CM/RW Fede Valverde
Like Eduardo Camavinga and Rodrygo Goes, Fede Valverde did not have the most important role at the beginning of the season, and that was more frustrating for Madridistas than the situations of the other two players, given they saw how influential he was in the LaLiga-winning campaign of 2019/20.
The turning point of the 2021/22 season was very likely when Carlo Ancelotti finally decided to start Fede on the right wing over Marco Asensio in the second leg against PSG. It is no coincidence that Real Madrid completed their first Remontada of the Champions League season with Fede starting, as he gave the lineup a lot more balance and activity. So much of what Fede does isn’t recorded on the stat sheet, but just ask veterans Luka Modric and Dani Carvajal how much easier he makes their jobs.
Defensive work gets overlooked by mainstream pundits, probably because those stats are not as emphasized. But for the folks who watch Fede every single week, there is no doubt that he is world-class and that his impact on the team makes Real Madrid considerably better. He is one of those young leaders who makes a team more than the sum of its parts.
At the end of the season, Fede came incredibly close to scoring bangers on several occasions, flashing that goal-scoring potential he showed early in the 2020/21 season before injuries derailed his progress. If he can add that lethal end product to his game, the versatile Valverde will well and truly be among the elite of the elite.