Real Madrid: 3 players who must step up with Dani Carvajal injured again

Real Madrid, Dani Carvajal (Photo by Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Dani Carvajal (Photo by Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Raphael Varane
Real Madrid, Raphael Varane (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

CB Raphael Varane

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that two of Raphael Varane’s best performances of the season came against Villarreal and Inter Milan with Dani Carvajal back in the lineup. Lucas Vazquez does some things well, but he is not a natural defender. So his presence as the starting right back puts a lot of stress on Varane, especially when the other center back and the defensive midfielder aren’t holding up their end of the bargain.

Varane was majestic at Villarreal, holding off one of La Liga’s best attacks in a 1-1 draw in which the Yellow Submarine’s lone goal was a penalty caused by a clumsy Thibaut Courtois challenge. Basically, Varane did not put a foot wrong, and he even saved a couple of goals to ensure Real kept a point after their second-minute Mariano goal.

The understanding between Varane and Carvajal is truly underrated. Carvajal pushes high up the pitch, but his positioning and movement are better than Vazquez’s. He has more experience in that position and working with Varane.

So Varane is going to have to be superhuman without Carvajal. He’s going to have to be at his very best in covering and anticipating what the opposition is doing. Sergio Ramos’ upcoming return and Nacho’s quality play at Inter are developments that help Varane, but the French center back will still need to excel.