Dani Carvajal is one of the few veterans remaining in Real Madrid’s youth-centred squad. Yet, he is irreplaceable in the team setup and continues to perform at the highest level at right-back.
So far this season, the 31-year-old averages 87 minutes per game for the men in white and already has an assist to his name. Further, he averages 1.5 key passes per game and has overseen two clean sheets.
“I’ve always had this serious face. Whenever I get to give a speech, I tell them to do whatever they can. In training, in life. Give it your all,” he first said about his personality and how it reflected on those around him.
“I have had many moments of injury and setbacks, and I am very proud of overcoming many obstacles along the way. I often remember this more than many titles,” he added.
Carvajal was then quizzed on how the sport had changed over the past few years in terms of the quality of opposition.
“It’s changed a lot since I started 11 years ago in the first team. I remember that with Cristiano, Bale, and Benzema, a team came to you from mid-table or lower and you knew you were going to score four goals.
“We played with more freedom, it wasn’t tactically prepared matches because I think the opponent didn’t know your weaknesses.”
“Now it’s hard, any team at home if you’re not doing well can beat you. The level has improved a lot and everything is more balanced,” he continued.
Despite his roots being in Castilla, Carvajal moved to Germany for a brief stint in 2012 before returning back to Real Madrid a year later. Speaking on his time in Germany, he could only recollect memories to smile upon.
“I arrived at 10 years old, and I only passed the youth team and Real Madrid Castilla. The offer from Leverkusen was an important moment in my career. I received many offers and together with my family I evaluated what was best.”
“At Castilla, I was looking forward to the opportunity to play with the first team or go out. I knew my chances in the first team were difficult, but Leverkusen bet heavily on me. I adapted quickly, and my thoughts were clearly about returning to Madrid.”
He elaborated on how his father was unhappy with Real Madrid pushing for his return and how he integrated himself into the Madrid-based setup.
“My father told me that it was unfortunate that Real Madrid brought me back, and that he did not know whether I would play or not. I understood him of course, but at that moment I couldn’t do anything else, that was my response. I was lucky because just Arbeloa was on the wing, and the change of coach, and it all happened together.”
“I could have been a one-club player, yes, but being in Germany left a good taste in my mouth. I’m looking forward to playing there again, seeing people from the club and seeing how they receive me. I often think about what would have happened to me if Real Madrid had not bought me,” he added on his former club.
Playing at Real Madrid is easier said than done, especially considering the high expectations from the fans. Speaking on the mentality within the team, Carvajal said,
“Since I was very young, we don’t usually lose two games in a row and you always live under the pressure of always having to win. This is reflected in the first team. Of course, you also have to learn from bad seasons.”
The defender was then asked about how it felt to be one of the very few players in the sport to have won five UCL titles.
“It’s crazy. It seems like something impossible to replicate, and I always say that over time I will appreciate what we achieve much more,” he exclaimed on the achievement.
He went on to describe the legacy he wished to leave behind at the club the day he bids farewell.
“I was part of one of the best Real Madrid players in history, if not the best. I would like the day I leave to be remembered as one of the best defenders to ever be here. Time will give me a better perspective.”
Real Madrid is currently seeing a change of guard with the younger generation taking over gradually. As one of the veterans remaining under Carlo Ancelotti, Carvajal said he hoped to push on for as long as possible.
“I have many years left on my contract and I hope I can retire here. Being at Madrid is the greatest thing for a footballer, and I think leaving the club has to be one of the most difficult moments.”
The topic of Saudi Arabia’s recent rise in the transfer market was the next on the agenda. The 31-year-old conceded that the wages and fees offered by the Asian league were difficult to compete with, saying,
“It’s complicated, now you see that they are paying high transfer fees and the players are younger, perhaps promising. It’s complicated by the salary difference which is very high.”
When asked about his role models in the world of football, the right-back said,
“Since I was born, I always looked up to Michel Salgado, he was my role model. And so was Sergio Ramos, of course, once Michel was gone. I arrived and was shocked to share a dressing room with him.”
