Real Madrid: The rise of Fede Valverde
The Uruguayan started the season on the fringes of the Madrid squad but is now one of the first names on the teamsheet, starting 13 times this campaign.
Fede Valverde has gone from starting the season on the fringes of the Real Madrid squad (he was left out on the opening day of the season, against Celta) to becoming a firm favourite with Zidane.
"He's a modern footballer who's always looking to pass forward and always wants the ball. The ground he covers across the pitch is impressive, in both attack and defence. He's playing well and I'm pleased for him. He's playing because he deserves it," the Madrid coach said recently.
A talismanic figure
The rising stock of the Uruguayan midfielder has seen him become a talismanic figure for Los Blancos. His 13 starts this campaign have seen Madrid go undefeated - he wasn't in the first eleven in the defeats to PSG and Mallorca - and have brought with them eight wins and five draws, with Zidane's side scoring 30 goals (2.3 per game) and conceding only six (0.46 per match). In other words, with Valverde in the side Madrid are more potent in attack and stronger at the back.
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