, October 15, 2021

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Eduardo Camavinga already giving Real Madrid a much-needed extra dimension


  •   3 min reads
Camavinga Real Madrid
Eduardo Camavinga is already endearing himself to the Madrid faithful. Juanjo Martin/EPA.

Having failed in their efforts to lure Kylian Mbappe this summer, Real Madrid needed a way to get back at Paris Saint-Germain, and so they made a late move for a player believed to have been on the Ligue 1 club’s radar. Indeed, Eduardo Camavinga was a revenge signing, with the young Frenchman pitching up at the Santiago Bernabeu on transfer deadline day in a €40m deal from Rennes.

Of course, it should be noted that Real Madrid had also been consistently linked with Camavinga for the best part of a year, so it’s likely there was some solid research behind the teenager’s signing. Nonetheless, Camavinga was a consolation prize for a club still hurting at not landing their top target.

The pain of not signing Mbappe has been soothed by the impact made by Camavinga in his first few games as a Real Madrid player. It took the 18-year-old just six minutes to find the net on his debut, helping Los Blancos to a 5-2 win over Celta Vigo. He then assisted Rodrygo for a late winner against Inter on his Champions League bow for his new club.

Camavinga was then key in turning around Sunday’s match away to Valencia, with the Frenchman coming off the bench to give Real Madrid more energy and dynamism through the centre of the pitch. With Camavinga driving them forward, Carlo Ancelotti’s side scored two late goals to snatch a 2-1 win.

There is now a clamour for Camavinga to be made a key part of the Real Madrid team with important fixtures in La Liga and the Champions League on the horizon. Everything Camavinga has demonstrated in the last three weeks suggests he is ready to take on even more responsibility at the elite level.

“He's got everything you need to play for Real Madrid,” Ancelotti explained after the turnaround at Mestalla, in which Camavinga impressed again. “He’s very young and is under no pressure at the moment because that's what his personality is like. He's very happy, he's talking to his teammates and is trying to learn Spanish as quickly as possible. He has the freshness that comes with youth. His position on the pitch is something that I've discussed with him.”

One of the most impressive things about Camavinga and the impact he has made at Real Madrid is how he has already played a number of different roles for his new team. His technical skill set allows him to be a true playmaker while his positional awareness and field coverage also make him a good option as a midfield anchor.

Along with the likes of Jude Bellingham and Nicolo Barella, Camavinga is a member of a new breed of midfielder that can play a number of different ways in a number of different positions. He is a player who defies traditional classification, and this is something that has already come to the fore at Real Madrid.

“He has always played as a holding midfielder, but he's got quality,” Ancelotti elaborated when asked to explain Camavinga’s best position. “He’s very quick on the ball. He's a complete midfielder and can play anywhere across the middle third. He brings his quality, which is that of a modern-day midfielder. He has quality and is physically very strong. He's not a specialist in his position and is capable of playing in various roles.”

Real Madrid’s midfield required rejuvenation and Camavinga has provided this. While Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric remain important first team figures at the Santiago Bernabeu, with the latter still particularly influential, Ancelotti has recognised the need to evolve his team through the centre of the pitch. The circumstances were right for Camavinga to thrive.

Ancelotti has been hired to transition Real Madrid into a new era. The revitalisation of their aging core has started with the exit of players like Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, but Los Blancos need players who can form the spine of their team for years to come. Camavinga looks to be one of those players.

This season might be a challenging one for Real Madrid as they move from one generation to the next, but in Camavinga they may have found a player who can form a key part of the present as well as the future. Regardless of whether he was a revenge signing or not, Camavinga is proving himself to be exactly what Real Madrid needed.

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