Dani Ceballos has agreed to join Real Madrid on a six-year contract. With the man from Andalusia in Zinedine Zidane’s squad, the French coach is gaining a player with an abundance of talent…
One of Ceballos’ great qualities. It is the main reason for Zidane’s interest in the player, who he sees as a long-term replacement for Luka Modric. In fact, Ceballos said himself in an interview with AS in March 2017 that his style “is similar to that of Modric”. The Croatian will turn 32 in September, and Zinedine Zidane has shown that he is happy to rotate his squad. Last season, Madrid lacked an organising playmaker when Modric was not playing. Ceballos will address that issue.
Ceballos puts together some sensational moves. Nutmegs, dribbles… he sprinkles a little magic on every game he plays, and the Bernabéu crowd love that kind of player. Where other players see only the rivals’ legs, Ceballos sees a space. He won more fouls than any player apart from Neymar in the 2016/7 La Liga season.
The final ball
He is one of those players that value an assist almost as highly as scoring a goal. Ceballos is a specialist at splitting defences with that final pass. At Madrid there will be clinical players ahead of him on the pitch: Ronaldo, Benzema, and Bale. His ability to feed those players adds another attacking weapon to Madrid’s armoury.
Ceballos is a defensive asset as well as an attacking force. After Víctor took over as the manager of Betis, Ceballos won the ball back, on average, ten times per game. A large part of the development of this side of his game is down to his work with a personal trainer. He has been doing double training sessions on a daily basis, and this sacrifice has allowed him to compete for 90 minutes at both ends of the pitch.
Use of the ball
The statistics from the Under 21 European Championship in Poland speak volumes. Ceballos completed the third most completed passes in the tournament, despite being on the bench for Spain’s first game, and rested for their third game. He completed 240 of his 275 attempted passes, a pass-completion rate of 87%. Madrid’s ‘Plan B’ last season was based around players who moved the ball quickly and accurately. Ceballos fits that model.
In the dressing room
Ceballos will fit in to the Madrid dressing room well. He is close friends with Marco Asensio, as well as Vallejo, Llorente, and Mayoral, his team-mates with La Rojita. He also knows Sergio Ramos through Adán, the current Real Betis, and former Real Madrid goalkeeper.