Younger brother of Atlético Madrid centre-back Lucas, Theo Hernández turned heads with his fleet-footed displays in 2016/17 while on loan at Alavés from Atleti. Now Real Madrid have been unable to resist the 19-year-old left-back’s charms – handing him a contract until 2023 – and here’s why the European champions have signed him.
Name: Theo Hernández
Club: Real Madrid
Born: 6 October 1997
Preferred foot: left
International: 0 appearances, 0 goals
UEFA club competition: 0 appearances, 0 goals
Domestic competition: 38 appearances, 2 goals
They say …
“He’s a brilliant player – he’s already shown that.”
Filipe Luís, Atlético Madrid full-back
“I am very confident that Theo will be very happy and will succeed at Real Madrid.”
Marcos Llorente, Real Madrid midfielder and ex-Alavés team-mate
Theo’s father Jean-François was a defender at Toulouse, Sochaux and Marseille before making his mark in Spain with Compostela, Rayo Vallecano and Atlético. Born in Marseille, Theo and his brother joined Atleti’s youth academy while their father was based in the Spanish capital.
After excelling at junior level, Theo was awarded a new deal last summer before being loaned to Liga new boys Alavés, where he made the left-back berth his own, helping them to the Copa del Rey final in which he scored against Barcelona. He has featured for France’s age-group teams, but Spain are reportedly hoping he will switch to them for senior duties.
Playing style …
Ever keen to get forward, Theo boasts searing pace and excellent delivery, while his height and power lend an impressive athleticism to his play.
Shades of …
Theo’s speed, verve and crossing acumen are reminiscent of Jordi Alba. However, given his physical attributes and ability on the ball, there are echoes too of Gareth Bale from the Welsh international’s days as a full-back.
Eureka moment …
His first goal did not come until late in the campaign, but boy was it worth the wait: a scorching left-foot drive into the top corner to win a Basque derby, 1-0 at home to Athletic in May. The teenager then proved his strike was no fluke with a sizzling free-kick in the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona, which his side eventually lost 3-1.
He says …
“I’m better going forward but I’m not bad at defending either. In my position you’ve got to cover both facets of the game.”
On his role as full-back
“My style is that I’m fast, powerful, forceful … It was one of the best things I’ve done this season, but I’ve done a few others as well.”
On his assist for Deyverson against Madrid
“I don’t do anything in particular with it. I’ve just had that advantage since I was a kid.”
On his pace