Real Madrid: Fede Valverde’s goal-scoring a welcome weapon

Real Madrid, Fede Valverde (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Fede Valverde (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images) /

Real Madrid may have found a secondary goal-scoring option in midfield in Fede Valverde.

Fede Valverde has already bettered his goal tally from last season for Los Blancos and the midfielder seems to be in red hot form in front of goal. After a breakout season last year, Valverde’s goals might be a huge asset for Real Madrid and will go a long way in cementing a place in the starting lineup. This article looks at how the Uruguayan midfielder could become a consistent scoring threat for Los Blancos given his recent showings.

One of the biggest challenges that Zidane has faced in his second tenure at Real Madrid is to replace the output of a certain Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of goals. The Frenchman has reiterated the fact that he expects players to chip in and share the goal-scoring responsibilities, especially demanding contributions from his midfield. Real’s march to the La Liga trophy last season was buoyed by Karim Benzema’s prolific goal-scoring last season in addition to the majority of the squad chipping in at crucial moments, especially with Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio ruled out.

Zidane will be expecting more of the same from his squad and midfielders in particular and recent performances suggest that Fede Valverde might be key to the Frenchman’s demands. The youngster’s tenacity and physical presence have already made him a key component of Zizou’s second tenure as the Frenchman appreciates the work rate that Fede brings to the team.

Valverde has scored in the last two La Liga games, including his fine finish to give Los Blancos the lead in the El Clasico. The Uruguayan midfielder has already shown his capabilities last season, turning in remarkable performances in key fixtures and pushing Paul Pogba out of Zidane’s plans in the process. 

Fede Valverde is already a difference-maker

Valverde has mostly featured on the right side of a midfield three in Zidane’s 4-3-3 system where he pushes into the right wing or the half-space while attacking. His pace and tenacity allow him to create attacking combinations with the right forward and reduce the workload on the front three. Fede has shown his adeptness at pushing the ball into space and sprinting beyond the opponent, as well as his ability to run at defenders, which makes him a formidable threat especially in counterattacking situations.

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During the El Clasico, Valverde applied the pressure on Barcelona’s midfield pivot and often pushed behind them. This worked in Madrid’s favour and was key to the opening goal. Benzema dropped between the lines to receive the ball and Fede’s pace allowed him to run into the box unmarked to score his goal.

In the buildup to the third goal versus Huesca, the trio of Hazard, Benzema and Asensio combined well with Hazard and Benzema disrupting the visitors’ backline. Valverde’s finish in the goal saw him shuttle to the opposition box in no time and provide Benzema with an option whilst capping it off with a simple yet effective finish.

Valverde is equally adept at hitting the ball from the edge of the box, a position he often pops up in.

After all, he almost completed the dramatic comeback vs Shakhtar Donetsk from the edge of the box (only for the goal to be canceled by VAR). It is worthy to note that both of his goals last season came from outside the box in rather Toni Kroos-esque fashion. 

Real Madrid, Fede Valverde
Real Madrid, Fede Valverde (Photo by Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images) /

The Uruguayan has already bettered his goal tally from last season, as he has 3 goals to his name including an impressive finish in a tight space in Real’s 3-2 win over Betis. He popped up at the near post to get on the end of Karim Benzema’s inviting pass from the right wing.

Valverde’s pace allows him to get involved in the attack without disrupting the defensive structure of the team as he can cover a lot of ground. Zidane has used this to his advantage in both attacking and defensive transitions.

Despite the fact that most of Real’s attacks come from the left side, the presence of Valverde allows the right forward to go out wide as Valverde runs into the space created by their movement. His ability to make runs into the box will also be particularly useful as he provides an extra option for deliveries into the box.

Fede Valverde’s goals are a welcome contribution to Real Madrid’s attack

Valverde’s scoring antics will be a welcome sight for Zidane as he seeks to address issues in the attack after a remarkable overhaul of the defense last season. Fede’s emergence was a breath of fresh air for Real’s midfield last season and this season he could be a key in the attack as well.

Zidane’s preferred trio of Hazard, Benzema, and Asensio have the ability to draw defenders out of position with their attacking runs and this could allow Valverde to run into the spaces they create and get on the score sheet more often.

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The Uruguayan has already shown that he has the composure necessary to be a threat in front of goal with his finishing this season and this could be a key in big matches where Real’s attack gets stifled as they might have to look elsewhere for goals or rather at Valverde in particular.