Why Eduardo Camavinga could start in Real Madrid’s return to the Santiago Bernabeu

Real Madrid will face Celta Vigo next Sunday night at the Santiago Bernabeu, as the Royal Whites will make their long-awaited return to the White House. And they may do so with their newest signing, center midfielder Eduardo Camavinga, partaking in the starting XI.

Camavinga joined Real Madrid shortly before the deadline closed, signing on for 30 million euros from Rennes – plus variables. The 18-year-old midfielder has long dreamed of a Bernabeu move, and he could get a chance to live his dream in the club’s first match after the window, playing in front of Madridistas at the vaunted arena.

This possibility arises for a number of reasons. Firstly, Toni Kroos is still potentially unable to play. He missed the first three matches of the campaign with pubalgia, and while he says he is feeling better, he is still in some pain with certain movements. His return date is undetermined.

Luka Modric has also been out injured, and while he is expected to be ready for the Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti could decide to hold out the experienced man or just have him available on the bench for a final run of minutes if he is needed – or do add sharpness for the following match against Inter Milan in the Champions League opener.

Eduardo Camavinga brings the versatility and skills Real Madrid need in midfield

Then there are the likely absences of Casemiro and Fede Valverde due to international duty. That could mean anywhere from two to four of Real Madrid’s top four midfielders in the squad are out, leaving Eduardo Camavinga, Antonio Blanco, and Isco as the main men in midfield. Dani Ceballos is still out injured, of course.

Camavinga can play on either the left or the right side, and he is the best center midfielder in a 4-3-3 out of those three players. Real Madrid could even give Isco an opportunity to be a 10 by playing Camavinga and another player in a double-pivot. And we know how much Madridistas have been hoping for Blanco to play in this deeper-lying role after the skill-set he showed off at the end of the 2020-2021 season.

As for Camavinga, his skill-set certainly appeals to Madridistas, too. He is an elite ball-winner and ball-progressor who occasionally shows a serious scoring touch, just like he did for the U-21 team against North Macedonia over the international break.

Camavinga is a teenager, but he would not look out of place at all in the Real Madrid midfield. He is even more ready for this than Blanco, and Madridistas unfamiliar with Camavinga’s work could get a delightful crash course at the White House against Celta Vigo in LaLiga. Let’s see what the outlook is for the midfielders in doubt next Sunday, as well as Ancelotti’s own views on the best way to handle Camavinga’s first match. But it sure does seem like he will get a significant number of minutes, even if he does not start.