Real Madrid need to keep giving Eder Militao game time

Real Madrid, Eder Militao (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Eder Militao (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

On several occasions, Real Madrid center back Eder Militao has shown us that he has the ability to be a starting central defender for Los Blancos one day. The former FC Porto man hasn’t had enough opportunities to obtain the valuable minutes he needs to fix up the more subtle issues to his game, though.

Militao started for Real Madrid with Sergio Ramos injured against Deportivo Alaves. It was a huge spot for Los Blancos, as they had just lost to Alcoyano in the Copa del Rey after their Spanish Supercup exit against Athletic Club. Militao actually played in the mid-week disaster to Alcoyano, but he scored in the match and was the only player worth praising in that loss.

Of course, the Brazilian center back wanted to be on the winning side of things, and he turned in a quality performance in the 4-1 win at the Mendizorroza against Deportivo Alaves.

He made a couple of mistakes, but, as a whole, he impressed Madridistas. After a rough night together against Shakhtar Donetsk that gave fans flashbacks of the knockout loss to Manchester City in the second leg of the Round of 16, Raphael Varane and Militao righted the ship at Alaves.

Eder Militao is one of Real Madrid’s best passers this season

According to, the 23-year-old recorded a season-high four tackles with an interception to boot. He completed 93.1 percent of his passes, boosting his season average to a cool 90.9. Militao, in fact, is now third on the team in pass completion percentage, with only Toni Kroos and Sergio Ramos ranking higher. That’s not bad company.

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I think Militao’s passing quality and even passing range are quite underrated. He plays on a team with Ramos at center back starting in front of him, so it’s unsurprising that he, as a backup, would have his passing overlooked. But at the age of 23, Militao is more composed and advanced on the ball than most center backs, especially backups. He is already better on the ball than Varane, if we’re being honest.

Despite now leading the team with 2.7 tackles per game and placing second behind Casemiro in interceptions per game in La Liga, Militao ranks low among Real Madrid players in another important statistical category. Minutes played.

Alvaro Odriozola and Mariano Diaz, who would both ideally be sold this summer, are the only players with fewer minutes than Militao among Madrid’s first-team men. Militao has played less than Marcelo, Nacho, and Isco, for example.

Nacho has been solid this season and is a great backup to have around, but how much of a future does he have in Madrid? Is it really best for the team in the long-term for Zinedine Zidane to prefer Nacho to Militao? I don’t think so, and I think Militao’s performance against Alaves with Nacho also out is a reminder that the Brazilian can play a bigger role as the team’s third center back.

Militao should not be loaned, and selling him would be an atrocious idea. Whether it was this win over Alaves or last year’s victory over Athletic Club, Militao has had a few great games for Real Madrid. His numbers this season are also quite good, and Real Madrid should be giving every opportunity possible for him to build on these performances.

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Ramos and Varane are entrenched, as they should be. They are still arguably the best center back pairing in the world, and that isn’t changing. But with Ramos’ future still technically uncertain and David Alaba a better fit at left back than right back, there should be another incentive for Real to keep giving Militao chances. With money tight, it’s better to stick with and develop Militao than burn money on a center back that could go to a clear difference-maker in the attack. Because right now, Militao looks like he could be a difference-maker in his own right, albeit defensively.