The competition created by Real Madrid signing Álvaro Odriozola appears to have stimulated Dani Carvajal. The flying full-back has started the season with a bang, which has seen him quickly pick up his best attacking numbers from the opening encounters. Add to this his defensive tracking and building of play from the back that has been catching the eye in August and September, and the lad from Leganés is on track to continue his progress from an already high standing in the game.
Carvajal could be still to peak
It's not even the middle of September and Carvajal already has a goal and two assists to his name from the appearances for club and country. These may be modest statistics in themselves but are contributions that have not been seen by the player in his seven seasons as a developing professional. Vastly experienced but we still must remember that he is still only 26, reaching his peak some would say.
More reading: Luis Enrique is changing the narrative surrounding Spain, says Robbie Dunne
So far this season, Carvajal has posted better 'early' numbers than his previous best, which came in the 2016-17 season with a goal and an assist. At that time, full-back Danilo was offering competition for his place. The season prior to that, with the Brazilian as first-choice, he wasn't able to provide anything going forward in his first seven matches, also seen in 2014-15. Both the 2017-18 and the 2013-14 campaigns saw him provide a teammate with a goal.
Real Madrid and Spain goals
Carvajal's return of the first seven games of the season
Data based on Dani Carvajal's first seven games of the season, for either Real Madrid or Spain.
Returning to his early form this year - remembering that he needed to battle back to full fitness following time out with a heart condition in late 2017 - Carvajal's stats show 10 crosses into the opposition area for Real Madrid in the first three games. Across the same period for his club, he has won the ball back 18 times. These are up there with his best performances and his two new bosses Julen Lopetegui and Luis Enrique will be hoping he continues to thrive on the new challenges ahead.