Real Madrid of Spain’s Nigerian-born youngster, Marvin Akinlabi Park has gained more special accolades from the club’s mean team coach, Zinedine Zidane, after putting up a brilliant show in action with Los Blancos’ senior players, megasportsarena.com reports.
It was a day of sheer thrills and promising exploits by Akinlabi, as the winger-cum-midfielder held his own firmly on his non-competitive debut and helped the Madrid-based side’s first team get a 6-0 win over Getafe in a pre-season friendly at Alfredo Di Stéfano Stadium.
A report by Spanish sports daily, Marca, revealed that Akinlabi was outstanding in the forward line alongside Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior, even as Zidane fielded two different line-ups for each half; with the French attacker-turned-gaffer employing a three-man attack to start the game.
That saw the 20-year-old Akinlabi start on the right side of attack, which was the same role in which he had impressed during the knockout rounds of the UEFA Youth League last month; thereby raising fresh hope that he could get his official debut before the end of this season.
That would be a massive leap forward for Akinlabi, who last season made 26 appearances for Real Madrid’s second team, Castilla in the Segunda División B, with his feat of three goals and total of 1,451 minutes’ playing time standing him out among the club’s pack of youth players.
Akinlabi has always been on course for greater things at Santiago Bernabeu, having trained with the first team since the start of pre-season and his latest efforts in the build-up match helped Real net six goals in the first half, with Benzema, Sergio Ramos and Sergio Arribas all on song.
An additional report by allnigeriasoccer.com revealed that Akinlabi’s performances during training with Real Madrid’s main team earned him a nod for a place in the squad for their LaLiga clash against Real Sociedad on Sunday evening at Reale Arena in Donostia-San Sebastián.
The report added: “The French football tactician (Zidane) has included Akinlabi in his matchday 22 due to the unavailability of wingers Eden Hazard, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez, who all miss out through injury.
“In addition, the upcoming transfer of Wales winger Gareth Bale to Tottenham Hotspur opened a roster spot for the Spanish-Nigerian to step up and he also impressed in the 6-0 win against Getafe in a friendly on Tuesday in which he played the entirety of the first half.
“Should Akinlabi feature against Real Sociedad even for one second, he will enter into the history books as the first Nigeria-eligible player to feature for Los Blancos first team in a competitive match. Former Real Madrid youth-teamers Mutiu Adepoju, Derik Osede and Dimeji Lawal departed the capital outfit without making their debuts for the first team.”