Real Madrid: A very early prediction for the team’s starting XI in 2021-2022

Kylian Mbappe (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Kylian Mbappe (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Casemiro
Casemiro of Real Madrid (Photo by Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images) /

LCM Eduardo Camavinga/Toni Kroos

Yes, I believe Eduardo Camavinga will be a lot more than just Casemiro’s relief at defensive midfielder. I believe Real Madrid will pay at least 80 million euros to sign Camavinga next summer, as he is the most impressive player in the world under the age of 21 and is the team’s second transfer priority after Kylian Mbappe.

So if they are going to spend that much money on him and convince him to join Real Madrid over, say, PSG or Bayern Munich, then they must start him. Toni Kroos will still play as the left center midfielder in some games, but I think Zinedine Zidane wants to have a midfield that plays more in transition and have someone like Camavinga who can offer more support defensively on that left side. It will be a time split, but I think Camavinga would play more than Kroos next season.

It’s a bold prediction, but I think Camavinga is ready. He is completing 90.8 percent of his passes in Ligue 1, so while he doesn’t have the same accuracy or range as Kroos – quite literally the world’s best passer – he still has the composure and quality to keep things ticking.

DM Casemiro/Eduardo Camavinga

Make no mistake, despite his struggles this season, Casemiro is still the best defensive midfielder in the world. He needs more relief, which is why I think he and Camavinga would have a time-split so that Camavinga would get starts at multiple positions in midfield.

Casemiro was so brilliant in 2019-2020, and he still has so much to give to Real Madrid. Signing Camavinga to ease the burden off Casemiro is crucial, but when everyone is at full strength, Case is absolutely a must-start. He makes everyone in the defense and midfield better.

RCM Fede Valverde/Martin Odegaard

Martin Odegaard would get starts as the right center midfielder, using his left foot to make cross-field passes like James Rodriguez at Everton and to also threaten keepers from distance with his outstanding shooting quality.

But Fede Valverde is preferred. He is one of the best young midfielders in the world, and his importance to Real Madrid is becoming clear. Valverde has won three Player of the Month awards in 2020, and he’s scored three goals in La Liga already.

A technician who can score from so many ranges or angles, Valverde is more than just a ball-carrying or defense-minded midfielder. That said, his motor and defensive quality are huge reasons for his importance to Los Blancos.