Jonny McConnell on the flying youngster giving Carlo Ancelotti welcome food for thought...
The 60-second story
Joining Real Madrid's youth squad at the age of 14, Jesé was always expected to be a star. After moving up through the ranks to Real Madrid Castilla - the reserves to you and us - the temperamental teenager continued to prove he was one of los Blancos' brightest prospects in recent years. In 2012/13, he broke club legend Emilio Butragueño's Castilla goals in a season record, scoring a brilliant 21st of the season against Alcorcón (which you can see below). The youngster certainly isn't short of confidence, repeatedly declaring during the season that he believed he deserved a chance in the first team. More recently he admitted he has "dreamt about winning the Ballon d'Or in four years' time".
His performances attracted praise from his own manager, Alberto Toril, as well as from José Mourinho (so it's no wonder he's confident). "We’re going to see him [Jesé] do some very special things over the next few years," said Toril. "He’s very special."
But the youngster's eagerness could have backfired on him before the season even begun. He admitted that leaving was a possibility, but was offered a new contract instead of being booted out. His arrogance has calmed slightly. Showing his maturity after February's game against Villarreal, in which he bagged a goal and an assist, Jesé told the media: "I'm pleased with my performances and my aim is to keep playing like this and training hard. Ancelotti and Zizou are both pleased with me." There are worse men to impress.
- Età: 20
- Ruolo: Attaccante
- Club: Real Madrid; 28 presenze (11 da titolare), 5 reti
- Nazionale: Spagna U21; 4 presenze, 2 reti
Why you need to know him
At the beginning of the 2013/14 season, the Spaniard extended his contract by four years. With that, Jesé began to feature far more in Carlo Ancelotti's plans than he did under Mourinho. With 15 La Liga appearances (12 off the bench) and five goals to his name under Ancelotti, the 20-year-old seems to be a favourite of the Italian. If he continues being patient and keeps his emotional outbursts in check, there is a distinct possibility of him reaching legendary status at Real.
What's been key to Jesé's development at the club is his versatility. He has played out wide, as a No.10 and as a striker. This has helped him break into the squad and, in a sense, hindered compatriot Alvaro Morata, whose inability to play in any position other than as the front-man has limited his opportunities.
Rodriguez's turn of pace leaves many opponents trailing in his dust, and as seen during his time at Castilla, opponents don't tend to catch him until the ball is in the back of the net. His trickery and skill is comparable to Cristiano Ronaldo's in the sense that his style is very direct; Jesé loves to attack opponents and keep them on the back foot. He's also grabbed four assists this season, and is showing the world his best attributes.
At times Jesé can come across as arrogant - but that's never stopped Ronaldo, after all. Still, if he is to become a great player he must keep himself grounded and learn to control his emotions. The Spain U21 man could be accused of selfishness on occasions, as well as lacking in his defensive contributions.
Ancelotti has praised his starlet's recent exploits. "He is an important player, is in good form and we have to enjoy that," beamed the Madrid chief. Ex-Castilla coach Toril has reinforced Ancelotti's views, saying that he "loves Jesé". Aww.
What happens next?
It might not be long before he's starting regularly. Rumours are that Angel di Maria wants to leave, and Karim Benzema could be offloaded too. This would likely mean that Ancelotti puts full faith in the Spanish youngster, and starts him alongside Ronaldo and Gareth Bale in attack. More performances like those recently displayed could even earn him a surprise place in Vicente del Bosque's Spain squad for this summer's World Cup.
Shooting 8 • Heading 5 • Passing 8 • Tackling 4 • Pace 9 • Dribbling 9 • Creativity 9 • Work-rate 6