Real Madrid: Is the midfield of the future already here?

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 fans wanted the club to sign another midfielder in the summer 2021 transfer window, preferably someone who can contribute to the rotation now but has the upside to be a world-class player in five years. And Los Blancos went out and did exactly that, signing long-time target Eduardo Camavinga from Rennes at a bargain rate.

Camavinga is an accomplished player despite only being 18 years old. He has achieved success in the Europa League, Ligue 1, and Champions League for Rennes and is ready to take the next step. Although Camavinga would not be rushed into a starting job, the opportunities will be there for him to seize.

Already, Real Madrid have one of the most promising midfielders in the world in Fede Valverde, who reminded fans of his talent by scoring a wonderful free kick goal over the weekend in Uruguay’s win over Bolivia.

Valverde, like Camavinga, is impressive at recovering the ball and carrying the ball at his feet. He is a supreme athlete and the definition of a team player. The man can play just about anywhere and do just about anything.

Eduardo Camavinga and Fede Valverde are sure-fire pillars for Real Madrid

There is no doubt that Camavinga and Valverde are going to be pillars of this team for years to come. They are not starters right now, as the old guard trio of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and Casemiro is still going strong. In 2021-2022, they remain recognized as the best midfield group in the world, even amidst strong competition from clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea.

But one day, the midfield will be Camavinga’s and Valverde’s to own. The question is, who will join them. Five years from now, Valverde and Camavinga will probably be world-class players. Who will be the third galactic presence in midfield?

Maybe it will be someone from the outside like Jude Bellingham or Aurelien Tchouameni. Houssem Aouar, Nicolo Barella, and Manuel Locatelli have been linked to Real Madrid this past summer, too.

Ask Madridistas, though, and many will tell you that this third star is also already a member of the squad. They will tell you that he reminds them of Xabi Alonso.

Antonio Blanco received a cup of coffee at the end of the 2020-2021 season and made the most of it, taking advantage of injuries to show his own class in the middle of the park. The Castilla standout showed a different level of composure, playing excellent football in a revenge-minded victory over Cadiz.

It looks like Blanco could be the man in the middle for Real Madrid, with Camavinga and Valverde tirelessly working on the sides as Blanco shields the back four and playmakes from deep. He has the leadership qualities, defensive attributes, technical skill, and close control to be a future starter at Real. It is not easy to crack this XI, and most Castilla players end up having very good careers for a club just a step or two below Madrid. Blanco, though, looks like he could be a different story to the rest of them. Martin Odegaard included.

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Camavinga, Valverde, and Blanco. There’s a chance that’s the next great midfield at the Santiago Bernabeu. Now, the appeal of signing someone like Bellingham or even a more immediate star like Paul Pogba on a free cannot be ignored. But even in the case of signing Pogba, that does not preclude Camavinga and Blanco from eventually breaking through after the old guard bids farewell.

There are reasons to be excited about the future in Madrid, and these three young midfielders are absolutely on that list of reasons.