Movistar then asked Carvajal to pick the three top players he had shared the dressing room with during his time at Real Madrid. Carvajal did not hesitate in naming three of his long-time peers and legends of the game.
“Cristiano, Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric. They’re people talking to you and you have to be attentive with all five senses, and they’re talking to you and you have to take notes. You see them arriving at six in the morning and starting to train. It’s brutal.”
“Luka managed to lead such a small country to the World Cup final. He got here with almost a commanding mind and how he won over everyone is unbelievable,” he added on the genius of Luka Modric.
When asked to pick his top coaches from Real Madrid, the veteran refused to take names but revealed the qualities he admired in his former managers.
“We have had coaches with a very similar personality. It was difficult for them to get angry because of their actions, they gave you freedom on the field. They had a huge influence on me and approached coaching Real Madrid with tremendous normality.”
“The hardest thing to achieve is for everyone to be happy, whether they play more or play less. Here are the best, and the coach must know how to give a place to each one of them. I don’t want to take them at this moment,” he added on the challenges of managing Real Madrid.
Yet, Carvajal refused to rule out a possible future on the sidelines, saying: “I don’t rule it out, far from it, but the first thing I want to do when I retire, I would like to start with the children.”
Los Blancos have been hit hard by injuries this season, with Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militao suffering the most gruesome blows. Carvajal attributed part of the fault to the hectic schedule.
“I recently heard Guardiola talking about the difficulty of the calendar and I partly agree with him. We came back from pre-season and those who were with the national team played again against Milan or United, with tough tests for everyone to win the place.”
“With four days of training, it’s rare that the body doesn’t suffer and you don’t get injured. I understand that sometimes you have to generate more, but I believe you have to reduce quantity and increase quality,” he added.
Finally, he gave his two cents on winning the UEFA Nations League with the Spanish National Team and how it felt to take the winning penalty on the night.
“I took the penalty to explain myself a little, I didn’t play much in both matches. They identified the kickers, and Laporte had doubts and was uncomfortable. I told him, ‘I was going to get six.’ It was a big moment for all of us, but I swear I wasn’t nervous or in doubt at any time. When Unai stopped him I knew it was my moment.”
Real Madrid very happy with future star Endrick, eagerly awaiting his arrival in 2024 – Romano
Real Madrid’s attacking unit has been crippled by the loss of Karim Benzema earlier in the summer, which was followed by the loss of Vinicius Jr due to injury.
Although Vinicius has returned, there is much left to be desired from the Madrid frontline as we progress through to the season.
Real Madrid, though, are waiting on the arrival of Endrick. The young Brazilian is set to join the Real Madrid squad in the summer of 2024 when he turns 18.
Real Madrid impressed by Endrick
Endrick has already started his preparation for his pending move to Santiago Bernabeu, having performed exceptionally well in his native Brazil this year.
The youngster is constantly working on his game, in order to further improve himself as an attacker. It has left Real Madrid quite happy and eager for his arrival, reports Fabrizio Romano.
The journalist claims that Real Madrid have been keeping close tabs on everything Endrick has been doing, on and off the pitch, at Palmeiras.
And they have received very good reports on the 17-year-old, with the club impressed by how he is putting efforts to improve himself both performance-wise and in other facets.
Despite there being some question marks over his performances, the teenage forward is starting to showcase his potential, having scored five goals in five starts for Palmeiras.
Endrick also learning new languages
Endrick is not only just working on his performance. In fact, the Brazilian is also learning other languages in order to quickly settle into life in Spain.
The youngster can speak Portuguese, but he may have to master Spanish during his time at Santiago Bernabeu.
As mentioned earlier, Endrick can already speak Portuguese, which should go a long way in helping him team up with fellow Brazilians Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo.
Even Eder Militao can speak Portuguese, which should make it easier for Endrick to adapt to life in Spain, at least for the next year or so.