The UEFA Youth League is giving a taste of European club football to a fresh generation of talent at Real Madrid CF, who have booked their place in the four-team final tournament in Nyon.
UEFA's newest competition concludes in the shadow of UEFA headquarters from 11–14 April, and Madrid's attacking midfielder Javier Muñoz is eager to make it all the way to the decider. "Representing Real Madrid is a huge source of pride and now we're into the semi-finals, we're hoping to turn in a huge performance to get to the final," the 19-year-old told UEFA.com. "As long as we play as well as we know we can, things should go our way."
His coach Luis Miguel Ramis knows the players are gaining an enormous amount from their UEFA Youth League experience as they look to follow the likes of Raúl González and Iker Casillas in graduating from academy – 'La Fábrica' – to first team. "Perhaps the biggest thing is for them to see and experience the way things are organised, planned and how a game at the highest level unfolds, in this case a Champions League game," he explained.
"You grow up, in a footballing sense, when you go through big matches and find out there are opponents that are going to test your capabilities. That's exactly what's been happening in this tournament," Ramis added. "And it lets them dream too of one day being in the same position as their idols in the Real Madrid first team."
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