Real Madrid: Maybe this is exactly what Luka Jovic needed

Real Madrid, Luka Jovic (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Luka Jovic (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic has been bumped down the pecking order again, but his clutch performance during the international break could be the boost in confidence he needs.

Luka Jovic has all the tools to be a great No. 9 in European football. We’ve seen it with our own eyes when he was at Eintracht Frankfurt, scoring 27 goals in all competitions for the Bundesliga side. And even at Real Madrid, we have seen Jovic do some great things, such as assisting with the back of his heel for Casemiro to win a tough game against Sevilla in 2020.

The 2020-2021 season has not been kind to Jovic, though. After rumors of either a potential loan, transfer, or bump down the club’s hierarchy below Borja Mayoral, Jovic has yet to contribute to a goal. He received back-to-back starts against Real Betis and Real Valladolid, but he has not started since a 3-2 loss to Shakhtar Donetsk.

Heading into the November international break, Jovic even seemed to be bumped in favor of Mariano Diaz, who entered the recent loss to Valencia ahead of the Serbian international. His future has become even less certain amidst increased rumors of an Erling Haaland signing in 2022.

But Jovic made a statement in Serbia’s first game of the international break. Not only did he score against Scotland, but he scored the last-gasp equalizer. And when the match was in penalties, the 22-year-old striker nailed his penalty en route to Serbia’s big European qualification win.

Funnily enough, Jovic didn’t start in this game for Serbia either. He was a substitute in the 69th minute who changed the game upon his inclusion in the match. Jovic won three aerial duels, completed around 85 percent of his passes, recorded one key pass, and, of course, found the back of the net at the best possible time.

It’s easy for a young striker to lose confidence when he isn’t starting regular for club or country, and the pressurized nature of Real Madrid likely hasn’t helped matters either. Imagine being the subject of so many rumors about your future while you have no real chance to change anything stuck on the bench.

The international break matters a lot to Jovic, because it’s his best path to playing time and a chance to prove to Real – and anyone else watching – that he can be “The Guy” at the No. 9 position. It’s a tough situation to be behind a legend like Karim Benzema, but Jovic can only continue to do his best to show Real Madrid that they should still give him a shot.

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The allure of Haaland is compelling, but Jovic is the one who is in Madrid. And surely, he still intends on being Benzema’s illustrious successor to one of the most difficult but desirable gigs in world football.