The celebrations are never-ending for a well-deserved league title. It was a perfect ending to a perfect campaign with Real Madrid winning 4-0 even after so many rotations. And guess who was the player of the game? The man in a very fine form- Rodrygo Goes.
And then the comeback. Oh my! I have no words to define how much of a rollercoaster ride it was. It took just 5 minutes for Real Madrid to bounce back. It has been the third consecutive time when Real Madrid has turned the game around, chasing it from behind and hitting the opponent when they get the right chance.
And who was the game-changer? Rodrygo Goes. Well, just like Cristiano Ronaldo, Rodrygo and the UEFA Champions League is a love story. Real Madrid has found another Mr UCL and the guy just steps up when it comes to European competitions.
Rodrygo has been in splendid form lately, scoring 6 goals in his last 7 games with 2 assists in his name and with crucial goals against top teams like Chelsea, Sevilla and Manchester City. It has got to take something to stop the young Brazilian.
Remember the time when the young Rodrygo scored a hattrick against Galatasaray? Rodrygo was the new name in the market, but Real Madrid declared him to be untouchable just when the interest rose. But the previous season took it all away. The regular injuries started raising questions, and his impact on the game fell off tremendously. I saw Madridistas doubting Rodrygo’s ability and preferring him to go out on a loan than stay in the Spanish Capital.
But Rodrygo has beaten all odds to get ahead of Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio in the pecking order for Carlo Ancelotti. The only time you will see Rodrygo starting from the bench is when the coach prefers a formation of four midfielders.
I will be honest, there was a time when I thought that Rodrygo should not start, he should rather come off the bench. Not that I think differently about it now, Rodrygo is still a much better player coming in as a substitute. He injects the much-needed energy into the game, and he is so clinical in front of goal that he often acts as a difference-maker in the team.
But now Rodrygo plays very well starting the games too, something he struggled with earlier. In the league-winning game against Espanol, Rodrygo started the game and was a standout for Los Blancos, creating chances and scoring two very well-constructed goals with a brace in his name.
But now comes the most important question. Should Real Madrid think of Rodrygo Goes as a backup for Benzema in the 2022/23 season? This is a question that has crossed my mind numerous times and the yesterday’s game was a very important factor which could decide Rodrygo’s future at Real Madrid.
Rodrygo won’t start, but being Benzema’s backup can help him get more minutes
Kylian Mbappe is coming to Real Madrid. And we all know that Mbappe won’t settle down to play as a backup. With Vinicius Junior in the driving seat to be a regular starter at the Left Wing and Karim Benzema being the obvious choice as a striker, only the right-wing spot would be left for Mbappe.
Now Mbappe is not a natural right winger, but he can play at that position. But let’s not talk about this at the moment. What matters is irrespective of Mbappe’s position, Rodrygo Goes will not get the opportunity to be the first choice starter.
In this case, I think Real Madrid should think about utilising Rodrygo Goes as the backup to Karim Benzema as well. This has some obvious reasons.
Firstly, Mariano Diaz, Borja Mayoral, and Luka Jovic do not have a career at Real Madrid. Not that they aren’t good enough. Luka Jovic, for example, is capable. But it is his bad luck that prevents him from succeeding at the club. Real Madrid should sell the two young strikers and empty up their hefty wages too. The fund they allocate from this can be utilised for reinforcements in midfield.
Secondly, Real Madrid doesn’t have many options for a backup striker. Raul de Tomas is one of the few options, but he will not come cheaply. And when we look at the bench, Rodrygo seems like the best fit. He is fast, skilful, and clinical in front of goals, and let’s not forget he does have the ability to jump higher to meet crosses. I first saw him jumping higher than tall defenders was against Galatasaray. And yesterday against Manchester City to score the aggregate equalizer.
Now Rodrygo is not a player with poacher instincts, but he can play great as a linkup player. Something that Carlo Ancelotti expects from Marco Asensio or Isco when they play as a false 9. The difference is that none of the two Spaniards has the pace to run through the gaps created by the wingers and that is something at advantage for Rodrygo. He can exploit those spaces to find himself one on one with the goalkeeper and the Brazilian will never miss that.
Rodrygo Goes is very versatile. We have seen him play on the left wing, on the right wing and he is very capable of playing as a striker. Having a gem like him at the club is a huge asset and he can play a huge role in the club’s success in the future. Apart from this, Rodrygo can also play as a right winger in the absence of Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe can play as a striker, but if Mbappe is comfortable in the right wing position, then Rodrygo Goes can do the job very well as a striker.
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I think Real should opt for using Rodrygo Goes as a cheaper alternative for a backup role for Karim Benzema, and use the funds allocated by selling Luka Jovic, Mariano Diaz and Borja Mayoral in the midfield.