From Real Betis to Real Madrid, 21-year-old Dani Ceballos has steadily grown into a player to look for in the next few years as he has the potential to be a great midfielder, not just for Real Madrid, but for the Spanish national team.
At the age of six, Ceballos joined the Sevilla youth team and played for them for five years, but was released as he was suffering from bronchitis at the time. In 2009, he joined his home-town club CD Utrera, a team in Andalucía. Two years later he joined Real Betis as he looked to progress his career, and look to be a first-team regular.
Before playing for the second team, the coaches already saw the potential and elevated him into the first team, and made his debut for Betis on April 26, 2014, when he came on as a substitute in a 1-0 defeat to Real Sociedad.
In the 2013/14 season, Real Betis were relegated into the Segunda División, but Ceballos stayed at the club in the hope to play more regular football. Nine months past his debut, he scored his first professional goal in a 2-0 home win against Racing de Santander. Real Betis then went on to win the Segunda División title by two points, and he played a crucial role, scoring 5 goals in 33 appearances for ‘Los Verdiblancos’ (Spanish for ‘The Green-and-Whites’).
In July this year, he made an €18 million (£15.8 million*) move to Real Madrid, but is it one step too far for the Spanish midfielder? In the time that he has been in the Madrid shirt, he has looked impressive as he scored in a 2-0 win against Barcelona at home in the Supercopa de España. And last Saturday, he made his first start for ‘Los Blancos’, and scored two goals in a 2-1 away win against Deportivo Alavés.
However, Ceballos has yet to make his debut for the Spanish national team, but he has played at U19 and U21 level for his country. In fact, he was named player of the tournament in the most recent U21 European Championships this year. With the depth in the Spanish midfield, in Iniesta, Koke and Isco to mention a few, it’s going to be very difficult to gain much game-time for the national team at this minute. But with the breakthrough of Marco Asensio, anything can happen when the manager, Julen Lopetegui has had spells as manager of the Spanish U21 team and is not afraid to experiment.
Manager of Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane has changed the team regularly this season already, so Ceballos will have plenty of opportunities to play for the first team, and will feel a crucial part of the squad, especially if Madrid bring home trophies at the end of the season. However, with the slow start to the season, they are already seven points behind leaders, Barcelona, after six games. But with the sheer depth that Real have, they still have a chance of catching up.
Will we ever be likely to see ‘Dani’ in the Premier League? Possibly, with Chelsea signing former Real Madrid striker, Álvaro Morata. Knowing that in the transfer market nowadays, Dani Ceballos could be sold for £40-50 million next year, so Real Madrid could take the hit for a huge profit. He has come out and said that he regretted not joining rivals, Barcelona in the summer, so if he is not happy with the amount of game time he is being given, he will push for a move away from the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.
A player with huge potential, but Dani Ceballos needs to convince us that Real Madrid is the right club for him fulfil it. He has to be patient if he wants to make it. However, other clubs will be attracted to him and will look to lure him away.
*Euro to pound conversion rate – September 28, 2017