Real Madrid: 5 players who must shine in a huge match against Villarreal

Real Madrid, Casemiro (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Casemiro (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Eder Militao
Real Madrid, Eder Militao (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images) /

CB Eder Militao

We’ll have to wait to hear word on the statuses of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane for this weekend’s massive matchup, but it’s fair to assume that young Brazilian center back Eder Militao will be called upon to start.

Militao was solid in his first season with Real Madrid, memorably shutting down Inaki Williams and Athletic Club this summer in a 1-0 win. But this season, Militao has almost taken a step back, drawing the ire of fans for a truly abysmal match against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League opener.

There’s so much more to like about Militao’s game than dislike, even while acknowledging that there are growing pains for the young defender. And there always are, especially at a club like Real Madrid where small mistakes can become magnified by the pressure to pursue perfection.

Militao would be going up against one of La Liga’s best front threes – if not the best, when considering their overall form this season.

Paco Alcacer and Gerard Moreno have nine goals in between them. Moi Gomez is as underrated and consistent as they come.

But the main threats are Alcacer and Moreno. Their movement and finishing quality are difficult to match in La Liga, and they could very well score 20 goals apiece this season. Militao will be facing a formidable matchup on Saturday if he starts, and he must rise to the occasion if either Ramos or Varane is out.