Real Madrid: Fede Valverde has another huge opportunity coming

Real Madrid, Fede Valverde (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Fede Valverde (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid are just barely alive in the Spanish title race which now is looking more of a two-horse race. Leaders, Atletico Madrid are two points clear of their city rivals, who control the destiny of the crown. Two straight wins from here on will mean that they are the champions for the first time since 2014.

The goal now is for Real Madrid to put everything they have in their attempt to get maximum out of the remaining two fixtures. This has been an unconventional season with the pandemic forcing players out and over 60 injuries making things difficult for the Royal White club. And yet another issue has come, and the timing couldn’t be any worse.

Star playmaker Toni Kroos reportedly came into contact with a person who tested positive for Covid-19. And, following the protocols, the German has been forced to isolation and consecutively ruled out of the game against Athletic Club and possibly the remainder of the season. We will see how things turn out for the Villarreal match, but, for now, he is out of this weekend’s fixture at San Mames.

With two must-win games coming up, Zinedine Zidane would want all of his top players fit to play. Toni Kroos, especially, has been outstanding this season. His absence will also halt his candidacy for registering the most number of assists in the league this season. He currently has 10 assists to his name, second to both Iago Aspas of Cetla Vigo and Atleti’s Marcos Llorente who have 11 each.

Missing the German for a crucial game is a huge blow for the club. However, there still are positives to be taken away from the situation. Kroos was rested for the game at Los Carmenes so that he would be 100% ready for the test at San Mames. His unavailability would thus mean another great opportunity for Fede Valverde to start at his preferred position.

Fede Valverde’s performance against Granada was excellent

Fede had a brilliant game in the last matchday. He looked impressive on the pitch, with or without the ball at his feet. Whenever he was given even a little sight of the ball, he made sure to win it. His sprinting was positive, right through the center of the field. He was enjoying possession for fun against the Andalusians.

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Even though, he didn’t score or assist, his ball-carrying helped create chances. He was finally subbed in the second half to bring on Isco. In the 62 minutes that he played, he maintained a 95% passing accuracy, making four key passes and two dribbles. Defensively, he made three successful tackle and two interceptions, per

It can be predicted that the Uruguayan is going to get another start at San Mames. As such, it would be a great opportunity for him to pick on from where he left at Los Carmenes. Valverde played through an injury in Anfield and thereafter, didn’t get enough game time, lacking 100% match fitness. He was called in for a cameo appearance at Stamford Bridge and then played the full 90 mins against Sevilla at home.

The young gun, therefore, hasn’t had too many eventful games since his return. Moreover, in the only match where he played for the full game (the one against Sevilla at home), he started on the right-wing where he struggled to make a mark.

It is pretty clear that he likes playing centrally and can make an impact then. We saw this in El Clasico’s opener scored by Karim Benzema, where he played a major part dribbling the ball upwards and sprinting in to release Lucas Vazquez. He saw a similar role in the last matchday against Granada.

Valverde gets an enormous opportunity in the upcoming games against Athletic Club and Villarreal, both very strong LaLiga Clubs. Real Madrid on the other hand, may benefit from playing younger and proven effective legs in the midfield.

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This is the perfect chance for Valverde to further prove his worth in big games, recalling his standout performances against Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in the past. He has been in discussion a few times for his hurried decision-making under pressure. This would be a good exercise to soak in some. The destiny of the title, either way, is in the hands of Atletico Madrid. All Real can do right now is win their remaining two games and Valverde needs to influence these wins, given that he has an amazing chance to do so.