Ferland Mendy is already one of the best defensive fullbacks in the world, but what is the Real Madrid man’s potential on offense?
French left back Ferland Mendy proved to be a shrewd signing for Los Blancos, with his performances throughout the season justifying the transfer amount spent. Although the defensive aspect of his game has been exemplary he has steadily developed the offensive facets of his play as well. The article looks at the offensive role of the Frenchman and his potential in the same.
The transfer of Ferland Mendy to Real Madrid was one that raised a few eyebrows, especially with around 50 million euros involved in the deal. In a window that saw the arrivals of attacking talent in the form of Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic, the Frenchman was another player that had the approval of his compatriot Zinedine Zidane. The Frenchman made a steady inroad into the team while keeping the legendary Marcelo out of the lineup, albeit his defensive prowess proving to be the deciding factor.
Mendy has been a crucial component in the stellar defensive overhaul on which the victory in the league was built. He has added as a balancing factor on the left side of the defense and his astute defending has often allowed Sergio Ramos to pop up in attacking situations.
The partnership of Ferland Mendy and Eden Hazard on the left will be an interesting one to watch, as the presence of the French left back will ease the defensive workload on the Belgian who has a point to prove in the upcoming season.
Ferland Mendy is already among Europe’s elite left backs
With Sergio Reguilion on the cusp of a move to Tottenham Hotspurs, the club has placed its faith on Ferland Mendy at left back. The 25-year-old has still a lot of time to develop his game and his performances have already put him in the bracket of elite left backs in the game.
His impressive pace coupled with his sense of positioning allows him to contribute at both ends of the pitch and allows him to cover lost ground on 1 v 1 situations. He has also performed well against technically gifted dribblers.
One of the best moments in his first season in a Real Madrid jersey was his goal at Granada. A clear indication of what he is capable of, the Frenchman has been steadily adding to his offensive repertoire with his excellent work rate helping him cement his place in the starting line up. He is a well-rounded fullback who is exceptionally strong in the technical facets of his game including his defensive qualities.
To add to that, his genuine pace allows him to be an asset when it comes to breaking the press. He presents himself as a reliable outlet in situations where Real Madrid find themselves facing tough pressing situations as he often gets in behind the defense with his line-breaking runs. His abilities in terms of being able to cross the ball and find himself in situations to do so let him act as an alternative route to attack for Madrid.
Ferland Mendy plays an active role in Real Madrid’s attacking
His cross against Atletico in the Madrid derby put the ball on a platter for fellow Frenchman Karim Benzema to finish off. According to WhoScored.com, he has recorded 0.8 key passes per game and 40.4 average passes per game in the league.
He is adept at making vertical runs on the wing while also cutting into from time to time to contribute as a ball carrier in the build-up to the attack. This ability to play a variety of roles in the build-up will allow Eden Hazard to play in central areas as well drift wide, where Mendy can also use his pace to burst into the final third and deliver passes into the box. He has displayed composure on the ball and this will be essential as Real have struggled against opponents who play a high press.
Mendy has the pace to present himself as a passing option when the likes of Toni Kroos are pressed on the left. His role as a passer cannot be undermined, with the growing demands of the game, defensive players are expected to be comfortable on the ball and Mendy doesn’t shy away from occupying the half-spaces on his side of play when he has the ball to play an active role in ball progression and provide a steady build-up.
This fits into Zidane’s tactical evolution at the Bernabeu and shows that the signing of Ferland Mendy definitely had his seal of approval. He has shown the ability to adapt his positioning based on that of his partner on the wing as he makes both overlapping and underlapping runs by shifting between narrow and wide positions.
Ferland Mendy’s attacking contributions do not hurt Real Madrid defensively
Ferland Mendy’s work-rate allows him to foray into attacking positions but also leaves him well poised to recover in terms of defending as his pace lets him cover the distance to complete the defensive action in time, unlike Marcelo.
This eases the relative burden on Sergio Ramos who has had to cover for Marcelo who was caught out of position at times which was a problem at times despite his unmatched skills and attacking prowess. The Frenchman might be a key element of Zidane’s attempt to design steady counter-pressing mechanisms, which must be a priority for the team this season.
Defensively, his ability to cut passing lanes has already been a welcome asset for Real’s defence which has undergone a transformation under Zidane. Ferland Mendy will be asked to do more of the same when it comes to the defensive aspect of his play.
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Coming to the offensive facets of his game, he has the skill set to develop it even more while ensuring that he continues to maximize his work rate and become a consistent attacking threat, he has surely showed the talent to do so. The left back position is Ferland Mendy’s to lose and he has the chance to be a mainstay in the position and add to the spectacular moments his Brazilian counterparts have given to fans over the years.