Real Madrid's new-look invincible midfield
Zinedine Zidane's new midfield of Kroos-Casemiro-Valverde is proving to be worth the hype as the stats back up the good vibes when they play together.
The Real Madrid of the future is being built around three pillars that have lifted the club to great heights in the past. The team that won three Champions League titles in a row was built around Kroos, Casemiro and Modric. Now, Zidane is trying to replicate that success with a similar formula. This time, though, it's Kroos, Casemiro and Valverde.
The stats and the feelings left when the three midfielders play together are beyond doubt. Together, they have not tasted defeat yet having beaten Galatasaray (6-0 and 0-1), Leganés (5-0), Granada (4-2 with Kroos going off after 42 minutes at 1-0) and Osasuna (2-0). The only game they didn't win was the 0-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Fede Valverde has been the difference-maker in this new midfield. Casemiro, with varying results, has been a starter since the start of the season. Kroos, who has been exceptional for a while now too. The only game the German didn't play was against Mallorca and they lost. 'El Pajarito' as Valverde is known is growing in importance. Without him in the eleven, Real Madrid have lost twice - against PSG and Mallorca, drawn four times (Valladolid, Villarreal, Bruges, Betis) and won just three times (Celta, Levante, Sevilla).
They have won 13 points from 27 without Valverde with 12 goals for and another 12 against them. With him though, they have accumulated 16 from 18 points available with 18 goals and just two against them. "Every time he has the chance to play, he does well," said Zidane after the Galatasaray game. "I put him in place of Casemiro and he did well. Normally he's a box-to-box player, he has done well for the team."
Zidane was the man responsible for not letting Valverde leave on loan in the summer. The Uruguayan fits into the midfield perfectly and along with Courtois, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo, Rodrygo, Benzema and Hazard, is part of what looks like a fairly set starting XI.
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