The two Real Madrid players who became elite in 2021-22

Real Madrid (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Real Madrid (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid are top of the table in LaLiga, they won the Supercup, they are into the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey, and although they have a tough Round of 16 matchup in the Champions League, they will like their chances of advancing against PSG.

At the heart of Real’s success this season has been the breakout campaigns of Eder Militao and, of course, Vinicius Jr. These two young men have been so important to Los Blancos’ success in 2021-2022, with Vini’s breakout being the story of the season thus far in LaLiga.

Vinicius Jr. has 12 goals and 5 assists in the league thus far with two goals and three assists in the Champions League. He has stepped his game up to another level, finding his finishing boots after being heavily criticized by Madridistas for some inexplicable misses. (To be fair, even his teammates couldn’t believe some of his shots.)

Of course, the 21-year-old remains as good as ever in the other aspects of his game. He defends well, he carries the ball into the final third, and he is Real Madrid’s biggest threat at going into the box. On top of all this, the intangibles are off the charts. Vini’s passion is inspiring to the fans, and he seems to step up whenever the team needs him. Wins over Sevilla and Elche (twice, in fact) can be credited to Vini’s clutch factor.

Eder Militao’s own elite play should not be overlooked

It is not a stretch to say that Vinicius is the most improved player in all of Europe this season. Nor is it a stretch to say he has been the best player at his position. 

Now for Eder Militao. While Militao cannot be ranked as one of the top five players in football this season as Vinicius can, it is also not a stretch to say that the young center back has been top five at his position. Or higher.

Militao was excellent to close 2020-2021 amidst injuries to starters Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, even outplaying them. And it is fair to say that Militao has at least maintained that form in 2021-2022. There is no doubt that he’s been superior to Varane and Ramos this season, but those illustrious center backs are on a long list of notable names who have been outplayed by the ex-Porto man.

He has been so good that in one 10 out of 10 performance at La Real, the broadcast team literally played a full montage of highlights…from the first half. How many center backs can say that they have had a display like this?

Militao does not score goals often, but he did score two important ones against Alcoyano and Elche in victories. And he can even create goals from deep, as his teammate Vinicius Jr. can clearly attest.

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Though Militao will not get the same superstar fanfare as Vini, he has also been elite this season. There were always signs of his greatness, especially last season, but he has also turned up his performances in 2021-2022 to reach new heights. Just maybe not as dramatically as Real Madrid’s new starting left winger.