Real Madrid said Monday it signed the Argentine prodigy to its youth academy after seeing him in tryouts. He will start training with Madrid’s youth team Sept 6.
Coira hopes to follow the path set by Messi, a countryman who joined Barcelona from the Argentine club Newell’s Old Boys as a teenager and has gone on to win the World Player of the Year award two times.
“(My) dream is to meet Messi, play in the first division with Madrid and for Argentina in the World Cup,” Coira told the Spanish newspaper ABC.
The signing underscores the tactics of top teams scooping up fresh talent as early as possible to avoid paying huge transfer fees when their potential blossoms. And the Spanish soccer power didn’t have to look as far as Argentina to find this gem.
Coira’s family moved to Madrid three years ago after his father, Miguel, was offered a job in the Spanish capital. Miguel Coira coaches a local youth club where Leonel played and first caught the eye of a Madrid scout. Madrid reportedly made the push to sign Coira because Atletico Madrid was also pursuing the youngster.
Signing children is nothing new in soccer, where almost every professional club has an extensive youth academy where dozens of young players live and train from the age of 11.
In foreign countries soccer is the escape from poverty for many. Youngsters from the top soccer countries across the world are developing kids at a very young age and some of these kids eventually join the national team. Stories like this makes it clear that the United States has an uphill battle ahead to continue to compete with these other nations.