Sunday, September 19, 2010

David "Iker" de Gea?

These days players are blooded early, much too early it would seem, but given the level of competition that keeps increasing in football, it is only a natural turn of things. This however doesn’t mean that the young guns turn out to be very good players, just because they see action early in life. But ever so often, you see these players, who show maturity way beyond their age. They have that ability to not only soak up pressure at a tender age, but respond favorably to the load of expectations placed on their young shoulders. These are the “cracks”; these are the players that take your breath away.

The newbies who saw David de Gea in action against Barcelona must surely have had that feeling. Born in Madrid, Spain, at 19 years of age, David de Gea is a goalkeeper who plies his trade for Atletico Madrid. He is an Atletico product through and through, having come up from their youth ranks and now the first choice; El Numero Uno. Last night he showed the world why he starts for Atleti over other experienced keepers by keeping the team in the match making superb saves after saves; he must’ve saved at least four goals, and saved Atletico Madrid from what would otherwise have been an embarassing scoreline.

De Gea had been dubbed as a “crack” very early on his career and shares a lot of parallels with Iker Casillas, most notably the acrobatic saves, cat like reflexes and ability to read penalty kicks exceedingly well (quite strange for a kid who’s only 19 years old). Like Iker Casillas who made his first division debut at age 16, de Gea had his first division debut at age 18. Both goalkeepers are the youngest keepers to have played in the Champions League. Like Casillas, the point where de Gear’s career actually took off was when he replaced Sergio Asenjo in a Champions League match. It’s no wonder then that de Gea is already considered as Casillas’ heir apparent. Again like Casillas who won the U-15, U-16 Euros and FIFA Youth World Cup for Spain, de Gea has won the U-17 Euros (conceding a measly 2 goals in the entire tournament), and the U-17 FIFA World Cup for Spain. The parallels are not at all hard to miss. But make no mistake; at 28 years of age, Casillas is at his prime, and will probably play on till he is 35, by which time de Gea will be 25 years of age, a perfect time to take up the mantle of Spain’s number One.

I only hope that he resists the temptation and allure of bigger and foreign clubs who’re evidently trying hard to secure his services. If at all he leaves Atletico Madrid, I hope he joins some Spanish club, so that he is forever part of the Spanish soil, rewriting history much the same way how Iker Casillas did.


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