Real Madrid: Weifang Cup helpful for players to improve

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It was very important for the players of Real Madrid youth team to come to the Weifang Cup and play against some of the world's best football teams, and they should know that this is the level at which they should be playing, coach Daniel Poyatos Algaba said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

Algaba is currently directing Real Madrid Academy B team (U-17) to play at the ongoing 10th Luneng Weifang Cup International Youth Football Tournament held in Weifang city of east China's Shandong province. This is the first time for the La Liga giant to send a team to the tournament.

Algaba said the most important thing the players should understand when they finish the tournament is that games of this level are the ones through which they can practice and make real improvement and are thus most meaningful for them.

"It's not like playing against local teams, they are playing against big teams around the world."

"I think the national team from China, Benfica - this kind of teams are very good for our players," he said, referring to the U-19 Chinese National Team and the youth category of Portuguese league champions Benfica, which are both participants of the tournament.

Algaba's side tied 1-1 with China U-19 and lost 3-1 to Benfica in the two previous group stage games, and the fixture with Brazil's Desportivo Brasil on Wednesday will decide whether they can advance into the semifinals.

On the youth training at Real Madrid Academy, Algaba said their methodology has put an emphasis on cultivating the players' mentality and intelligence because what the players think mentally comes ahead of what they execute physically.

In Algaba's opinion, since football nowadays is usually played in small spaces in which every team tries to fight for possession of the ball, his players are trained to play well in limited areas and come up with solutions even before they receive the ball.

"To play for Real Madrid is very tough because we are one of the best teams in the world, so for the players it's not easy to stay in Real Madrid of course," Algaba said, but he also pointed out that the players, though under high mental pressure every day, are training with professional coaches and football analysts, which makes him believe that the youngsters will gain more from Real Madrid than from other clubs.

Victor Chust Garcia, 16, who plays as defender in Algaba's squad, said he gets up at 8:00 am every day, goes to a regular high school for five hours of study, and then takes the bus to the Academy where his football training session starts at 5:00 pm.

Coming from Valencia, Garcia joined the Academy five years ago. He said he plays altogether some 50 games a year with the team, among which 30 are domestic league games and 20 are tournament games like the Weifang Cup.

Asked about whether youth training is still the cornerstone for the development of football in an era in which the sport has become increasingly money-consuming, Algaba said frankly that he didn't know the answer.

"I don't know. I don' t know ... because football is global and it's difficult to decide which is the best way," Algaba said.

"For Real Madrid the Academy is very important and we are working hard to try to find players for our first team," he added. Endit

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