Real Madrid: Don’t set Brahim Diaz up to fail with bloated expectations

Brahim Diaz of Real Madrid (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Brahim Diaz of Real Madrid (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Despite what is said by some on social media, Real Madrid fans are excellent as a fanbase. They are demanding, yes. But they are educated, passionate, and respectful, for the most part. If there is one issue some fans – and this, of course, is not restricted to Madrid fans but also extends to other fanbases of “elite” clubs – have, though, it is building up a young player just to watch them fall. And the root cause is natural excitement and false expectations.

Think about how many players who have been victimized by this cycle. Isco and Marco Asensio in the recent past. Built up as the saviors they never wanted to be. They just wanted to be productive and play football. Read some of the comments about Vinicius Junior in the 2018-2019 season and compare them to what is said now. It’s quite sad, really.

And I do not want the same thing to happen to Brahim Diaz. I read some of what is said about Brahim by fans, and I appreciate the optimism. I truly do. I appreciate the excitement. But it is extremely unfair to expect Brahim to be a regular for the Real Madrid first team. It is even less fair on Brahim to destine him for great things when he is still trying to find his feet and has never been a regular starter for any club’s first team.

Brahim spent the 2019-2020 season in the first-team squad and barely played, but his attitude and talent made an impression on Zinedine Zidane. Real Madrid urged him to finally accept a loan, and he earned a promising move to Milan.

Real Madrid youngster Brahim Diaz took a nice first step on loan at Milan

Out of all the Real Madrid loanees who will remain with the club next season (let’s assume Roma activate Borja Mayoral’s purchase clause), Brahim had the most impressive season. He scored three goals in 393 Europa League minutes and added four goals and three assists in 14 starts and 26 total appearances in Serie A.

Those are encouraging numbers. Brahim scored some excellent goals, including a curled opener in a 3-0 win over Juventus at the Allianz Stadium. He has shown a lot of heart in winning the ball when pressing or when carrying the ball into the final third and winning penalties. Milan seem to like him, and he has everything you want in a young player.

But look closer at those numbers. Brahim has started in as many games he’s come off the bench at Milan. He isn’t a full-time first-teamer for a team that is fighting for a top-four finish in Serie A. And while he contributes some goals, he has about as many goal contributions in the league this season as Marco Asensio (7) and Vinicius Junior (6). He has played less often than those two, but he also plays in a league that averages more goals per game than LaLiga.

What I’m trying to say is that you need to make sure you manage your expectations for Brahim. I don’t know if he is headed back to Real Madrid next season. He could help Los Blancos in 2021-2022, but based on the fact that he’s wasn’t a first-team starter in Milan, he could still use another loan move to keep moving forward in his development.

Remember, Brahim is only 21. The meteoric rises of players like Kylian Mbappe, Jadon Sancho, and Erling Haaland have spoiled a lot of fanbases. For most players, growth is steady and slower, and Brahim just completed his first, encouraging season on loan as a key rotational player for a very good football team.

dark. Next. The 5 players Real Madrid should have never sold

But he’s not yet ready to be an impact player for a team with Champions League title ambitions like Real Madrid. There’s a key distinction there, and I hope Madridistas understand this before heaping too much onto Brahim too soon.

We all want to be positive and supportive of young players. But there’s a way to do that without going too far and creating a hype monster that you cannot tame. Give Brahim time, let him breathe, let him progress, and let him turn into the player he was meant to become without any additional (read: manufactured) pressure.