Valverde and Camavinga: change is here

Valverde and Camavinga: change is here

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07 May 2022
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The situation

Something unusual happened at the Bernabeu on Wednesday evening. And it’s not just that Madrid reached the Champions League final, once again overcoming the death trap and in just a minute and a half turning a guaranteed defeat into another comeback. Madrid returned to the game without their three Champions League-winning midfield, meaning Casemiro, Kroos and Modric, three midfielders who have dominated midfield since 2015 and who look set to be replaced in 2022. The new wave was represented by Fede Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga, two players aged 23 and 19 who gave Madrid momentum at the most difficult moment, when the opposition not only held back the onslaught of the creamy ones, but even scored a goal, thus widening the gap. City touched the Paris final with their fingertips, but the ticket was forcefully snatched from their hands by Madrid, driven by the feet and lungs of Fede and Edu, two players who showed they had the necessary courage to lead their team in a situation of maximum demand and pressure. These are two different cases, because Fede was a starter, and it seems that nothing can take away his status as a starter. The performance of the Uruguayan was again at its best and even beyond human capabilities: he threw himself into the pressure in the 1st minute and repeated his efforts when the clock had already exceeded 120 minutes. Fede’s intensity was contagious for his teammates: seeing his efforts, the “creamy” could not afford to spare their strength. On top of that, Valverde’s possession ability is on the rise, suggesting that in the long run he will play an organizational rather than an attacking role. But at this point in his career, his physical strength and freshness is a plus that Madrid cannot afford to pass up.

The details

Camavinga has a completely different story. Entering the field in the 75th minute to replace Casemiro and Modric, the Frenchman single-handedly took on organizational and administrative tasks, once again demonstrating the grace of his left foot, in many ways reminiscent of Fernando Redondo. In addition, at 19 years old, Edu breaks the pressure lines with great efficiency, as he did at 3-1. He received a good pass from Courtois seventy meters from the opponent’s goal, advanced forty meters unhindered, waited for the moment when Rodrigo opened from the right, and gave him a pass that preceded a penalty to Benzema and the score was 3-1. When Madrid were already in front, he distributed and took away the ball, showing a maturity not typical of a teenager. At this stage of the match, the other leg of the Madrid midfield was Dani Ceballos, a player who has lived through a season full of contrasts. In the first part of the season, he was out of action for several months due to an injury sustained at the Tokyo Games, and when he recovered, he did not get into the rotation and was hardly part of Ancelotti’s plans. However, in the last few matches, Dani has been confirmed as one of the Italian coach’s first options to oxygenate the midfield. His ability to keep the ball was another factor that contributed to the final triumph of “creamy” in an almost hopeless situation for the team. Casemiro, Kroos and Modric watched it all from the bench, where all three had been seated since the 75th minute. Two minutes earlier, Mahrez had made it 0-1 in what appeared to be a knockout Madrid, but the feet and football of Valverde and Camavinga took the team to another Champions League final.

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