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Real Madrid World Cup Spotlight: Tchouameni, Camavinga suffer painful defeat in final



Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

The incredible story of Lionel Messi and his stellar career saw a fairytale episode on Sunday when Argentina got the better of France in an enthralling battle at Lusail Stadium.

It was not a game for the weak-hearted, as the tempo fluctuated between the two teams voraciously. Argentina were clearly the better team for 70 minutes, but what followed was absolute mayhem.

Lionel Messi opened the scoring against France with an ice-cool finish from the penalty spot after Ousmane Dembele brought down Angel Di Maria in the box. Soon after, the Juventus star doubled his country’s lead with a lethal counter-attacking goal that left the world in awe.

Heading into the final fifteen minutes of the game, Lionel Scaloni’s side seemed to have things under control. Yet, the script was just beginning its cruel series of twists and turns.

A terrible error from Nicolas Otamendi gifted the defending champions a way back as Kylian Mbappe scored from the penalty spot in the resulting spot-kick. 96 seconds later, the PSG star scored a stunning volley beyond the reach of Emiliano Martinez.

Extra time was not devoid of action either, but it was Argentina that dominated and got their third goal via Messi. Less than ten minutes away from utopia, the ball painfully struck Gonzalo Montiel’s hand and gifted France a second penalty. Unsurprisingly, Mbappe took it with both hands.

The World Cup finals went to penalties for just the third time in the history of the competition, but it was Argentina who finally prevailed with four perfect spot-kicks.

Madrid Universal brings you an overview of the performances of Real Madrid players in the biggest football game of the year.

Aurelien Tchouameni

The Real Madrid midfielder started the final in his first-ever World Cup but saw a rough result and a dismal performance. There was little if any merit to his 120 minutes on the pitch and the night ended in the worst way possible.

Tasked with containing Rodrigo De Paul and Lionel Messi in the deeper parts of the field, the youngster struggled to deliver. Argentina passed their way past the French midfield with ridiculous ease time and time again in the first half, and it is clear that Tchouameni was among the ones responsible.

He had 86 touches in 120 minutes and completed 54 passes with a poor completion rate of less than 75%. Further, he lost possession a whopping 22 times on the evening.

His defensive numbers provide some support to his poor game, as he managed two clearances, two interceptions and a tackle. Further, he won five ground duels and one aerial duel while on the field.

Kylian Mbappe’s magic helped Les Bleus reach the penalty shootout at Lusail Stadium, but Tchouameni’s missed penalty stopped the party. Kingsley Coman’s miss from the spot put the defending champions under pressure early in the shootout, and the Real Madrid player’s lack of experience got brutally exposed.

Stepping up to take the shot for his team, one could see the nervousness in Tchouameni’s body language. His shot did not even test Emiliano Martinez as it flashed well wide of the left post.

Eduardo Camavinga

With his team down by two goals, Didier Deschamps called upon Eduardo Camavinga to light a spark in the middle of the field in the 71st minute. Playing perhaps the most important cameo in his career thus far, the young phenom proved exactly why the manager called him up to the squad.

He had not played a single minute in the knockout stages until that point, yet did what the great Antoine Griezmann could not – get France on the offensive. He spent just under 50 minutes on the field and it was no coincidence that France’s two goals came moments after his coming on.

Camavinga completed a whopping 91% of his attempted passes against the high press of Argentina whilst also providing two key passes. He had a successful dribble, three tackles and won seven duels, showing the world why he is so highly rated.

As Carlo Ancelotti said earlier this season, the youngster’s true talents come out when he makes an appearance off the bench. There is still a lot for him to learn if he is to be a starter, however.

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Goals, energy, leadership: Three things Bellingham can offer to Real Madrid



Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images

Real Madrid have been notoriously heavy spenders in the summer transfer market in the past but have not spent an awful lot over the last few seasons due to financial restrictions and their team finding its peak at the right time.

Real Madrid did shell out close to €100 million for Aurelien Tchouameni last year, and got Eduardo Camavinga in the summer of 2021 for around €400 million, too.

It does seem like they have a huge summer planned ahead of them, though. The club plans to splash some cash on multiple positions, including centre-forward, right-wing, central midfield, and across the defence.

Some targets are laid out for these positions, with Kylian Mbappe naturally being on the list.

However, one definite target for Madrid that’s been well-established already is Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham. His price tag is set at around €100-140 million, and Los Blancos are among the teams leading the race for his signature, alongside Manchester City and Liverpool.

The Englishman has an obviously high ceiling and is already among the best players in his position in Europe. Moreover, he adds depth across various skillsets and attributes that Real Madrid currently lack or will lack as the clock marches on.

Madrid Universal explores three different things Bellingham can bring to the table for an already talented Galacticos side.

Goals from midfield

Despite not playing an advanced role, Bellingham is a rather experienced poacher in the box. This comes with his thorough understanding of offensive routines, and timing his runs to perfection in the box.

Being 6’1″ and physically gifted, the teenager can attack crosses and passes into the box with ease. He boasts of a rather impressive leap as well, which was more than visible during the World Cup, when he opened the scoring against Iran.

The English midfielder has scored four goals in the league for Dortmund, and has accumulated an xG of 5.25 across the season. That is nearly two more than Madrid’s highest scoring midfielder – Luka Modric.

Currently, Madrid’s goals are rather lopsidedly dependent on the forward line, with Toni Kroos and Modric just chipping in with a combined six goals in the league out of a possible 51.

While both players, and Camavinga, are adept at shooting from range, neither quite provide the box threat or the third-man runs Madrid are currently craving for.

Goal machine. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Once Karim Benzema or Vinicius Jr are boxed out of the game, Carlo Ancelotti’s side struggle with ideas, and are often stuck in a pattern of crossing and hoping for the best.

And even with that, Bellingham could prove to be an excellent solution to their problems, coming up with late runs into the box and attacking crosses and loose balls.

Youthful energy

Far too many times this season, Ancelotti has been criticised for using Modric and Kroos in the same midfield. Especially when their bench holds the likes of Camavinga, Dani Ceballos, and sometimes even Federico Valverde.

However, it is clear that these players have been delegated to certain roles in midfield. Camavinga and Tchouameni shuffle as pivot options, while Ceballos is called upon add more creativity in the centre of the park.

Bellingham, while far from the best ball retainer, certainly has energy and lungs for days. He can run from box to box, receive and turn in a crowded midfield, and chase the ball till the 90.

While they have Valverde in a similar mould, the Uruguayan has been tasked with running the right-wing more often than not, at least under Ancelotti. It will be interesting to see how another coach would utilise both players to their respective strengths should the transfer go through.

Long-term captaincy candidate

At 19, Bellingham has already shown signs of becoming a captain for any side he plays for, for years to come. He has donned the armband for Dortmund several times this season already, and was first awarded with it in October, becoming the youngest captain in Bundesliga history.

Captain material. (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)

Currently, he holds the position of third captain for Dortmund, behind Marco Reus and Mats Hummels, but has already held the armband multiple times, including twice in the UEFA Champions League.

While Madrid have a fair few leaders in their ranks, including and not limited to the likes of Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and David Alaba, Bellingham has clearly proved that he is not only capable of taking on a leadership role, but also spearheading any side for years to come.

If all works out, the price tag of €120+ million will soon start to pale in comparison to the attributes he brings to the table alongside his unbelievably high ceiling and longevity.

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