Ace up Zidanes sleeve: 21 y/o Castilla talent can soften potential injury blow – opinion

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

Even though Real Madrid’s clash with Granada was a 4-2 win, it didn’t come without any costs.

Toni Kroos, their midfield general, had to be subbed off due to an injury, and while that is undoubtedly a huge loss for Los Blancos, they have someone who can shine in his absence.

On the chalkboard

Without exaggerating too much, Kroos has definitely been one of the few shining lights in Real Madrid’s squad.

Even when the squad was underperforming, the German was dropping masterclass performances left, right and centre. But now that he’s out injured, Zinedine Zidane will have to somehow replace his presence in the middle of the park.

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The return of Luka Modric to the squad is good news, of course, but one other young star seems to be rising in form and with Kroos out, the spotlight just might be his to take.

A bet on the future

Real Madrid Castilla, while not as popular as some other footballing academies on the planet, is still full of talent.

And one such talent is already playing in the senior squad under Zidane – Federico Valverde.

The 21-year-old Uruguayan has been given a much bigger role in the 2019/20 season than ever before. The game against Granada was actually his 30th game for the Galacticos overall and the assist he made was his first in his career as a senior player.

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Before that, in 2018/19, he only managed 650 minutes in 16 games in La Liga while now, after only five, he’s already on 262.

This does suggest there might be a bigger role for him to play in the ongoing campaign and Kroos’ injury might have opened the door completely.

Valverde was one of the best players on the pitch against Granada, too.

He tallied one assist, three shots, one key pass and 61 touches on the night. Not to mention that he also recorded three tackles and one clearance.

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By all standards, it was a brilliant display and with enough continuity and trust from the manager, he can only get better.

An injury to a key player is never a good thing but it just might have a silver lining for Los Blancos in the form of Valverde.

Only time will tell.

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