While all the hype in Real Madrid's youth team has surrounded Martin Odegaard in recent times, another bright star is shining away from the spotlight at Castilla - and Sergio Diaz is now considered one of the most promising prospects at the club.
Diaz made his debut in Paraguay's top flight at the age of just 15 and signed for Madrid last year from Cerro Porteno. And along with Odegaard, the South American striker is high up on the Goal NxGn list of the most exciting teenage talents in world football right now.
Odegaard, of course, is now on loan at Heerenveen unil next year and will seek to prove his undoubted ability in the Dutch Eredivisie. But back in Madrid, it is Diaz, dubbed the Paraguayan Sergio Aguero, who is stealing the show for Santiago Solari's youth side.
The striker has scored five times in Spain's Segunda B this term (Madrid's joint-top scoreralong with Victor Campuzano, Enzo Zidane and Nikos), having arrived with goals to his name in Paraguay's Primera Division and also the Copa Libertadores during his time at Cerro Porteno. And it was his dynamic displays at the Toulon tournament last spring that convinced Madrid to pay €5 million for his signing in the summer.
One of the biggest sensations in Paraguayan football inmany years, Diaz is powerful, with good technical ability and scores plenty of goals. Short in stature, he has been likened to a one-time Madrid target, Aguero, due to his style of play and the club have high hopes for him.
Upon his arrival at Real, Diaz was thrust into the pre-season tour in the United States. He had virtually no time to adapt, but Lucas Vazquez and Alvaro Morata in particular made him feel at home on the journey from Madrid to Canada after returning later from Euro 2016 duty. Pictures on social media showed the good relationship and close sources have revealed to Goal that, away from the cameras, it was even better. Perhaps one day, all three players will be competing for a first-team spot at the Santiago Bernabeu, but Lucas and Morata certainly gave the young striker a boost in morale when he was just finding his feet in Spain.
Diaz made his debut against Chelsea in pre-season and he was said to be in his element at the experience along with the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Florentino Perez and all the star names at the club. At Madrid, it is believedthat the tour helped him to mature and settle in at the Spanish side, where he has a good relationship with the rest of his team-mates in the dressing room and is considered to be friendly and humble, although a little reserved.
At the age of eight, he was already starting to attract attention in his homeland and at 10, he was turning out for the youth sides at Cerro Porteno. And although he is not from a family with a background in football, his 16-year-old brother is on the books atanother of Paraguay's big teams, Olimpia, and he has a 13-year-old nephew in the youth system at Cerro.
The striker'scareer was under threat before it had even began, however, as his parents decided to move to Argentina in search of work. In the end, though, they stayed in Paraguay and a young Diaz went on to shine in the academy atCerro. And now, the Paraguayan 'Kun' is starring similarly in Madrid's youth team. Next stop, the senior side.