With all the already-announced exits and the further departure rumours promulgated in the Spanish media, it appears Atlético Madrid’s squad of the future will consist of Koke, Jan Oblak, Álvaro Morata, a Wanda Metropolitano security guard, a freekick mannequin, the ghost of Atléticos past and a cardboard cutout of Fernando Torres.
And, just maybe, Sergio Camello.
The 18-year-old striker made his first-team debut away at Levante on Saturday and scored his first Atlético goal to equalise and earn his side a 2-2 draw. He became the club’s first-ever scorer who was born in the 21st century.
As is the case with the other strikers to have taken their first senior Rojiblanco steps this season — namely Borja Garcés and Víctor Mollejo — there is reason to get hyped about this teenager. It’s not just because he scored one goal. It’s because he’ll score many goals — Camello even came close on a couple of other occasions during the weekend’s match in Valencia.
Even more excitingly, Camello is an Atlético through and through.
“We need our group to be made up of players who want to be here and feel proud of wearing this shirt,” chief executive Miguel Ángel Gil Marín said in an interview over the weekend. That’s certainly the case with this young forward.
Camello joined the Atleti academy at just eight years old, an even earlier age than Torres — the legend he’ll inevitably be compared to — did. He has scored in all the age categories, demonstrating that he can net all kinds of goals. He has it all in his repertoire, from headers to long-range strikes to chips over the goalkeeper, while coaches in the academy also insist that he is unselfish when he needs to be and that he has no problem setting up teammates in better scoring positions.
Although his goal against Levante followed his six goals in the Spanish third tier with Atlético B and his five goals from the Under-19s’ UEFA Youth League campaign, it’s still too soon to expect Camello to make the jump to the first team. Not only are there other talented peers like Garcés and Mollejo, but Camello is still so young and he even admitted that he doesn’t yet have the physicality for top-flight competition.
“I may not have the body for it yet, but I do have goals in me,” he joked in a post-match interview at Estadi Ciutat de València.
More senior appearances should be expected in 2019/20 though as the teenager gradually transitions into the first-team squad. Within a few years, he’ll surely be a trusted member of the squad and will be scoring goals in front of Estadio Wanda Metropolitano’s ravenous support.
“This is incredible and exciting,” the striker said on Saturday. It’s time for fans to start getting excited, too.