Two years ago when Jese Rodriguez made his first Real Madrid debut, many thought that the Bernabeu side may have found an ideal long-term replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo. His first goal for Madrid came in the biggest match on this planet – an el clasico against Barcelona. He had the same pace, the same attitude and the same finishing as Ronaldo had when he was 20. But a disastrous anterior cruciate ligament injury in his right knee sidelined him for eight months until he returned to the side in December 2014.
The injury took its toll on the Spanish winger, as Jese lost his eye-catching pace and his fitness, and therefore made most of his appearances coming off the bench for Madrid. Jese described his injury by stating, “I had a very tough time, but I think that things in life happen for a reason. Maybe I had the injury because I needed to learn and become a more mature footballer.”
Jese hasn’t been a first choice player for Madrid so far, and speculation has been that he wants to leave the club in order to get more playing time. Liverpool and Arsenal have been interested in signing Jese, with Real trying to sell the 22-year-old forward with a buy-back clause in his contract.
But Jese is still a Real Madrid player, and in the pre-season, the Spanish international has shown some signs of the form he was in prior to the injury. There has surely been an increase in his pace as compared to last season, and now he is looking more of a complete mature forward. Blancos have already clarified that they don’t want to sell Jese, whom they consider as their priceless commodity.
It will be tough for the young forward to play for Madrid, as he will compete with the likes of Benzema, Bale and Ronaldo for a place in the team. But the appointment of Rafael Benitez as new Madrid boss has brought some belief back into the young Spanish players like Isco and Jese. Home-grown talent always holds a special place in the Bernebeu’s heart, and Benitez is likely to take a much keener interest in Castilla’s squad as compared to his predecessors.
Jese is one of the brightest young talents in world football and Real Madrid will not let go of such a player so easily. And there is no doubt that the forward will play an important role Real Madrid’s success in the upcoming season.