Real Madrid: Alaba is the new kaiser
The Austrian defender arrived in the Spanish capital in the summer with thoughts of being a new leader after the departures of Ramos and Varane.
Kaiser, the well used German word meaning emperor, is often associated with great leaders in the world of sport. And in David Alaba Real Madrid are hoping to have their latest figurehead.
The 29-year-old came to the Spanish capital with eyes on being a leader and in just a couple of months he has already achieved that goal. He may be new to the club but he is one of the authoritative voices on and off the pitch, constantly giving instructions and ready to do what the team needs at any given moment. Against Inter in the opening Champions League group game on Wednesday, Carlo Ancelotti put him in the middle of the defence, to lead from the back and provide an element of stability and confidence that has been missing in recent games. The Austrian took charge and, although they struggled somewhat against the Italians in the first half, they recovered in the second and left the Giuseppe Meazza without conceding to the Serie A holders.
We brought you the game live and witnessed Alaba throughout the match as one of Carletto's commanders on the pitch, acting as an extension of the manager to direct proceedings. We saw the player getting direct instructions on several occasions from his gaffer on the sidelines, tweaking and tightening up on tactical issues. He was encouraging his teammates and berating them when necessary, just as Sergio Ramos did for so many years. Alaba was signed to play a role similar to that of the Sevillian and he appears, at least with the limited examples we’ve had to judge thus far, to have slid perfectly into his shoes. Impressive in such a short period of time.
Alaba stats vs Inter Milan
A quick data dive on the game provided further evidence of his contribution. He recovered three balls and won two duels against Inter’s physical strikers, Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez. Offensively, he was the main defender in charge of breaking the lines with a variety of passes. He completed 59 of those, a success rate of 89%, and his overall performance in the position makes it very difficult for him to be returned to full-back, a position better covered with young Miguel Gutiérrez, or the more experienced Mendy and Marcelo.
"The coach sees me more as a central defender. It's no secret that I can also play on the left, but I just want to help the team, I don't care about the position," he said after the match on Austrian channel ServusTV.