3 bold predictions for Eduardo Camavinga’s debut season at Real Madrid
Real Madrid has had a very turbulent summer. The Spanish club led by Florentino Perez, a controversial figure in the footballing world, firstly lost their coach, after Zinedine Zidane decided that it is time for a break. Afterwards, Perez led the effort to start an alternative to the Champions League, the European Super League, and failed, regardless of statements coming from him, Juventus, and Barcelona. Lastly, transfers have been largely departures (most notably, of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane), and to top it all off, the pursuit of Kylian Mbappe has been unsuccessful, as PSG decided against moving one of their best players.
However, one transfer did come through, as Eduardo Camavinga joined Real Madrid for a reported $35 million from Rennes. The 18-year old midfielder will slide into the squad right away, and here are three predictions for his season:
Camavinga will play more games and minutes than Luka Modric
The French midfielder is bursting with potential, and his game is very similar to his compatriot from Manchester United, Paul Pogba. He controls the midfield well and pulls all the strings in the attacks of both Rennes and the French U-19 squad, something he will most likely not do right away in Madrid. However, it is possible that manager Carlo Ancelotti will look to accelerate the Frenchman into the squad right away.
Unfortunately for Real Madrid fans, Modric has not been particularly lucky with injuries in the last couple of years. While, when he is playing, Los Blancos looks that much better, it is clear that Modric is exiting his prime and it might hinder the immense potential the Spanish giants hold in their midfield to play him more.
It should be mentioned that playing Modric less did not work previously when Zidane was quickly forced to return him into the starting XI. However, back then, the substitutions for Modric were the underwhelming Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard, who simply looks out of position with the 4-3-3 preferred by the past few Real Madrid managers, including the current Carlo Ancelotti. Now, it is Camavinga and he has truly shown that he can be a true leader in the middle of the pitch.
Camavinga will assume the starting spot by the end of the season
Somewhat linked with the first prediction, and completely in understanding that this buy was for the future primarily, it is not out of the realm of possibility that Real Madrid ends the season starting Federico Valverde, Casemiro and Camavinga. While Modric and Toni Kroos are the assumed starters and have held the line beautifully for the 13-time Champions League winners in the past 7 years, the rebuilding of the midfield is now in full swing.
Obviously, this depends on how the French midfielder adjusts to a different league and the pressure of playing at one of the biggest clubs in the sport, but everything he has shown on absolutely every stage he has played on gives Madrid fans a lot of confidence. It also depends, it has to be mentioned, on the overall success of the season for the Los Blancos. While a deep run in the Champions League would warrant more playing time for the experienced players, Ancelotti might prefer his youngsters, due to the fact that they will need the experience for the future.
Also, there is precedent to this – the aforementioned Valverde has assumed the starting spot over both Kroos and Modric in the past and handled it immensely, becoming a fan favorite very quickly. Camavinga has a similar profile to Valverde, as they are both box-to-box midfielders with a lot of sudden pace that can be unleashed at any point, with the caveat that Camavinga seems like the more skillful player when taking players one-on-one. That fact warrants a direct comparison to Modric, a bonafide legend of Real Madrid.
Camavinga will score at least 10 goals this year
This sounds like a very tall task, especially considering that Real Madrid has been in dire need of goals, especially last season, with the top goal-scorers being Benzema with 30, who was followed by Marco Asensio and Casemiro with 7. The issue is actually much older and stems from the fact that the goal-scoring record of Cristiano Ronaldo, who routinely scored 50+ goals in a season was never fully replaced, but it is entirely possible that Camavinga helps that section more than it is expected.
The French midfielder has shown that he can take anyone on 1v1 and that is what has been missing from the Real Madrid squad, due to the fact that Isco, the best player in theory in this particular niche, has been completely overlooked by Zidane in his last stint as manager. Most teams defend against Real Madrid in a two-line defensive block, something that is almost impossible to break without a miracle outside shot, a cross for a good header, or a player that can take defenders on.
In the game against Levante a couple of weeks back, which ended 3-3, Isco was instrumental in breaking the lines Levante put out and setting up his teammates for chances. If Camavinga can do the same in La Liga that he has done in Ligue 1, he has the potential to score many goals in the white jersey, especially since he has what it takes and will definitely play more than the somewhat forgotten Spanish midfielder.
While these predictions might seem incredibly bold, it is a testament to how much potential this player truly has. If his resume is looked over, he is one of the youngest debutantes in French League history, making his first official cap for Rennes at only 16, and debuting for the French national team at only 17. This is very impressive for someone who will be 19 in November, and when the interest of Real Madrid is invited, it is natural that the whole world will be watching this youngster play.
The fans, especially after the Mbappe fiasco, will be watching closely and, if luck has it that he does not perform well, things might turn sour fast. However, Eduardo Camavinga’s career has shown that he is ready for any situation.