Valverde is Zidane's new Pogba

The home draw against PSG could be seen as a bad result. It is never good to draw at home and that result left Madrid with no chance of topping the group. It didn't even prove to be a necessary point to progress them to the knockout phase, as this had already been secured before kick-off. However, the crowd was left happy and proud after the game, because it had been a great performance from the team. You play to win, but if that doesn't happen then you only have something to point to if you've played well. Playing defensively does not guarantee you more victories, quite the opposite as history has demonstrated. It only ensures that if you don't win, you have nothing to fall back on. For this reason it is better to perform well.

An evolved Valverde

This game against PSG was confirmation that Zidane has done it again. A year ago we saw this decrepit team, without desire, fed up of winning, and there was no manager (not even Zidane) able to put them back on track. But the Frenchman has now done it. And with practically the same players. He spent the summer asking Pogba to come in and jolt the team, but Florentino denied him. Looking closer to home, he advanced the evolution of Valverde, a player that many did not see as particularly special. Only Álvaro Benito, so knowledgeable about the academy, insisted on him being worth it, saying that it was only a matter of getting him involved. He has been brought in and now looks to be an essential element.

Federico Valverde of Real Madrid during the UEFA Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain.

Federico Valverde of Real Madrid during the UEFA Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain.

A positive draw

A box-to-box player, with focus and good delivery, intelligent in movement, knowing when to go, and when to sacrifice himself in return... he does exactly what Zidane had intended Pogba to do. His energy spreads across the team like an infusion of new blood. His contribution, added to the shockwaves that we're feeling more and more from Hazard, has changed that effortless group whose reluctance to play devoured two managers and almost did the same to Zidane. The rest are the same, but as a group they have regained an enthusiasm for the game. That's why the Bernabéu enjoyed the game so much and went out onto the streets afterwards with pride, despite it being a draw.