This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…

Real Madrid have been rising in form recently and Zinedine Zidane seems to finally have found his mojo once again in the Spanish capital. But one huge part of that newfound success is the emergence of the 21-year-old midfielder, Federico Valverde.

On the chalkboard

At the very beginning of the season, things were all but good for Real Madrid.

They were struggling defensively, leaking far too many goals in the process, Zidane seemed a bit lost in his tactics and ideas, and Los Blancos lacked any sort of control in their games.

In short, things were really not looking great.

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But fast forward a couple of months in the future and suddenly, the sky is much clearer above the Galacticos’ camp.

Of course, some of their veterans and key players remained consistent, making that success possible in the first place but some new faces, like the young Valverde, could be starting a changing of the guard.

Out with the old

By now, it is no secret – Real Madrid have struggled with injuries throughout the 2019/20 campaign and one of the players who were more out of the squad than in it was Luka Modric.

The now 34-year-old Ballon d’Or winner needs no special introduction but his influence, even though still present, is slowly but surely veining.

This season, the Croatian midfielder has played a total of eight games across all competitions but when he was away, he was not as missed by the team as he used to be back in the day.

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Real Madrid have won four games with him in the line-up, substitutions included, but have also drawn four as well, tallying a 50% win rate in the process.

Valverde, on the other hand, even though just 21, seems to already have a much bigger influence on the squad.

So far, Los Blancos have a 67% win rate with the Uruguayan in the team and 33% without him, as opposed to 57% win rate without Modric.

But that’s not nearly all – in the six games Valverde was in the starting XI across all competitions this campaign, Zidane’s troops have won five of them, drawing the other while also scoring 18 goals and conceding only two.

This adds up to five clean sheets as well.

Should Zidane stay past this season?

Yes, let him stay

Yes, let him stay

No, need a change

No, need a change

Quite clearly, Valverde brings something big to this team and even though Modric is a huge figure at the club, the boss might want to consider granting the youngster a permanent start ahead of the experienced Croat.

Stats and numbers don’t lie – Real Madrid are better with Valverde and if they want to continue this successful trend going forward, they would be wise to keep the Uruguayan in the gala XI.


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D Kostanjsak