Few outside observers were familiar with Real Madrid left-back Sergio Reguilon until this season, but after winning a first team place with Los Blancos in the past few months, the fearless and skilful defender is now one of LaLiga’s fastest rising stars.
Madrid-born Reguilon only made his senior LaLiga Santander debut in November 2018, although the youngster looked immediately at home, completing all 34 of his attempted passes during his first 45 minutes at the top level, including at least three dangerous crosses from the left wing.
Fans and pundits not just at the Santiago Bernabeu but all over the globe were impressed by the youngster’s mix of grit and determination when defending and audacity and confidence when raiding forward. That was just the beginning; the fan favourite quickly ousted club vice-captain Marcelo as the team’s first-choice left-back.
A first LaLiga assist provided teammate Casemiro with a goal in January’s 2-0 win over Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu, while a left-wing cross set up another for centre-forward Karim Benzema in a 3-0 victory at home to Alaves a few weeks’ later. There was also an immediate connection with the even younger Brazilian eighteen-year-old Vinicius Junior down Madrid’s left wing.
Such rapid progress has come as something of a surprise to those who were not closely following Reguilon’s progress through the ranks at Madrid’s La Fabrica youth system. The naturally quiet but committed character was not particularly hyped up as a youngster, and never capped by Spain at any under-age level.
Even before summer 2018, however, Reguilon had already played almost 100 times in Spain’s third tier. He picked up valuable experience while spending the 2016/17 season on loan at Logroñes, often featuring on the left wing and scoring four times in a Segunda B game against Athletic Bilbao in October 2016.
A regular for Castilla, Real Madrid’s youth team, under Santi Solari through 2017/18, Reguilon scored two goals and provided four assists in 30 games last season, while his maturity and leadership skills shone through when being given the captain’s armband on 11 occasions.
Solari knew exactly what to expect when he brought Reguilon into the senior team last autumn. The settling in process was also made easier by former Castilla teammates Fede Valverde (20) and Javi Sanchez (21) also making the jump at the same time.
A call-up to the senior Spain set-up looks very close now for Reguilon, who showed buckets of character and fighting spirit even as Real Madrid lost 1-0 to rivals Barcelona in late February at the Bernabeu.
Many around the Bernabeu are very proud that the team now have home-grown full-backs on both sides of the defence. Reguilon now looks set to follow another Spanish capital native Dani Carvajal and become a fixture in the side for years to come.