The match that Elche will play this next Wednesday (9pm), at the Martínez Valero stadium, against Real Madrid is one of those that the Elche squad has marked in red since the calendar came out. But there is a footballer who will experience it in a slightly more special way, such as Nino.
The franjiverde captain is the only member of the Elche team who has ever been part of the white club. He was in cadet and youth age when he was in the Madrid quarry, from where he arrived at Elche when the then technical secretary and current Atlético de Madrid delegate, Pedro Pablo, recruited him when he was just 18 years old.
Nino joined Real Madrid when he was 15 years old. At 14 he was already playing in the youth category with his native Vera’s team. Thanks to Frasquito Alfonso, who had a direct connection with those in charge of the Madrid youth squad, he attended a test in a friendly match in Murcia, where players from the Murcia and Almería area who had projection were present. The striker liked the Madrid scouts and the following season he became part of the cadet team, where he already demonstrated his scoring skills, with 26 goals, proclaiming himself champion of his Preferred group.
The subsequent campaign was promoted to the youth category and with 16 years he started at Real Madrid C, because the white club had the players distributed according to age. As a first-year youth, he played for team C and scored 26 goals.
In the Real Madrid quarry, the Elche captain coincided with Vicente del Bosque, who at that time director of the quarry. «He was a teacher. I learned a lot in the Madrid youth academy, both at a football and personal level, “he commented in an interview with the Diario de Almería, when he reviewed his career in December last year, on the occasion of the inauguration of the pavilion that bears his name in Vera.
Pedro Pablo brought him to Elche
After two seasons at Real Madrid, he was offered a loan and he decided it was time to look elsewhere for his opportunity. There the option of Elche arose and Pedro Pablo, who knew grassroots football in the Madrid area very well, signed him for the franjiverde entity, where he has become a legend. Furthermore, he married a woman from Elche, has two children from Elche and has settled in Elche.
But Nino’s special affection for Real Madrid does not come only from his time at his quarry. As a child, like everyone else at home, he was a fan of the white team and had a special predilection for the Madrid team. His idol was Emilio Butragueño, who will also be in the Martínez Valero box this Wednesday as director of institutional relations of the merengue entity, and for that reason he has always worn the number 7 on his shirt.
The franjiverde legend already had the opportunity to face Real Madrid in the First Division when he played in the ranks of Levante, Tenerife and Osasuna. But he has never had the option of doing it with Elche.
The captain of the Elche team, despite all the records he accumulates, is fulfilling one of his great dreams this season, which was to be promoted and play in the League of Stars dressed in green franj. And on Wednesday he can do it in front of the team he always admired during his childhood.
In addition, the match against Real Madrid comes to him at his best in this difficult campaign for Nino. I was barely enjoying minutesBut in the last two stakes, against Atlético de Madrid in the Metropolitano and against Osasuna in the Martínez Valero, it has begun to count for Almirón and the forward has shown that at 40 years of age he still has the quality to offer a good performance. His departure to the field against the Navarrese was providential, he started the play that gave rise to the tie at one and each time he came into contact with the ball he brought a lot of clarity in the game.
Faced with this situation, the Nino who was biting his nails and despairing in the stands until two games ago has recovered his illusion and on Wednesday, if the coach gives him minutes, will try to help Elche to achieve victory against his team as a child, as was Real Madrid.
Digsmak is a news publisher with over 12 years of reporting experiance; and have published in many industry leading publications and news sites.