Real Madrid right back Álvaro Odriozola reminded fans that he’s a quality fullback by assisting Robert Lewandowski in the Champions League.
Although Real Madrid’s Champions League season is over, one of their players is still competing for European football’s most prestigious prize. Álvaro Odriozola is neither a starter nor a key player for Bayern Munich, as Die Roten have Benjamin Pavard starring at right back.
But Odriozola entered the game against Chelsea in the Round of 16 with the tie already sealed and helped deliver more punishment to the Blues, dusting his marker and sending a cross to superstar striker Robert Lewandowski, who finished with aplomb. As usual. (Tell me why there’s no Ballon d’Or this year again?)
Odriozola was loaned out to Bayern during the winter transfer window, as Zinedine Zidane pretty much cast him out of the lineup following a poor, red-card performance in a 1-0 loss to Mallorca. It was a harsh decision, since it left Real Madrid without a backup for the overworked Dani Carvajal. Nor did it lead to Odriozola received much more meaningful playing time for the Bundesliga’s record champions.
Next year, Odriozola’s future is unclear. Real Madrid could loan him to a La Liga side, for example, in the hopes that he becomes a regular starter for them, grows his confidence, gains experience, and plays a key role behind Carvajal in 2021-2022.
Real Madrid need Álvaro Odriozola to help Dani Carvajal
But Los Blancos probably need “Odri” back in 2020-2021. They can’t head into another season without a true backup for Carvajal, especially if they do actually sell makeshift backup Lucas Vázquez this year. After selling Achraf Hakimi to Inter Milan for 40 million euros, Odriozola becomes even more important to Real in the immediate future.
Odriozola may have been benched and shipped out on loan for struggling against Mallorca, but he has plenty to offer to Los Blancos. The 23-year-old is one of the fastest players in La Liga, and he can add an awful lot to Real’s attack. Beyond the assist for Bayern in the Champions League, Odriozola played great in a 4-2 win over Granada in October, recording a nice assist in that game as well.
There will continue to be growing pains for Odri defensively, because he is still gaining confidence and learning the ropes at a difficult position. But in the same way Sergio Reguilón had a breakout season at Sevilla with regular playing time, Odriozola could likewise be close to having his own breakthrough.
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It’s more likely for him to get better faster on loan where he can play regularly, but he can also help Real Madrid in 2020-2021 if they need him back. And with no transfers set to come in and nobody behind Carvajal, Odriozola would absolutely fill a major need for a team that is still not quite strong enough to win the Champions League again.