Real Madrid eased to a 4-1 win over third-tier Alcoyano in the King's Cup last night as 17-year-old Jose Rodriguez made his first team debut for the Spanish giants.
On a night where Jose Mourinho picked a strong side, it was not the two goals of Karim Benzema that caught the eye, or the superbly taken goal from a reinvigorated Kaka, but the curling effort from Rodriguez.
Mourinho was full of praise for player who was strongly linked with a move to Arsenal, but instead chose to remain at the Bernebeu and attempt to force his way into a side full of world class midfielders.
The Portuguese managers faith in the youth system at Real Madrid has never been swayed and he admitted how delighted he was with the performance of Rodriguez.
"I liked his performance and everyone did," Mourinho told ESPN. "He has potential and the time to progress to be a first team player, not just to pass through but to arrive and stay.
"That is the most important. If it is possible he would play more, as he plays very little and it is important for him to have more minutes."
It is famously difficult to break into the Madrid side and many players have been forced to ply their trade elsewhere. Rodriguez was handed that opportunity when he was offered a five-year contract by Arsenal in October 2011.
Spanish publication Marca revealed that Rodriguez was close to joining the north London club and even phoned former Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas in order to find out whether he should consider the move.
Madrid are certainly glad he decided to stay after a debut which highlighted his potential. The youngster even surprised himself after making his dream become a reality and representing the first team.
"I am very happy," said Rodriguez. "I did not expect to play or score. I hit it and had the luck. Mourinho told me to be calm and play as I do in my team. Every canterano [reserve player] wants to play in the first team."
See Rodriguez score the third goal in the video below...
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