REAL MADRID

Real Madrid's missing role has Rodrygo leading the race

The Brazilian revitalised the attack as Los Blancos struggled to break down Getafe, and the positive impact has seen his first team prominence upgraded.

Real Madrid’s Rodrygo is timing his move for the final sprint towards LaLiga’s finish line. The right wing is the only aspect of the offensive positions that doesn’t have a clear owner and, at least until Marco Asensio has regained one hundred percent sharpness, the Brazilian is leading the way for Zinedine Zidane.

Rodrygo making a claim for Madrid role

Interestingly, against Getafe the French coach introduced both players off the bench together, as Madrid failed to unravel Bordalás's system. The idea was to work Asensio on the left and Rodrygo on the right. "They were key," Zizou later acknowledged, “freshness was missing up front.”

It was clear that Zidane wanted to stretch the field with that double change and the Brazilian made an impact. In fact, his appearance saw Bordalás culled Cucurella on the counter as they struggled to contain the speed of Real Madrid’s youngster. A constant pressure on that flank would eventually end up paying off with the penalty kick awarded after the foul on Carvajal. And his defensive sacrifice was a marked difference to what we’ve seen, something Zidane has also been asking of Vinicius. The heat map shows, compared to Asensio on the other side, that he doubled down on helping his side defensively.

Heat map of Asensio on the left (upper area) and Rodrygo on right (lower area) against Getafe.

Heat map of Asensio on the left (upper area) and Rodrygo on right (lower area) against Getafe.

Rodrygo can currently lay claim to the vacant spot on the right and he has seen most minutes since the return to action following the coronavirus postponement. He has played in 113 minutes spread over three games (61’ against Eibar and 26' against Espanyol and also Getafe), ahead of bigger names like Gareth Bale (100') as well as the injured Lucas Vázquez and Brahim Díaz who has dropped down the pecking order. A separate case is Asensio, who is being slowly managed back after almost a year out.

Rodrygo’s development

Among other reasons, the impressive performances could be down to Rodrygo returning to Valdebebas after the break with a new physio. He had gained around three kilos of muscle, especially in the lower body, and was now more powerful.

Real Madrid's Rodrygo Silva against Getafe's Damián Suárez.

Real Madrid's Rodrygo Silva against Getafe's Damián Suárez.

"Insiders tell me that he is training very, very well," Álvaro Benito revealed on Spanish TV programme, Carrusel after one of the Brazilian's first runs against Getafe. The technical team are happy with him and Rodrygo is a sign that Zidane can be more flexible. Before the Covid-19 stoppage the manager stated that the Brazilian was seen as a player to develop at Castilla, but now he is getting first team action. And this is with a title on the line.