The best right back option for Real Madrid who isn’t Pedro Porro

Real Madrid transfer target Pedro Porro (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)
Real Madrid transfer target Pedro Porro (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images) /

For the past few months, we’ve seen many right-back transfer targets being linked to Real Madrid as it will be a position that needs strengthening this summer with Dani Carvajal’s injury concerns, and Lucas Vazquez, although very much a reliable utility player, is most likely to come off the bench next year.

Pedro Porro, 22, has been one name heavily linked in the past, and although the Spaniard has a profile that could suit Los Blancos when the transfer window opens, he isn’t the only option Real Madrid should, or, will be looking at this summer.

Real Madrid in recent windows has looked to find quality players who would not cost such astronomical transfer fees due to an inflated market. David Alaba is a prime example, coming from Bayern Munich on a free transfer.

And if they are to go down this route again for the right-back position, Ajax right-back Noussair Mazraoui is one player that fits into the category of quality at the right price, with his contract expiring after this season.

Ajax vs. Real Madrid (Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
Ajax vs. Real Madrid (Photo by VI Images via Getty Images) /

The Unshakeable Moroccan from Leiderdorp

Mazraoui, 24, probably does not get as much love as other graduates from Ajax’s famous academy, but he definitely is a player that should, considering his versatility.

In the academy, Mazraoui was built as a midfielder, but current Ajax Manager Erik Ten Hag had a different vision for the Moroccan.

In 2018, the Dutchman would slot the Mazraoui in as the starting right-back against AZ and from there Mazraoui’s journey as a right-back would begin.

The 2018-19 season saw Mazraoui take a huge hurdle towards becoming a household name among Europe’s elite. That season, as many remember, Ajax was one of the more thrilling stories in world football having a cinderella run to the Champions League semi-finals, upsetting European giants like Real Madrid in the process.

Many players from that cinderella team would go on to be sold, but not Noussair.

The following season brought more downs than ups for the right-back as injuries and current Barcelona right-back Sergiño Dest would push him out of the starting eleven.

But Mazraoui stayed the course and fought for his place. After Dest’s move to Barcelona, he reclaimed his starting role and is back to the best version of himself, currently, tallying 4 goals and 3 assists in 21 games across all competitions for Amsterdamsche Football Club this season.

The Right-Back That Can Do it All for Real Madrid

Transitioning to a new position is not for everyone, but in the Eredivisie, defenders are expected to be multidimensional in whichever position they are in.

For Mazraoui, he was able to take his dribbling, vision, and shot creation techniques as a midfielder and convert himself into a well-rounded right-back.

This is music to the ears of Real Madrid, with players in the right-back position, like Carvajal, getting opportunities to get involved in the attack.

Wizard from the back

Offensively Mazraoui can do things that most right-backs can’t do as effectively when getting possession.

As a dribbler, the Morocco international can comfortably move through traffic. Off the ball, he opens his body sharply in a direction to draw in opposing threats and switches direction as they close in.

He will often cut inside towards the midfield and back out to the wing but he’s shown at times that he’s fluid enough to move across to the left side of the field to open up spaces in the attack.

He’s got an incredible engine that pares smoothly with his electric pace to beat out defenders on 1 v1 opportunities, completing 58% successful dribbles in the Eredivisie so far this year, helping him get into spaces where he can get balls into the box or get a shot off on target.

Although he is a menace with the ball at his feet, he does need to improve in one area of the passing department. More of a short-style passer in build-up play ( 87% accuracy per game in Eredivisie), Mazraoui does find himself only completing around 22% of his crosses this year.  Though his vision is not to be undone by his crossing percentage, because he’s been able to complete over 60% of long balls to teammates this year in both the Eredivisie and Champions League.

Real Madrid, Dani Carvajal
Real Madrid, Dani Carvajal (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images) /

Dani Carvajal 2.0 for Real Madrid?

The Moroccan is defensively sound in transition, shutting down opponents all over Europe, like Dortmund, PSV, Feyenoord, and Sporting this year.

He’s relentless with his timing, frustrating wingers and midfielders looking to capitalize on build-up play or 1 v 1s. He accomplishes this by not forcing tackles that won’t result in possession won or that’s not on ball.

In the league, he’s yet to concede a penalty or an error leading to a shot or goal because he patiently reads the field in transition and closes down on passing lanes, hard first touches, and 50/50 balls in any third of the field with quickness (winning 59% of his duels).

At times he can struggle to contain certain agile wingers but he has the recovery speed to trace back and disrupt any further progression in the final third.

Now, when comparing the Moroccan right-back to Dani Carvajal’s numbers this season, they are pretty on par with one another in almost every category despite Mazraoui playing four more games than the Spaniard in all competitions.

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Considering Carvajal can be a notable presence in that Madrid back-line when fully fit, getting someone of a similar profile in Mazraoui, who can bring a little bit more pace and dribbling to the right flank could do wonders for this Madrid defense in the future.