Real Madrid are undergoing one of the toughest transition periods in the centre-back department. Life after Raphael Varane or after Sergio Ramos was not going to be easy, but losing them both in the same summer left a giant hole in Real Madrid’s defense. With both Varane and Ramos leaving to different elite European clubs, Real hoped Militao would build on his performances for the 2021-2022 season, and he has done just that.
To replace Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid went for David Alaba once they understood that Ramos wasn’t going to extend. Alaba was a great acquisition, and he was always going to be good because of his versatility. But, the one player who is not being appreciated enough is Eder Militao. Militao has had a fantastic season so far and has been one of the best central defenders for Real. He is always the one who takes the risk and goes towards the ball-carrier to win the ball, and he does that as well, as he reads the opposition amazingly.
The above visual shows us the defensive metrics for Militao so far in the Champions League. He has featured in all five of Real Madrid’s games in the tournament. Real Madrid have been defensively stable in the UCL and have only conceded three goals so far in five games. Eder Militao has been an important figure in their defense alongside David Alaba. The Brazilian has attempted 14.42 defensive actions per 90 minutes and has completed 80% of these actions. Militao has the highest success rate in winning loose ball duels and has won 63.64% of the total loose ball duels he has attempted. Militao has also committed only 0.77 fouls per 90 minutes, which indicates he doesn’t give away cheap fouls, which is an important aspect for a centre-back.
The Brazilian central defender is active, alert, and assured defensively. He allows Alaba to be more aggressive in his contributions to the team’s build-up play. Militao has won a high number of duels in the five games he has played in the Champions League. Militao is also a real threat from set-pieces as he has won several aerial duels in the opposition’s penalty area.
With Raphael Varane now at Manchester United, it became crucial for Eder Militao to fill one of the many roles vacated by the Frenchman. So often, Varane was there to mop up loose balls or dangerous through passes that got behind the other defenders. Militao has been fantastic at getting to passes that other defenders cannot read. As seen in the above visual, Militao has intercepted many passes in his half and has also won the ball back when the opposition player is in possession of the ball. Most of these interceptions have been inside the penalty area, which indicates he is calm and composed whenever he goes into a tackle.
He brings a quality skill-set on the ball and is not uncomfortable with progressing the play forward. He is comfortable on the ball and can carry the ball higher up the pitch if needed. He has also completed a couple of diagonal cross-field balls towards the wider areas of the pitch. He has exchanged several passes with his midfielders and can play short passes when his team needs to keep possession of the ball.
Militao has been fantastic this season and has really come up clutch at an awkward time for the club. This is why he was brought into the club in 2019 so that the club has someone to rely on in defense in case either one of Ramos and Varane departs.