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Raúl Guides Real Madrid To First-Ever UEFA Youth League Title

Whenever Zinedine Zidane decides he’d like to spend more time in Ibiza on his yacht and less time fielding questions about Gareth Bale’s short game, Real Madrid can rest easy with a “next man up” mentality given the early managerial success of legendary striker Raúl at the youth level.

On Tuesday, Raúl made history by becoming the second person to win the UEFA Youth League as both a player and manager after Real’s U-19 squad defeated Benfica in the 2019-20 final.  

The 43-year-old began his managerial career with Real back in 2018 with the U-15 squad but was subsequently promoted to manager of the Castilla (reserve) team back in June of last year. 

Early returns in Spain’s third division were promising enough before the season was prematurely suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak in Spain, but Raúl returned to the bench with Real Madrid Juvenil A (the U-19s) in the UEFA Youth League following the departure of previous coach Dani Poyatos to Panathinaikos.

The knockout phase was suspended in March before returning in August, with Real defeating Juventus in the Round of 16 (3-1), Inter in the quarters (3-0), RB Salzburg in the semis (2-1) and Benfica in Tuesday’s final (3-2).

This is Real’s first Youth League title after losing in the semifinals in 2014, 2016 and 2017. 

18-year-old midfielder Sergio Arribas was at the center of everything good for Real and finished the tournament with five assists in 10 games.

Miguel Gutiérrez, a 19-year-old left back, scored four goals in 10 games, including the match-winner in the final.

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