Is Brahim Diaz ready for the Real Madrid first team?

Milan, Brahim Diaz (Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Milan, Brahim Diaz (Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images) /

Real Madrid’s depth in attack hasn’t been all that great after letting go of players like Alvaro Morata, James Rodriguez, the incredible, giant-killing versions of Isco and Gareth Bale, and of course, the greatest player in Real Madrid’s history, Cristiano Ronaldo. Real have been struggling ever since, and it’s pretty much been Karim Benzema (and Vinicius Junior this season) saving Real’s blushes game in, game out.

Brahim Diaz, whom the club signed from Manchester City in 2019, has been on loan after the end of the 18-19 season, in which he managed to score one gorgeous goal in the last game of the season. It was clear that Brahim could do with some minutes on the pitch, but ultimately decided he wasn’t good enough to make Real’s first team, and was loaned to Milan a few games into the 2019-20 season.

Brahim has had a pretty good, impactful role with the Rossoneri, scoring not as many goals as he’d have liked, but still contributing a lot to their attack. The question remains, though, two years into his stint in Italy, is he good enough to be brought back? Probably, yes. But, is he ready?

It all depends on what Brahim thinks of himself. Does he consider himself to be a potential star at a big club? Does he consider himself an important role player, or the go-to guy off the bench at a top club?

That, ultimately, would decide his future at Madrid, if there is one. I fully believe that this season, Brahim would’ve been an upgrade over Marco Asensio, who has fallen out of favor as of recently. The Spaniard is an attacking midfielder but can also play as a winger on either flank, and being left-footed helps in the sense that he’s able to cut inside with his preferred foot while on the right wing.

Brahim would’ve probably started many games for Real Madrid this season. He creates chances in the final third, something that has been the burden of three to four players in the squad, so he’d have definitely help there. This season, Brahim is averaging 3.21 shot-creating actions per 90, which is less than the 3.46 he offered last season, but he’s actually been better in live-ball situations this season (2.53 per 90) than in the previous one (1.91 per 90). His numbers would be good for third-best for any attacker at Real that has played more than 10 ’90s’ (minutes played divided by 90). That’s good!

Here’s the thing that bugs me a little about it, though. Real Madrid could’ve clearly used Brahim this season, instead, they chose to rely on the same guys they had before, and let Brahim go to Milan for two more seasons, while also giving them an option to buy at the end of the loan. My question is, even if you cut his loan deal short and bring him back next season, what will happen?

Mbappe is probably going to join the club soon. If he joins, it’s certain that Brahim will practically get little to no time in the starting XI. It would’ve been better to have him at the club this season and see how his progress has been with respect to the club’s playing style and what role the team needs from Brahim. This was supposed to be that season. Real Madrid might not even bring him back considering they will sign Mbappe next season.

As I said, it depends on what role he’d accept. Obviously, even though Brahim has been decent at Milan, he isn’t in a position to demand a starting spot, so if he accepts the role of being the first guy off the bench for one of the attackers, then I think Real Madrid should definitely terminate his loan deal. I don’t know if that’ll actually end up happening, though, because he certainly has the potential to be a great player elsewhere. He can become another Odegaard, maybe not as good but enough to become a starter for a pretty good club.

If Brahim really wants to make it work at Real Madrid, he’d probably have to accept the fact that he would probably always be the first person off the bench. I don’t think the Spaniard starts over Vinicius Junior, Karim Benzema or Kylian Mbappe. However, if he improves his game enough, and Real Madrid don’t sign another world-class forward, maybe his time to start will come once Karim Benzema hangs up his boots and a position in the attack is opened up. I would love to see what happens, but again, no one can guess what will happen, especially when you’re talking about a club like Real Madrid.

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So, is he good enough to be a Real Madrid player? Possibly. Does he have potential to become a starter? It depends on countless variables, and we wouldn’t know until those variables actually take place. Of course, until then, it might just be too late. Football’s a business, at the end of the day, is it not?