Real Madrid: Eder Militao and the mentality of stepping up

Real Madrid, Eder Militao (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Eder Militao (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid center back Eder Militao probably didn’t envision that he would get the opportunity of the lifetime when Los Blancos began a “hell week”. They would be playing Liverpool at home, Barcelona, and Liverpool on the road in a row with questions about their ability to go far in the Champions League and even more pressing questions about their ability to defend La Liga.

Los Blancos were under fire, but they emerged unscathed. They beat Liverpool 3-1 on aggregate, and they took down Barcelona 2-1 in a win that has helped them significantly at this point in the tight title race.

There are many players who can be thanked for their performances that week, but nobody stood out more than Eder Militao, whose fine work in those matches helped set the tone for what would end up being a Player of the Month-worthy April.

And to think it all started when we learned on the day of the first leg against Liverpool that Raphael Varane would be unable to play for the next few games due to a positive COVID-19 test. Not only that, but Sergio Ramos was already out with an injury he sustained during international duty, leaving Militao and Nacho Fernandez on an island.

Eder Militao has earned the trust of Real Madrid

Militao didn’t need to make a fire and call for help. He swam in a sink-or-swim situation and showed Real Madrid fans that he has what it takes to be a star center back for one of the toughest teams to play center back for. More importantly, he proved he has what it takes to the club’s decision-makers, including manager Zinedine Zidane, amidst transfer rumors swirling about his future.

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Purchased for 50 million euros in the 2019 summer transfer window, Militao was the least hyped of the incoming signings despite playing at a high level for FC Porto in the Champions League, including against those aforementioned Reds. Militao had some strong performances as a first-year Madridistas, but he flew under the radar.

Now, nobody is taking Militao for granted. He may even start for Los Blancos next season, pending the futures of Ramos and Varane. And if he does end up starting, Real Madrid fans now have full confidence in the Brazilian’s quality.

At a moment’s notice, Militao was ready to play at a high level against big clubs, and he also kept Real afloat in difficult matches against smaller clubs, such as Getafe and Osasuna. Real Madrid may not have picked up a point against Getafe or the full three vs. Osasuna without him.

Over the past month, Militao has shown great composure, wicked closing speed, quality passing range, goal-scoring threat, and the astute reading of the game that is necessary for a center back wearing the Royal White kit.

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Militao, furthermore, has kept a cool head when needed and a fiery fighting spirit when needed. The duality is vital and is one a certain No. 4 has mastered. And Militao, at the age of 23, seems wise beyond his years, ready to help write the next chapter of strong central defenders roaming the Santiago Bernabeu. He seems to have the stuff true Madridistas are made of.