Carlo found the key to Valverde, and he became the star of Real Madrid
Real Madrid had a lot of heroes in an incredibly successful last season. Madrid were led forward by a fantastically effective attacking combination of Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior, who won the Ballon d'Or, the goalkeeper's magic of Thibaut Courtois and Rodrigo, who turned into a lifesaver in the Champions League. And the undisputed hero of this difficult season with its heap of injuries is Federico Valverde.
He has already scored 12 goals, the highest for a Real Madrid midfielder since James Rodriguez (15). True, the Colombian is a sharpened attack player, while Valverde is one of those who are more likely to carry the piano. However, this season it turned out that the Uruguayan loader could perform such melodies that everyone was amazed.
Moreover, the point is not even in the amazing performance, but in the transformation of Fede into a mental leader, which, due to natural modesty, few people expected from him. Although, as Toni Kroos, who took care of Valverde from their first days in the main team of Real Madrid, said, it was immediately clear to him that he was a unique player in terms of his abilities.
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Under the tutelage of Kroos and Casemiro
Obviously, Fedya was lucky with the people around him. In addition to Kroos, he was helped in everything by another leader of the mid-lane - Casemiro. And in the first season, at a new level, Valverde, who admitted his desire to spend his entire career at Real Madrid, was significantly supported by the head coach.
“Zidane told me to enjoy football and not consider it an exam. For me to show my potential, because he likes the type of player like me. He tells me to have fun on the field. Considering who he is, it’s very nice that he believes in me".
-the football player admitted on air to the Uruguayan program.
Motivation from Ancelotti
Another important person in Valverde's career is Carlo Ancelotti. The coach, under whose leadership the Uruguayan reached a new level, in terms of the game developed what was laid down by Zidane. It's about using a football player in a hybrid role on the right flank of the attack. Under the Frenchman, Valverde, who has unique physical characteristics and endurance, was not limited to working on the edge but also helped the midfielders in the central zone.
The turning point in relations with Ancelotti in Spain is considered last year's Clasico in the Super Cup semi-finals. At the end of regular time, the coach released Valverde instead of Modric, and, having become the author of the winning goal (3:2), the midfielder sincerely thanked the coach for his trust. According to Marca, after that goal, Fede, who did not have a solid place in the first team, stopped thinking about a possible team change.
And before the start of this season, seeing the potential of the player, Ancelotti found additional motivation for him: “The thing that surprised me the most was that he scored so little. He had only one goal last season. I told Feda that he had a stone leg and an incredible kick. He said that if he did not score at least ten goals, I would tear up my coaching license and retire. But to say that he is the best in the world in his position, we may have to wait a little longer."
Conversations on the subject reached a peak at the Club World Cup - after Valverde's ninth goal in the semi-final against Al Ahly. “There is one more goal left for me to keep working. I hope it happens on Saturday, ”said Ancelotti in training, and he was not mistaken. Having sent the ball into the net, the football player rushed to the bench and embraced the coach, and Vinicius in the champion locker room was glad that now Carlo would not have to tear his license.
But jokes are jokes, but in fact, there was a deeper meaning in the joint celebration of the goal with Ancelotti. The coach not only found the key to Uruguayan's football talents but also always supported him. This has been especially true lately. Firstly, the failure of Uruguay at the 2022 World Cup was a psychological blow for Valverde, going to which Fede recalled his childhood dreams and was full of optimism. Secondly, the situation in the family put pressure on the player.
However, in the end, everything returned to normal, and Valverde noted one of his goals in the final of the club WC-2022, imitating feeding a baby from a bottle. Peace of mind returned with the good news. Instead of breakdowns, as after the replacement in the game with Mallorca, bright matches and a new trophy came. Ancelotti, as promised, showed patience, and the old Valverde returned. He is happy again and scores again, leading the team behind him. This is exactly what Real Madrid needs in the Champions League playoffs.
Cover Credits: Flickr