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‘Feel like I’m in a video game’ – Real Madrid ‘lucky charm’ on experience with first team

‘Feel like I’m in a video game’ – Real Madrid ‘lucky charm’ on experience with first team
‘Feel like I’m in a video game’ – Real Madrid ‘lucky charm’ on experience with first team

Real Madrid’s historic 15th Champions League triumph on June 1, a dominant 2-0 victory against Borussia Dortmund, continues to be celebrated by fans and players alike.

But behind the scenes, there was a secret weapon fueling the team’s success this season: Jeremy de Leon.

De Leon, a young Puerto Rican winger, wasn’t a household name amongst fans. He wasn’t even a registered member of the first-team squad.

Real Madrid’s lucky charm

De Leon arrived at Real Madrid in the winter transfer window, initially brought in to reinforce Raul’s RM Castilla side. However, his talent quickly caught the eye of Ancelotti, who began including him in regular first-team training sessions.

De Leon’s presence wasn’t simply for training purposes, though. Ancelotti, known for his superstitions, saw a different role for the young winger.

De Leon became Real Madrid’s lucky charm. He inexplicably found himself included in the travelling squad for the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City at the Etihad.

Ancelotti was quick to realise Jeremy de Leon’s charm (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Ancelotti was quick to realise Jeremy de Leon’s charm (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Madrid emerged victorious on penalties, and De Leon, though unregistered, celebrated alongside the team. This unorthodox strategy continued for the successful semi-final trip to Munich and the triumphant final in London.

De Leon on being Real Madrid’s ‘secret amulet’

Weeks after the historic win, De Leon finally broke his silence in a YouTube interview (h/t Mundo Deportivo).

“It’s crazy to be with them,” he said. “Going from playing FIFA with them to being there with them, sitting and eating at the same table. It’s crazy.”

The young winger described the surreal experience of being part of the team’s inner circle. “At first it’s intimidating, but you get familiar with it and get used to it. In the end, one ends up being one more.”

Jeremy de Leon, of course, will look to become more than a lucky charm for Real Madrid. At just 20, the youngster has a future ahead of him and the player could become a crucial player for RM Castilla next season.

Given how Ancelotti rates him highly, it won’t be surprising to see the Puerto Rican starlet soon making a push for the first team, despite the increased competition.