Pablo Sarabia 20 Midfielder Getafe
The jewel in the crown. The future of Real Madrid…
Pablo Sarabia had been touted for a number of years as something exceptionally special. Initially operating as a winger, and a particularly skilful one at that, Sarabia looked an enticing prospect when he broke into the Real Madrid Castilla (aka ‘B’) team during the 2009-10 season.
Endowed with rapid feet, a range of passing and a keenness to shoot whenever possible, Sarabia was furnished with a central role by coach Alberto Toril which he embraced wholeheartedly, notching a dozen goals for the Liga B side. His exploits were enough to see Sarabia elevated to the Real first team squad for their Champions League game against Auxerre in December 2010. Arriving as a 72nd minute substitute for Cristiano Ronaldo, Sarabia made a brief cameo in his club’s 4-0 victory, “a tremendous night that I will never forget", stated the young midfielder after the game.
With a contract renewal due at the end of the 2010-11 season, Real needed to make a decision on the youngster. Considered not yet ready for the first team at the Santiago Bernabéu, and with Arsenal looking on inquisitively, Madrid, somewhat bizarrely, despatched Sarabia across town to Getafe on a permanent transfer - albeit with Madrid installing an option to buy back in 2013.
On the face of things the move to Getafe should, effectively, have been little more than a loan. Sarabia had looked good in the junior ranks at Madrid and had captained his country to glory at the 2011 FIFA Under 20 World Cup. The move offered Sarabia the opportunity of first team football in Spain’s top flight, whilst remaining resident in the only city he had ever called home. Getafe had performed well in the 2010/11 season and their sixth place finish suggested that this would be a perfect move for the youngster.
Making his debut for the Azulones as a second half substitute at home to Levante in late August 2011, Sarabia was afforded a first start for his new club in the familiar surrounds of the Bernabéu in a 4-2 defeat to Real Madrid. Early season performances were hit and miss and with only seven points on the board by mid November, the 2011/12 season was proving a lot more difficult than the previous one for El Geta. Results began to improve in matches during which Sarabia didn’t play, and, as the club eventually avoided relegation, the Madrid born midfielder’s only real contribution of note was, ironically, to lay on Juan Valera’s winning goal against Barcelona on 26 November. At the time, that assist looked a significant moment in Sarabia’s season, but proved the only true highlight of what was, ultimately, a fairly uninspiring first season in La Liga.
Considering the stock and reputation that Sarabia enjoyed in late 2010, regular bench warming duties for Getafe in 2011-12 were a let down, but 2012-13 has started in much the same vane, with the unused substitute tag appearing more readily than at anytime before.
Pablo Sarabia continues to play well as a focal point of Spain’s under 21 side, but regular game time just doesn’t look imminent on a weekly basis.
"For Spain U-21 he's dazzled but has yet to find his place at club level. Getafe was meant to be a platform before big things, however it just hasn't happened. Right now, he's going nowhere fast and is in danger of becoming a forgotten man." - David Cartlidge (Spanish Football Correspondent)
E Still highly regarded but needs to step up