As Real Madrid’s starting lineup against Atletico Madrid was announced, it became instantly clear that it would be a difficult game for the hosts without the presence of Antonio Rudiger in the side.
Daniel Carvajal and Nacho, while top defenders in their own right, do not quite have the aerial presence that the team needed to defend against Atletico.
Despite that, the Spanish pairing did fairly well and kept out Atletico for more than 90 minutes. All while the team played some crisp and quick football, led by the ever-dynamic Brahim Diaz.
Making the most of his time
Diaz came into the starting lineup after an injury to Vinicius Jr during warm-up, and was inarguably the best player for Madrid. He scored their only goal, and was omnipresent in attack, too.
And this has been the case through the season. The 24-year-old has grabbed chances by the scruff of their neck, and made the most of his time.
It seems all his hard-work will pay off, as well, with reports from Sergio Santos (h/t MadridXtra) claiming that Diaz is on Spain’s pre-list for the next international break, that will be a friendly against Brazil in March.
Spanish coach Luis de la Fuente is impressed with the forward’s performances this season, and is ready to reward him with a call-up. And should he continue to do well for club, and then country, Diaz could be on the plane for the 2024 European Championship.
Putting numbers into context
With ten direct goal contributions across four competitions, Diaz’s numbers may not seem as impressive at first glance. However, they truly show his importance when fully put into perspective.
He has largely played second fiddle to Rodrygo, Jude Bellingham, and Vinicius in attack this season, competing with Joselu for a spot in the XI. And during this time, he has played just over 1000 minutes only across four competitions.
That is the equivalent of around 12 90s, which means Brahim is averaging just under a goal contribution per game so far this season. All while being in and out of the team.
In fact, Carlo Ancelotti substitutes him out even on his better days. For example, yesterday vs Atletico, the Spaniard was called off for Joselu after 70 minutes despite being head-and-shoulders above any other player on the pitch.
Real Madrid do not want to pay ‘crazy money’ for top defensive target – Romano
As has been reported by multiple reliable sources today, Alphonso Davies is likely to be on his way to Real Madrid from Bayern Munich in the summer.
It has been suggested that the 23-year-old Canadian left-back already has a verbal agreement with Los Blancos over a transfer either this summer or in 2025, when his contract with the Bundesliga champions runs down.
Now, the idea is for Real Madrid to start negotiations with Bayern Munich over a transfer fee so that a mutually beneficial agreement can be reached for the summer window.
Real Madrid will not pay crazy money
Amidst all this, Fabrizio Romano has come out with an update claiming that Real Madrid do not intend to pay ‘crazy money’ to sign Davies from Bayern Munich given that he will be entering the final year of his contract.
The Italian transfer expert claims that Real Madrid have been the preferred destination for Davies for a while now and that the personal terms between the two parties will not be an issue at all.
So, a summer move would now hinge on Bayern Munich’s asking price for their left-back.
Romano states that the Bavarian giants will attempt to tie Davies down to a new contract until May or even June.
But if the left-back, who is demanding hefty wages worth around €20 million, does not agree to sign, they will be forced to sell instead of losing him for free next year.
In that scenario, Real Madrid will be best-placed to sign Davies, although Los Blancos will not go overboard with their spending on the Canadian.