Could this be the next Xavi? (Video)

Few footballers have the ability to dictate the pace of a game like Xavi Hernandez. The Barcelona stalwart patrols the centre circle with the swagger of military commander, ordering the ball to go long or short using his impossibly precise feet. Not only is he able to release an attacker at a moment’s notice, he manipulates the shape of the team on the park with his intelligent movement, making his defence difficult to breach and that of the opponents more vulnerable.

But just breaking into the Atletico Madrid first team is an 18-year-old pretender to Xavi’s throne; Oliver Torres. Apart from the fact that the team was Spain’s Under-20 side and that the number on the back of the shirt was twice the figure on Xavi’s, it was hard to pick the two apart. Perhaps the number is justified as being more than a decade younger, Oliver probably does twice as much running as the Barcelona midfield maestro. Or at least runs twice as fast. Anyway, young Torres undoubtedly proved himself a key component in the Spain engine room; tidily retaining possession and acting as a supply line for Jese Rodriguez. He also has the knack for dropping deep into defence to retrieve the ball and launch attacks.

The Spain U-20 gravy train may have stopped at the quarter-final stage, but we should expect to see more of Oliver. Diego Simeone is not one to hand out first team appearances to just any odd youngster. Feast your eyes on the future of tiki-taka.