3 Real Madrid players for whom the rest of 2021-22 is make-or-break

Real Madrid, Luka Jovic (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Luka Jovic (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Luka Jovic
Real Madrid, Luka Jovic (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid have played 23 of their 38 LaLiga fixtures in the 2021-2022 season and are about to begin the Champions League knockout stages next week against PSG. Los Blancos hold a six-point lead over Sevilla in the league, and they really should be able to see out the season with a 35th all-time LaLiga title.

Every season seems to be more grueling than the last, and Real Madrid need all hands on deck. Of course, the players themselves do not need any extra incentive to perform. Los Merengues are at the highest level of club football, and there are players on the periphery who are desperate to prove they belong here.

Let’s take a look at three players who need to see the rest of the 2021-2022 campaign as make-or-break for their Real Madrid careers. In one of these cases, the player isn’t at risk of being sold immediately, but his future could be at a crossroads with a poor close to the campaign.

ST Luka Jovic

But let’s start with a well-known player who is quite obviously in a tough spot. Carlo Ancelotti did not even start Luka Jovic in the last two matches with Karim Benzema injured, instead opting for Marco Asensio and then Isco as false nines. While Isco was mildly effective in this role, Asensio was predictably a terrible false nine. Moreover, neither player was as good as Jovic, who helped change the game as a sub.

It’s wild to think that the narrative around Jovic was that he was finding himself after two great, big-game performances with Benzema hurt against Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad. Just months later, Jovic is back at square one.

The reality is that Jovic is not the kind of striker Real Madrid want. He is not a creator like Benzema. He is not a transition striker. Or a true killer like Erling Haaland. Jovic is a great striker in his own way, but he is more about hold-up play and technical elegance. While Jovic is a good athlete, he is not the prototype of player Real seem to favor up top, such as Benzema or Raul.

Jovic might not even be playing for his Real Madrid future at this point. He may be playing to audition for a starting role with another club this summer. Real have not sold Jovic due to a lack of an enticing offer, and that offer won’t come unless the Serbian international plays very well. Will he get the chance to, though? Maybe after Ancelotti had to wipe egg off his face, Jovic won’t be passed up on. But Benzema is, at worst, only a couple of weeks away from returning anyway.