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Sergio Canales (Valencia)

Born February 16, 1991

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Valencia midfielder Sergio Canales

Valencia midfielder Sergio Canales

Manuel Queimadelos / Getty Images

Real Madrid agreed to sign one of the best young players in Spain during the 2010 January transfer window.

In his breakthrough season at Racing Santander, he scored an outrageous chip against Sevilla and a howitzer of a strike at home to Villarreal where he twice used his chest to control the ball before wriggling away from the defender to smash a left-footed effort into the top corner.

Canales’ contract was due to expire in the summer of 2010 and Racing made the mistake of not offering the youngster a new deal until he had started wowing fans in La Liga. By that point it was too late, and a host of clubs were interested, including Barcelona, Valencia, and Chelsea. Real won the day and coach Jose Mourinho insisted on keeping him at the Bernabeu, rather than loaning the player out. However, the Portuguese tactician rarely used Canales and he joined Valencia in 2011 on a two-year loan wth an option to buy.

Canales is a player capable of calm and spectacular finishes, blessed with superb technique and a good head on his shoulders.

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