A star player Real Madrid aren’t sure what to do with

Real Madrid, Florentino Perez (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Florentino Perez (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images) /

For the most part, Real Madrid are in an enviable position with their veteran players. Several of the stars who led Los Blancos to three (or four) Champions Leagues remain highly effective and among the best in the world at their respective positions. Karim Benzema was a Ballon d’Or candidate in 2021. Luka Modric, Casemiro, and Toni Kroos still form one of the world’s best midfields – if not THE best.

And the players who are no longer effective at all – Gareth Bale, Marcelo, and Isco – will leave the club this summer as free agents, with no awkwardness or bad blood. They can all either draw closer to retirement (Bale and Marcelo) or try to revive their careers in a new situation (Isco).

There is one player who was world-class during the three-peat era and remains effective to this day, but there are serious concerns regarding how much the club can rely on him.

That man is none other than right back Dani Carvajal. And the 2021-2022 season has been a microcosm of everything that makes his situation so precarious heading into what will be an eventful summer 2022 transfer window.

Dani Carvajal is still a top-class RB, but Real Madrid barely get to see that

Carvajal has always been a bit of an injury concern, but at the age of 30, the injuries are predictably mounting. After playing only 15 matches in 2020-2021 between LaLiga and the Champions League, Carvajal has made just 13 starts so far in 2021-2022.

Again, he has been world-class at times, but he’s also been disappointing in a couple of big matches, such as against Sevilla.

This summer, Real Madrid will prioritize two of the best forwards in the world, Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland. But they are also going to consider making a move at right back. Lucas Vazquez has been forced into too many minutes at right back over the past couple of seasons due to Carvajal’s injuries, and it is a major risk to go into a third straight season with no backup right back.

There are rumblings Alvaro Odriozola could be on his way back at Carlo Ancelotti’s request, but he could also stay permanently at Fiorentina. Odriozola has never shown he is good enough for Madrid. Fiorentina is honestly more his level.

Real Madrid could sign a young standout at RB this summer

Meanwhile, Los Blancos have options at right back. Young ones, too. No, forget the Achraf Hakimi dream for a second. But Real could sign his countryman Noussair Mazraoui for free. If they want a higher-end option, Pedro Porro would be an ideal signing and could very well fill the position for the next decade.

If Real Madrid decide to get serious at right back and sign someone young who is worth their time, Carvajal could be displaced. And if he continues to be limited by injuries, the 30-year-old could be out of the XI sooner than you think.

It all hinges on who is available and who Real sign. Madridistas have to seriously consider Carvajal’s future as a regular starter in doubt. If we are honest, Carvajal has not been a regular starter these past two seasons, and that is what makes Vazquez’s role at right back so concerning; he is supposed to be an emergency option, not the one getting a lion’s share of the minutes for months.

Carvajal is too good to jettison out, and with the injuries and form concerns, he likely is not as attractive of a transfer option. He is more valuable to Real Madrid than to any other club, precisely because he can be excellent in big matches for this team. At full strength, he is class. How can anyone dispute that?

Next. A serious weakness for Real Madrid. dark

However, how can anyone dispute the fact that he is not someone Real can rely on every week? It is a sad fact Los Blancos must face as an organization. The decision of what to do with Carvajal is not simple. He won’t be sold. He isn’t going anywhere. But should he still start? What kind of competition needs to be injected at right back? Carvajal’s place is no longer untouchable, even as his future is likely set in Madrid. And that puts Real in an interesting position. They still value Carvajal, but they must be proactive in addressing his position.