Elche vs. Real Madrid: 3 stars, 2 flops from 2-1 win in Copa del Rey

Real Madrid, Vinicius Jr. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Vinicius Jr. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Eduardo Camavinga
Real Madrid, Eduardo Camavinga (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Star: CM Eduardo Camavinga

Although Eduardo Camavinga was substituted in the second half for Casemiro, Real Madrid were not better off for this change. Usually, Casemiro adds more defensive stability, and he is underrated for his contributions in the clutch. But in this match, Case was not much of a factor off the bench.

Meanwhile, Camavinga was one of Real’s two best players during regulation. The young midfielder was as active as anyone on the pitch, constantly carrying the ball into the final third, even getting a few dangerous shots off. With more improved shooting, one of those will hit the back of the net for the high-upside 2021 summer signing.

As it stands, Camavinga was a standout for a second straight Copa del Rey match in which his teammates were not as quick to the punch. With three tackles and three interceptions, Camavinga’s ball-winning also remains a high point for Los Blancos.

Flop: CM Fede Valverde

On the other side, Fede Valverde was alarmingly poor for Real Madrid. You would think that Elche would be a good opponent for Fede to show his skills, and Elche did give Real some transition opportunities by playing a lot more offensive than anyone would have thought for the first hour of the match.

But Fede struggled. He was not active on the ball and did very little in the final third. The difference between Luka Modric and Fede against low blocks is massive, and Fede once again flopped against a tight defensive structure. He could not make penetrative dribbles. Fede looked blocky and clumsy on the ball, and he was lacking in creativity. Valverde made too many weak square passes that did not recycle the ball, but rather put Elche in better defensive positions. He needs to learn how to think through these patterns.