La Liga 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Luka Jović at Real Madrid

And finally, the first ‘Comunicado Oficial’ of this summer’s shopping list was released on 4 June 2019. Luka Jović signed for Los Blancos from the Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt on a reported fee of €60 million. Jović becomes the second player to be signed after Zinedine Zidane’s return to the Spanish capital and under club President Florentino Pérez’s revamp model.

Can Jović can be a key factor to solve our attacking woes of last season? How can he be accommodated alongside Benzema, Vinicius, Rodrygo and the club’s next Galactico, Eden Hazard? Read all about it in this tactical analysis.

Introduction:

Luka Jović rose from the ranks of Red Star Belgrade, professionally debuted on 28th May 2014 for Red Star in the Serbian SuperLiga title and scored a goal within two minutes of his substitution. In the year 2014-15, Jović went on to become the youngest ever to play the ‘Eternal Derby’. Being just a 16-year-old, his finishes weren’t great, missed some crucial chances and was sidelined from International Duties for the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2015, in New Zealand.

The 2015-16 season went on well for the youngster. Having signed a professional contract in April, Jović was the first choice striker for Red Star alongside Hugo Viera. In February 2016, Jović signed with the Portuguese champions, Benfica, keeping him in the club till 2021. He was loaned over to Eintracht Frankfurt in June 2017, after appearing only once in the first team for Benfica.

In the season 2016-17 of DFB-Pokal, Jović scored the only goal in the semi-finals for Frankfurt. They went on to beat Bayern Munich in the DFB-Pokal Finals with a scoreline of 3-1 where Jović remained an unused substitute. In 2017-18, the 20-year-old striker became the youngest ever player to score five goals in a Bundesliga match. Jović netted the only goal in the quarter-finals of the Europa League 2018 for Frankfurt, thus making them the only German club to register eighth straight wins in the competition.

The highlight of Jović’s career so far has to be the 2018-19. He scored 27 goals and assisted seven times throughout the season in different competitions. On 17 April 2019, Frankfurt exercised their right to sign Jović on a permanent basis from Benfica. On 4 June 2019, Real Madrid finalised the deal to bring the Serbian international to the Madrid capital.

Style of play:

Jović fits the term of a ‘lethal striker’ in front of the goal, a position that was amiss from the Real Madrid squad in the 2018-19 season. Sergio Agüero, Robert Lewandowski and Radamel Falco are few strikers who are grouped as lethal strikers. Even with half a metre of space, they would register an attempt on target. Jović’s preferred foot is the left foot and possesses the ability to score in a single touch.

La Liga 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Luka Jović at Real Madrid
Jović shoots at his preferred place (right bottom corner) with his ‘weaker’ foot.

With Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure, only Bale and Benzema were left up front to head the aerial balls into the net. Crosses from fullbacks into the opposition’s box was one of Zidane’s most powerful and promising attacking tactic. While Ronaldo awaited the ball’s reach, every angle, direction and pace on the ball were practised under Zidane. It was not just his strength to head the ball, but even his off-the-ball movements were extremely important. Those movements were so well read by his teammates that they would exactly know where to place the ball for him to finish the job.

La Liga 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Luka Jović at Real Madrid
Jović’s successful aerobatic attempt (the sidekick) at the goal.

Jović is naive, yet similar in many ways. His pace with the off-ball movements along with his techniques and instincts is what makes him a promising striker. He’s a fighter who will retain the ball until he has support, an acrobat who’d try all sorts of ways to make sure that the ball falls behind the net and most importantly, a contributor to the entire team. Jović’s presence in the team would mean that Benzema would go back to his style of playing in Ronaldo’s presence.

La Liga 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Luka Jović at Real Madrid
Jović is surrounded by three players, yet he is perfectly placed and scores with ease.

Hazard, Jović and Benzema can bring out the best in each other. Hazard’s best position evidently is false nine, whereas Benzema can fall back deeper into the midfield, support the midfielders, make false runs from behind and provide for Jović. Alongside Jović are two Brazilian next-gen of attackers, Vinicius and Rodrygo.

Conclusion: 

Jović was an extremely important signing for President Pérez and the club. This signing not only let out positive vibes from the fans, but also fits every piece of the puzzle the club is trying to solve. Brahim Diaz, Eder Miliato, Vinicius, Rodrygo and now Jović. Signing youngsters has always been a gamble, but a gamble under Pérezis often always paid off with respect to Pérez.

Jović has just the right amount of time to settle down before the season starts as everybody would be at the tip of their seats to watch what combination of players would Zidane use for the International Champions Cup in July 2019.


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