Over time, it’s natural that a club of this size would be responsible for a number of notable products, but nature was on some sort of steroid on this occasion, wasn’t it …
In recent times, the first team and indeed the Real Oviedo Academy have more than benefitted from their fair share of fortune. More specifically, the Segunda Division outfit have had a decent stack of cash to use in the most organic way since Carlos Slim’s investment in 2012. However, almost a decade before that, by virtue of their geographical location and dedication to the lower leagues, some rather well-known names appear. Starting with …
Juan Mata – Central Attacking Midfielder (CAM) – currently at Manchester United
I can’t lie, this one came as a surprise to me, as I thought the cultured midfielder’s time as a baller began with the Real Madrid ‘Castilla‘ setup. But nope, dive a little deeper and his roots are planted firmly within the Real Oviedo Academy – following the footsteps of his father who spend most of his professional life in that royal blue kit.
Since then, Mata has arguably enjoyed the most lucrative career of the three on this list. Most notably moving onto Valencia before earning a big-money move as one of those ‘oh, he looks alright, but let’s see what happens when he’s in England’ moves to Chelsea. Now, he’s playing out that go-between of a club ambassador / twilight player at Manchester United, where he’s about as loved and respected as a footballer can possibly be.
Santi Cazorla – Central Attacking Midfielder (CAM) – currently at Al Sadd
Technically a similar height and stature to Juan Mata, these two lads couldn’t be further from each other in the footballing sense. Whereas Juan might be a little daintier with his footwork and rely on his vision to open defences, Santi has proven to be one of those guys who can get his head down, drive with the ball and make things happen.
It was this mentality which not only set him apart from the crowd within the Real Oviedo Academy ranks, but also made sure that he was going to have a substantial career once he’d left. Eventually, stints in Villarreal, Malaga and Arsenal would confirm just how good of a player he was, and it’s a crying shame that injury (no matter how hard he tried) would impact his life in the way he really didn’t deserve.
He was even ambidextrous as well – man used to take corners and set-pieces with both feet whenever the situation calls for it – and believe me, it takes a special player to be able to do that.
Michu – Centre-Forward (CF) – retired in 2017
Last, and most certainly not least, we have the only Real Oviedo Academy graduate to substantially begin his professional career with the club, and then come back to finish his career where it all began. Sure, he might not be the only player to do that, but it’s certainly a story we all love to see in this short-minded game of ours
Of all his stints, perhaps his best came with both Rayo Vallecano and Swansea City. In fact, you need only click here to find out how we feel about his time in Wales, but overall, Michu has carried himself with a level of grace and integrity befitting his youth team’s policies, and has made a career of being an unconventional striker.
But I’m sure Real Oviedo will tell you better than most: being conventional is boring!
What do you make of these Real Oviedo Academy graduates? And be honest, did you know all of them started their career here before reading this? Let us know in the comments below!
A self-confessed football nerd, Ultra United ('Ultra UTD') is the product of everything Dev Bajwa believes in when it comes to football. The antithesis of your typical football outlet, Dev appreciates the unappreciated and will spend as long as it takes to bring the beauty of the game to light.