since Fran in 1993.
When in fine-drawn, undoubtedly, the talented 24-year-old Williams is one of the most promising players of the Championship, and now he can score much more goals – both at home and away – for the rest of the season.
Carles Aleñá (Barcelona)
Barça midfielder Carles Alenya made his La Liga debut last November only, and the young talented guy may become the next big thing at the Camp Nou.
The La Masia graduate performed consistently well for LaLiga Barcelona B – 2nd team, last season, scoring 11 goals in 38 appearances. Last season, Aleñá scored a spectacular goal in a UEFA Youth League game against Roma, for which he was nominated for the prestigious FIFA Puskás Award, judging to have scored the “most beautiful” goal of the year.
With the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final looming, the 21-year-old Spain youth international is a weapon that could be used by Ernesto Valverde. Real Madrid have never faced him before, and a crucial match like that could be an actual test of the nerves for the young Spaniard. Fans of “blue garnet” would be delighted to watch out it.
Joris Gnagnon (Sevilla)
For any player, it is not easy moving to a new league and a new country, and it is not surprising that Joris Gnagnon, who joined Spanish side Sevilla FC for five years in the summer 2018, has found it difficult to get started in the Andalusian club.
A former defender of Rennes, Gnagnon made his La Liga debut after 0: 2 losing to Getafe, but then he was outside the first team because coach Pablo Machin preferred other schemes in three-person defense scheme.
At the beginning of the year, Gnagnon joined the main team again to participate for his first 2019 performance at the Spanish League football match between Sevilla FC and Club Atletico de Madrid in a 1: 1 draw. He has only played in 11 of Sevilla’s 33 games, but against Atlético Madrid he showed the potential which made him stand out in Ligue 1. He will have his 22nd birthday, and there would be no present for him than to continue consolidating himself in Spanish football. It seems that Sevilla has a top-class defender for the second half of the season.
Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal)
Only very close fans of Spanish or Nigerian football knew about the young Villarreal winger Samuel Chukwueze before the start of the 2018/2019 season. Now, in the middle of the season, the 19-year-old Nigerian midfielder is considered as a rising star in LaLiga Santander. The winger has been quick to make an impact this season with the Yellow Submarine and is tipped for a bright future.
Chukwueze came a long way very fast following his LaLiga debut against Levante on November 4. 2018, having scored his first senior goal for the club in a Copa del Rey tie against Almeria a few days previously. A first LaLiga goal arrived on November 11, when he drove into the area and dribbled past two defenders before firing low through the legs of Rayo Vallecano goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski. The impressive game with Real (2: 2) in early January attracted many new fans.
Few young international players have made such an immediate impact in LaLiga in recent years as Villarreal’s Samuel Chukwueze, with the 19-year-old Nigeria international already looking key to his club’s chances of success this season.