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, Rodrygo Goes
Real Madrid, Rodrygo Goes (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images) /

RW Rodrygo Goes

Wait, why didn’t I pick Marco Asensio or Eden Hazard? I don’t think Asensio is leaving the club, and I think, at this point, he has shown us who he is. A great bench option and a talented shooter who can provide a scoring threat, just not much else. He is up-and-down, but he has been “up” enough as a scorer to set him apart. If he were to be sold – which is unlikely, considering the dearth of established left-footed options after Gareth Bale’s contract expires – it would be to a notable club anyway.

Eden Hazard is in a similar boat, in the sense that his performances at the end of the 2021-2022 season don’t really factor into his future. His issue is his salary. More than 20 million euros is too much for Real to spend on a player who is Vinicius Jr.’s backup, and it is likely too much for anyone to take a risk on his injuries. At full strength, Hazard, even if he is no longer elite, is still good enough to help a strong club in some way.

Rodrygo Goes is at less risk of leaving Real Madrid this summer than either Luka Jovic or Dani Ceballos, but he could be loaned out in 2022-2023. And if he has a poor finish to 2021-2022, that puts him behind the curve at Madrid for the next season, where competition will be higher than ever after Kylian Mbappe presumably joins.

After a decent enough start to the season, Rodrygo has been horrible lately. Both he and the club must figure out what is going on here and how to get more out of the 21-year-old winger, whose versatility on both sides of the formation is rather useless if he is not producing at either position.

Rodrygo can be a star in European football. But if he closes 2021-2022 with less momentum than Takefusa Kubo or Brahim Diaz, he could easily be replaced in the first-team squad next season with one of those current loanees. Brahim, in particular, has impressed with his pressing, one-on-one quality, and scoring threat.

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Those are three key areas in which Rodrygo, who is not even as versatile as Brahim, has struggled to show progress. That is most worrying for Real Madrid. The lack of progress from Rodrygo. Everyone at the club still believes in him, and you would want them to be patient with a 21-year-old. However, if the competition pushes the envelope, patience may have to take the form of a loan, and I’m not sure Rodrygo wants to take that risk of being away from the first team.