Eduardo Camavinga made the perfect start to life at Santiago Bernabeu
The new Real Madrid arrival from Rennes made the perfect start to life at Santiago Bernabeu, the 18-year-old brought off the bench on Sunday to score against Celta Vigo on his debut and secure the victory for Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
Camavinga can become the man to finally end Modric, Kroos and Casemiro’s monopoly
With a triumphant knee slide towards the corner flag, joy written across his face, Eduardo Camavinga could hardly believe it. The new Real Madrid arrival from Rennes made the perfect start to life at Santiago Bernabeu, the 18-year-old brought off the bench on Sunday to score against Celta Vigo on his debut and secure the victory for Carlo Ancelotti’s side. The fourth in a 5-2 win ensured Los Blancos sat top of the Liga table on 10 points from four games. It also nodded towards the question on everybody’s lips after his arrival on deadline day for €40 million. Can he become the man to finally end Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro’s monopoly on the central midfield positions at Real Madrid? That trio is a perfect blend that has served Madrid superbly for the past six years, combining power, grace, vision and precision.
Ancelotti is fond of Isco
However, last season against Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals, it showed signs of wear and tear. Thomas Tuchel’s team outplayed Zinedine Zidane’s Madrid, dominating both games. Even though Madrid earned a 1-1 draw at home in the first leg, it was a good result. Physically, they could not match Tuchel’s supercharged Blues. So though Madrid’s midfield trio will still be able to best most opposition, those matches reflected that in the Champions League, at the highest level, it is time the Blancos had further options. Uruguaya box-to-box midfielder Fede Valverde has a big future at the Bernabeu but has sometimes been deployed wider on the right to maintain Madrid’s central three. Ancelotti also is fond of Isco, who shone in the Italian’s first spell at Madrid and has been involved in the first three games, but he is reaching the twilight of his career.
With Madrid visiting Inter on Wednesday in their Champions League opener, the stage is set for Camavinga to show he can compete in the here and now, not just in the future. One obstacle is that he lacks a prominent role in Madrid’s system, with the established trio all exquisite at their own particular skill-set. Camavinga is an all-rounder. Although he can start deeper, like Casemiro, he likes charging up the pitch, as shown against Celta when he peeled off to the right in the box and fired home after Modric’s effort was saved. It took just six minutes for him to strike after being brought off the bench for Eden Hazard, utilising the attacking skills he honed at Rennes last season, where he was sometimes used in a more advanced role.