Real Madrid: 4 questions to answer before the Champions League knockout round

Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Lucas Vazquez
Real Madrid, Lucas Vazquez (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

How will Lucas Vazquez do at right back?

Lucas Vazquez has been one of the bright spots for Real Madrid in the 2020-2021 season. Last year, he was the butt of jokes for many Madridistas due to a series of errors from the right wing and an overall lack of effective attacking play. He was only marginally better than Gareth Bale, which is not a ringing endorsement at all.

But this season, Vazquez has been quite good. He has five total goal contributions in La Liga and is averaging 1.7 key passes per game, according to, which puts him second behind only Toni Kroos among Real Madrid players. That’s great company!

Dani Carvajal will miss several weeks with his most recent injury, so Vazquez is the next man up at right back. He has earned that position as the second-choice option at the position, as he has thoroughly outplayed Alvaro Odriozola despite not being familiar with the position.

That said, Atalanta are a different challenge. They are a fast, intelligent attacking side that can score in a hurry, and one of their star players operates on that left flank, Robin Gosens. We saw Vazquez dominate in the Champions League against Borussia Monchengladbach, but we also saw him struggle to defend counters against Shakhtar Donetsk.

Which version of Vazquez will we see defensively against Atalanta next week?