Real Madrid‘s dominance over the years in the European level has come from a team they built piece by piece over a long period of time and kept the core of it the same throughout the seasons.
The players played along with each other over an extensive period of time and developed chemistry between each other, which is certainly a huge factor in Real Madrid’s three back-to-back UEFA Champions League wins.
Since then, a lot of players have left Santiago Bernabeu and got replaced with new ones. But a player who has stuck around the club since he was a kid, has been Spanish international Dani Carvajal. The right-back rose through the ranks of the youth academy before breaking into the first team and has been an integral part of the team onwards.
Carvajal has won numerous accolades with the Los Blancos. He had been diagnosed with a racing heart disease where he had to stay away from football for a long time, but Real Madrid never gave up on their son. He came back strongly and rewarded Madrid with important performances in crucial games.
The 29-year-old was injured for most of last season but has made a great comeback under Carlo Ancelotti this season, cementing his place in the starting XI and also getting a call up for the Spanish national team in the upcoming international break.
Real Madrid are on top of the La Liga table and their respective UCL group as well, and Carvajal has been an important part of that.
We look at his stats from this UCL campaign so far.
Carvajal has featured in two of Madrid’s games this season as the right full-back in the back four of their 4-3-3 system. The Spaniard is an effortless runner and has a high work rate, covering a huge amount of ground on the pitch, ranging from inside his box to the opposition’s box. He has spent most of his time deep in his half while defending, staying out wide with the opposition wingers, whereas has taken up spaces near the touchline in the attacking third while going forward to provide the width – the red and orange areas in the above viz confirm that. He has even made daunting runs into the opposition’s penalty area at certain times.
One of the best attributes of his game is the ability to carry the ball forward under pressure. Carvajal is very comfortable in possession and very hard to dispossess. He has made a total of 118 passes, averaging 68 passes and 85 touches per 90 on the ball. The full-back has been very precise while picking out his passes, completing his attempted ones with 92% accuracy. Most of his passes have been short, played infield to find his midfield partners to link up and create attacks as he makes runs through the right flank. Carvajal has played a lot of threatening passes near the attacking third and even into the penalty area with xT of 0.0990 at times.
Most of his duel locations have been in the defensive third, out wide on the right, or inside his penalty area. He has won 38% of his duels which most certainly can demand for an improvement. Carvajal is not that strong in the air, however, and has not won any aerial duel this season in the UCL.
Though Carvajal has registered 100% accuracy from his attempted tackles so far, his interceptions have majorly been inside his half, near his penalty area. However, he has come out on top most of the time, conceding just one foul so far. The Spanish international had used his experience during these times, and his timing of the challenges have been impeccable.
With Dani Carvajal back in the team, Real Madrid have looked more comfortable and swift in possession and much more threatening in attack. His defensive stats have not been great, but the whole of Madrid’s defense has been a bit shaky, and he is not the only one to blame for it. We can certainly hope with his experience, he will start performing better in those areas as well.
A fit and running Carvajal will be very important for Real Madrid’s title hopes, that is for sure.