Enrique Peña has signed to Atlético de Madrid thanks to his talent and unprecedented dedication to football.
It was his first football. A present. Enrique enjoyed it to such a degree that he started a collection of sorts. Whenever he was asked what he wanted, the boy asked for a ball. “We ended up having dozens of balls everywhere in the house”, remembers his father. “He’d go from room to room dribbling a ball, we’d never see him without one. At the park he’d play at, we were told more than once that he’d do well to start playing for a team”.
Today, Enrique Peña Novillo wears the Atlético de Madrid kit and his passion for football is stronger than ever. At twelve years of age, the young prodigy from Toledo was a midfielder through-and-through: he has a great understanding of the game and is technically very capable. Defending wasn’t ever his thing, but he’s a great passer, he’s quick and he has no trouble dribbling his way through the defence. His short-range game and touch with both feet is trustworthy.
His sporting career first started off at Club Deportivo Toledo, where he stood out in the under-5s category. So much so that the following year he jumped straight to the under-7s team. From there he went on to Odelot Toletum, to later end up at Atlético de Madrid. All the while, coursing various intensives at Marcet that no doubt polished his technique.
“In 2016, Enrique had already been called in for the Toledo y Castilla-La Mancha provincial team”, remembers Pedro, father to the midfielder. “He was in his last year at Odelot Toletum and we were looking for a summer camp. We found Marcet online. We saw that is was exactly what we were looking for so we decided to take him there. It was a very useful experience. He had a great teacher who immediately saw his quality and potential. Enrique already had a decent profile technically speaking but Marcet managed to improve that even more so, down to the fact that he was learning exercises that were completely new to him as well as different ways to move with the ball. It was an exhaustive and thorough campus and we’re very grateful to the teacher he had as well as to the institution for everything they’ve done for him”.
Three months after the intensive course, Enrique was signed to Atlético de Madrid. “It was big news for the whole family”, explains Pedro. “My son is, and always will be, very dedicated to football and with this we can definitely see the hard work start to pay off. We weren’t expecting it but we were definitely hopeful that someone would show interest in him”.
The responsibilities and new challenges that come hand in hand with playing for a team like Atlético don’t intimidate Enrique and his family. “We believe that being in a sporting environment is the best thing that can happen to a boy. The only negative aspect may be the time he has left for his academic studies because he has less for it as opposed to his friends. Even so, his grades are good and we’re very proud of him”.