Winning coach Raúl González of Real Madrid gives his thoughts in the 2019/20 technical report, available to read online now.
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"A unique experience" offering a taste of the "professional world" is how Raúl González, coach of winners Real Madrid, describes the UEFA Youth League in an in-depth interview for the official technical report on the 2019/20 competition, now available to view online.
The former Spain and Madrid striker guided the club's Under-19s to their first UEFA Youth League title in August and he reflects in the report on the experience of his first major triumph as a coach – moreover, the first junior European title for the club with whom he won three UEFA Champions Leagues as a player.
"It was an incredible experience and as coach, this type of success is perhaps even more enjoyable," said Raúl, currently coach of Real Madrid Castilla. "Without a doubt it was one of the happiest days of my life because we experienced something we'll always remember and this is comparable with the great moments I experienced as a player."
Raúl goes on to highlight the importance of the tournament in helping to develop young talent. "They can have a unique experience and experience something which is closer to the professional world," he said, and already this season one of Madrid's UEFA Youth League winners, playmaker Sergio Arribas, played in the decisive UEFA Champions League group defeat of Borussia Mönchengladbach while winger Marvin Park – set up by Arribas to score the goal of the tournament – has made a substitute appearance in the Liga.
Runners-up Benfica offer another example with two players from their side having made senior debuts in the past month, namely centre-back João Ferreira and forward Gonçalo Ramos who, with eight goals, was the joint-top scorer of the 2019/20 UEFA Youth League.
Raúl added: "The final phase showed the good work that's being done on a developmental level in European academies. There were matches where you could see really good football. The talent out there is being increasingly improved by tactical work and the physical side. Teams are increasingly better prepared."
The technical report also reveals the Team of the Tournament for 2019/20, as selected by UEFA's technical observer at the finals, Jean-François Domergue. It features a starting XI plus eight substitutes and includes players from seven of the clubs involved in the finals in Nyon.
• 2019/20 UEFA Youth League Team of the Tournament:
Luis López (Real Madrid); João Ferreira (Benfica), Víctor Chust (Real Madrid), Morato (Benfica), Miguel Gutiérrez (Real Madrid); Blanco (Real Madrid), Luka Sučić (Salzburg), Sergio Arribas (Real Madrid); Karim Adeyemi (Salzburg), Gonçalo Ramos (Benfica), Umaro Embaló (Benfica).
Substitutes: Marvin Park (Real Madrid), Christian Rasmussen (Ajax), Neraysho Kasanwirjo (Ajax), Castello Lukeba (Lyon), Mohamed El Arouch (Olympique Lyonnais), Bernard Karrica (Dinamo), Edin Julardžija (Dinamo), Étienne Kinkoue (Internazionale), Thomas Schiró (Internazionale).
The technical report also highlights the key trends identified in last season's campaign, including the same high-scoring tendency witnessed in the senior club competitions. The 15 games from the round of 16 onwards produced a goals-per-game average of 3.8 – the highest in the UEFA Youth League's seven-season history. As in the UEFA Champions League, crosses and cutbacks were a major source of the goals, leading to 15 of the 34 scored in Nyon – or 44% of them.