Real Madrid: 3 reasons why Eder Militao must start next season

Real Madrid, Eder Militao (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Eder Militao (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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On 30th January 2021, Real Madrid had to play against Levante in LaLiga, with a paper-thin defensive squadron. Captain Sergio Ramos was out with a knee injury and Nacho was unavailable as he had tested positive for COVID-19. The Entrenador for that game was Zidane’s assistant David Bettoni, with the gaffer instructing his assistant from his home whilst being COVID positive.

With two of the four centre-backs out of the tie, Raphael Varane and Eder Militao were the ones to start the game. It had been a year and a half since his arrival at Real Madrid, but he couldn’t convince Zidane of his quality due to restricted opportunities, which is something that comes naturally with Ramos and Varane’s existence at the club, and he also fell behind Nacho in the pecking order. Militao had to try his best to impress his manager and show that he could be used in non-emergency situations.

Militao played the previous game against Alaves, but he couldn’t make his mark. He knew how important this game was for him, and how he wouldn’t get many opportunities like that. He was determined to do his best, but what followed next was something he wouldn’t have wanted at any point in his life. He was sent off in the 9th minute, as he denied Levante’s Sergio Leon a clear goalscoring opportunity. He wasn’t the last man standing and the decision was debatable, but what was done couldn’t be undone, and Militao’s chance slipped away from him.

He wouldn’t get any opportunity in two months after that game, and questions were raised about his future at Real Madrid. It looked like the fourth choice centre-back wouldn’t be playing anymore in the season, as a tight title race going on in the league didn’t give Zidane a scope for experimentation.

But, on 6th April 2021, Militao got the chance he would have never expected. Real Madrid was about to play Liverpool in the Champions League quarter-finals, and hours before the game news broke out, Raphael Varane tested positive for COVID-19. And with Ramos’ out due to a calf injury, Zidane was forced to start Nacho and Militao against an attack comprising the likes of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Diogo Jota.

It was the most important week of the season, with an important Clasico four days away, which would be followed by the second leg at Anfield. The Brazilian had played just 534 minutes till that game, and there were a lot of doubts over his match readiness before the big week.

It was Militao’s biggest chance to prove his worth, he wouldn’t have gotten a bigger stage than that to perform. And he proved himself with immense performances in all three games, as he completely silenced the likes of Sadio Mane, Leo Messi, and Antoine Griezmann. Everyone hoped to see Militao at his best, but no one expected Militao to do so well.

Militao took his chance and took it superbly. He had proved that it is difficult to get past a man on a mission, as the Brazilian formed a solid partnership with Nacho that was literally unbreakable from the middle. Zidane took note of the Brazilian’s brilliance and rewarded him by starting him in every game remaining in the season. Militao repaid his manager’s faith in him by playing at a world-class level consistently and gave his hundred per cent on the pitch to keep Real Madrid alive in the title race.

Today, he is an untouchable player for the club while being a starter for his national team, who didn’t even call him for the previous international break. This just shows how good he was in the last three months. And next season he might actually be a definite starter for Real Madrid, due to several reasons at which we will have a look.