4. LW/RW Rodrygo Goes
Had it not been for the world-class performances in the most crucial stages of the season by the young Rodrygo Goes, I would not have taken him over Eduardo Camavinga. A season full of ups and downs for Rodrygo. He started the season well, sometimes being Real Madrid’s best player of the game. But soon was overtaken by Marco Asensio in the pecking order. It wasn’t his fault in that.
Rodrygo seemed much improved at the right-wing despite it not being his favourable position and at a point, deserved to be a regular starter for Real Madrid at the right-wing. But what can you do when the manager prefers to play someone who remains invisible on the field throughout the game and then produces a wonderful goal out of nowhere.
Yet the young Rodrygo gave his all. Whenever Carlo Ancelotti opted to start or substituted him in the game, he proved his value. The young Brazilian always made a statement on the field and his speed came in handy to Real Madrid on the counterattacks. His efforts throughout the season enabled him to help the team in the most crucial moments. The new Mr. Champions League is the reason Real Madrid was able to bounce back from all the setbacks the club faced during the game.
We saw the best of Remontadas against Manchester City and Chelsea thanks to him. Rodrygo has always been an unsung hero in a lot of games, but it seems like the Brazilian has started getting the recognition he deserves.
After the regular failures of Marco Asensio at the right-wing position in the most important games like that against Paris Saint-Germain, many expected Rodrygo to be the one to replace him. But Carlo Ancelotti had other plans. The Italian started using Federico Valverde as a right midfielder, thus changing the formation to a 4-4-2. But this did not mean that the manager never trusted Rodrygo.
Carlo Ancelotti found the best way to use the qualities of the young versatile attacker, and that was by using him as a substitute. Rodrygo is a very quick player, an excellent dribbler, and very prolific in front of goal. Using him as a substitute when the fullbacks are tired just helps the team hit the opposition more effectively.
Statistically speaking, Rodrygo has scored 9 goals and 6 assists in 44 appearances for Real Madrid with 4 Man of the Match awards. Having played just 2032 minutes, he averages a goal or assist every 135 minutes, which tells a lot about the impact the Brazilian has on the game. He averages 0.8 key passes, 0.8 dribbles, and 1.3 shots per game.
With the way he stepped up near the end of the season, he deserved some love from the manager who rewarded the Brazilian with some regular starts in the league games and that too at his preferred left-wing position. Rodrygo gained more momentum in that position and proved that he is way too good at the left-wing than at the right-wing.
An unpopular opinion- Rodrygo is much sharper in front of goal than Vinicius Junior. He is better at passing and crossing. Rodrygo may not be as good a dribbler as Vinicius, but he is equally fast. I think that if Rodrygo continues to deliver the way he is as of now, he can challenge Vinicius Junior for a role on the left-wing.
It is not that Vinicius Junior cannot play at the right-wing. He did temporarily play there in the El Derby first leg and produced an assist. I believe that an interchange of their position may not be on the table as of now, but I would not be surprised if such a thing is discussed or considered next season.
Apart from this, Real Madrid is already looking for a backup striker. Rodrygo may not possess that poacher instinct, but in the short run, I think he can be tested as a striker too.