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Gib youngsters enjoying life at Peña Madridista Linense

We caught up with the five Gibraltarian youngsters who currently ply their trade in Spain with Peña Madridista Linense in category 3ª Andaluza Infantil.

Kai Bartolo, Michael Charvetto Parody, Jay Coombes, Daniel Smith, and Evan Villa gave us an insight into playing in Spain, their idols, and more.


  • Name: Mikey Charvetto Parody
  • Age: 12
  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • Idol: Alisson Becker because he is the best goalkeeper in the world at the moment. Makes difficult saves look easy while being brave on the pitch and a great sportsman.
  • An admirable player in Gibraltar: Jayce Olivero

Q: How have you found your time playing in Spain?

A: The standard of training and matches in Spain is higher than in Gibraltar and more intense. There are more teams in the league. You have to travel to other pitches on away matches and you don’t always know your opposition which makes things more interesting.


  • Name: Jay Coombes
  • Age: 13
  • Position: Defender
  • Idol: Carlos Puyol because he was a great captain, fantastic defender, and humble person.
  • An admirable player in Gibraltar: Lee Coombes

Q: What kind of impact has Lee Coombes & Jamie Coombes had on your development as a footballer?

A: Lee and Jamie have had a great impact on me as a footballer, watching them play from a very young age made me develop my passion for the game. It also made me realise I wanted more, football is my life and my dream is to make it happen.


  • Name: Daniel Smith ‘Dani’
  • Age: 13
  • Position: Midfielder
  • Idol: Steven Gerrard because he was a leader on the pitch and was a great example as a professional footballer.
  • An admirable player in Gibraltar: Roy Chipolina

Q: How has playing in Spain helped you as a player?

A: You start playing 11-aside at a younger age, and you play on a full-sized pitch. The football matches are very physical, so You have to work on your strength. You may not always start a game or play in the position you want to, so it has also helped me develop my mental strength. I have become more confident, and I am enjoying the experience of playing in a different country.


  • Name: Kai Bartolo
  • Age: 13
  • Position: Winger
  • Idol: Neymar Jr because he uses a lot of skill and pace. He is always aware of the pitch and is one step ahead of everyone else which leads to him creating chances and score goals.
  • An admirable player in Gibraltar: Lee Casciaro

Q: What’s changed in your approach to playing football in Spain compared to Gibraltar?

A: When I first moved to Spain I joined a team that was a year older which enabled me to play in games in my team and the team of my age group. I found the training more intense and more physical. We trained three times a week and had a league game every weekend. I had to understand the style of play and learn new skills. It was competitive so I had to increase my pace. Overall, I believe my ability to play football has increased rapidly in such a short space of time. Spanish football has more competition within games, which enables me to focus and be in the right mindset for the game. In Gibraltar, the competition levels were not high because all the good players move to one or two good teams. I am glad that I play in Spain because I face different and difficult challenges in each game.


  • Name: Evan Villa
  • Age: 12
  • Position: Winger
  • Idol: Kylian Mbappé because of his commitment and how he plays on the pitch, his style of play, and his pace.
  • An admirable player in Gibraltar: Andrew Hernandez

Q: With Andrew once playing for one of Cadiz’s youth teams, does Spanish youth football match your playing style?

A: Yes, Spanish football does match my playing style as it is more tactical, physical and there is more competition in the league.

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