Jese Rodriguez: Player Profile

Real Madrid’s Rising Star

Personal information 
Full name: Jese Rodriguez Ruiz
Date of birth: 26 February 1993
Age: 20
Place of birth: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain
Height: 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position: Forward

Club information
Current club: Real Madrid
Number: 20

Youth career
2003–2005: El Pilar FC
2005–2007: Huracan
2007–2011: Real Madrid

Senior career
2011–2013: Real Madrid B 83 Appearances, 34 goals
2011– Real Madrid 28 Appearances, 8 goals

National team
2009: Spain U16 3 Appearances, 1 goal
2010: Spain U17 7 Appearances, 1 goal
2011: Spain U18 2 Appearances, 1 goal
2010–2012 Spain U19 11 Appearances, 6 goals
2013 Spain U20 8 Appearances, 5 goals
2013– Spain U21 4 Appearances, 2 goals

Jese arrived at the Real Madrid youth academy at the age of 14 and is currently one of the greatest young talents in Spanish football. He is from Gran Canaria and always wanted to play for the Whites.

Six years after his arrival, he is now a member of the first team and is starting to show that he is a top class footballer.

Speed, creativity, power and intensity are the main features of this rough diamond.

He has earned his place among the stars of Real Madrid thanks to his wonderful performances for Real Madrid Castilla last season.

He broke the goal-scoring record of a Madrid legend and his own personal hero, Emilio Butragueno, by scoring 22 goals in the Second Division in a single season.

 His ability to go past opponents and his determination to do so are a major problem for opposition defenders and the club scouts noticed this straight away.

In 2011 he went on the pre-season tour of the USA with the first team and he made his debut for Real Madrid in a King’s Cup qualifying round against Ponferradina.

His role model is Cristiano Ronaldo and this means that Jese’s objective is clear: to be the best player in the world.

At just 20 years of age he has made an impact for Real Madrid and has become a go-to option off the bench for Carlo Ancelotti.

He made his first La Liga start of his career a few weeks ago and scored. One week earlier, he had netted the winner in the Copa del Rey quarter-final win over Espanyol, whose coach, former Mexican national team manager Javier Aguirre, was impressed.

"He has an enormous, brilliant future ahead of him," Aguirre said at a press conference after the game.

Jese has scored eight goals this season, and most of those goals were against tough sides; Valencia, Athletic Bilbao, Valencia, Espanyol (all away games).

Jese has taken advantage of Gareth Bale's physical condition, with the Welshman unable to string together a few games as worries grow that his back injury might be more serious than first thought.

After impressing as a substitute, Jese has also overtaken Isco as coach Carlo Ancelotti's go-to replacement for either Bale or Ronaldo, as he can play out wide on either side of Madrid's favoured 4-3-3 system.

The path to the Madrid first-team has not always been a smooth one, though.

At an Under-18 tournament in Maspalomas, near his hometown, Jese was sent off for Spain in the first game and suspended for the rest of the tournament.

In a derby against Atletico Madrid, he was once banned for 15 games for assaulting the referee.

But Real Madrid stuck with him and he has repaid their faith. Jese was also top scorer as Spain won the Under-19 European Championship in 2012.

Last season, he scored 22 goals in 38 games for Castilla and starred for Spain at the Under-20 World Cup. Real Madrid assistant coach Zinedine Zidane has become Jese's mentor and the player was quick to acknowledge the Frenchman's input on his game after he scored at Valencia.

Jese's rise to prominence has coincided with Isco, signed from Malaga for €30 million last summer, falling out of favour.

Isco's style of play, not to mention his mobility and athleticism, does not suit the 4-3-3 system that Ancelotti prefers.

When Isco does play, often as the false No. 9 as a sub for Karim Benzema, he has looked short of confidence, and a place in Spain's World Cup squad looks further away than ever,  not least because of the form of Koke (Atletico Madrid) and Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich) in similar positions.

As for Jese, is it too early, after only one league start, to suggest he has a chance of a place in national team coach Vicente del Bosque's plans?

He is certainly seen as a Spain player of the future, and given that Pedro and Jesus Navas seem to have the wide positions locked down, it might be too soon for him.

But Del Bosque knows how to address weaknesses, and if there is a concern that the reigning world champions lack directness, Jese might just be the player to solve it.

Real Madrid have been waiting a long time for a new home-grown star. Just months after smashing the transfer world record on Bale, they may have found him.