UEFA.com's weekly wonderkid: Borja Mayoral

An 18-year-old who specialises in "scrappy goals", Borja Mayoral has been likened to Real Madrid predecessor Raúl González and is impressing Zinédine Zidane.

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Graduating from the Real Madrid youth ranks to the first team is no easy task, as Álvaro Morata learned. Could free-scoring Borja Mayoral – who Zinédine Zidane claims "scores every time he has a shot" – make the grade?

Name: Borja Mayoral
Club: Real Madrid
Debut: 31 October 2015 v Las Palmas (Liga)
Position: forward
Nationality: Spanish
Date of birth: 5 April 1997
Preferred foot: right
Height: 180cm

Watch Real Madrid's Mayoral in action
Watch Real Madrid's Mayoral in action

They say …
"He's a striker who scores every time he has a shot. He's a vital player for us."
Real Madrid Castilla coach Zinédine Zidane

Background …
Born in the suburbs south of Madrid, teenager Mayoral joined Real Madrid's academy aged ten and scored 102 goals in 77 games at Under-16 and U18 levels. Promoted to the reserve team, Real Madrid Castilla, towards the end of last season, he linked up with the first team on their pre-season tour and made his senior competitive debut in a 3-1 Liga win over Las Palmas, as a substitute for Toni Kroos.

Raúl González pictured in 2002
Raúl González pictured in 2002©AFP

Playing style …
An unapologetic scavenger, Mayoral is improving his all-round game, focusing on working off the ball, making runs from deep and taking on defenders. Two Madrid greats are providing inspiration. "I used to look up to Raúl [González] because he was always looking for loose balls and paying attention to everything that went on in the area," he says. "Then [Karim] Benzema came to Madrid and I studied how he played with his back to goal, and inside and outside the box."

Shades of …
Given his hunger for goals of all kinds, his deadly close-range reactions and his rapid ascent through Real Madrid's ranks, comparisons to Raúl are inevitable. Mayoral is not fazed though, saying that being likened to the three-time UEFA Champions League winner "makes him proud".

Highlights: See how Spain claimed U19 crown
Highlights: See how Spain claimed U19 crown

Eureka moment ...
Mayoral headed Spain's first goal in their 2-0 victory in the 2015 UEFA European U19 Championship final, his side avenging a 3-1 group-stage defeat by Russia to win the competition for a seventh time. Swiftly propelled into the U21 fold, he registered on his debut in the recent 5-2 success over Georgia.

Best-case scenario …
The youngest player in third-division Castilla's squad, the 18-year-old will seek to build on the three league goals he has scored and cement his place in Zidane's lineup, while the Copa del Rey may offer further first-team opportunities. More goals for the U21s as they target 2017 UEFA European U21 Championship qualification can only strengthen his case for senior game time.

He says …
"You always have to have your eye on the goal and I always do. I'm always in the area, alive to any rebound or loose ball, so I can score those scrappy goals which count the same as any others."

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