Álvaro Rodríguez to stay with Real Madrid first team
Rodríguez will only return to play for Real Madrid Castilla on important occasions, such as a playoff match.
Real Madrid have been talking for years about the need to sign a No 9, without knowing that they had one coming through. Álvaro Rodríguez was discovered by Real Madrid Castilla head coach Raúl. “He was a winger in the Juvenil C, one day I was watching the B team, there was a cross and he finished it off like nobody had seen for a long time,” the former club captain said. Rodríguez registered an assist in his first La Liga game with Real Madrid against Osasuna and scored his first goal for the club in the Madrid derby on Saturday - just like Raúl González Blanco in the autumn of 1994 - almost three decades ago.
Raúl made his debut with Real Madrid at La Romareda at 17. It was 29 October 1994 (matchday 9) and they were visiting Real Zaragoza. Raúl started the game, playing as a second striker. Madrid lost, but Raúl set up Zamorano, who scored to make it 2-1. The match ended 3-2. A week later, it was the derby at the Bernabéu, where Raúl played a brilliant 60 minutes, scoring a goal and providing two assists.
Rodríguez comes through
Álvaro Rodríguez played 23 minutes against Cacereño in the Copa del Rey, but his debut in La Liga was a long time coming. It was in Pamplona, when Carlo Ancelotti introduced him with a few minutes remaining on the clock. He was already ahead of Mariano Díaz and Eden Hazard in the forward department’s pecking order. What happened next, of course, was devastating: two assists in just five minutes. One of the goals was, however, disallowed for offside. In the absence of Rodrygo through injury, Ancelotti had an easy decision to make for the derby. So, with the match at 0-0, he made use of the Uruguay U20 striker’s 1.93m frame. And he ended up being key, scoring the header that salvaged a point for the home side.
First-team player for Ancelotti
Ancelotti was full of praise at the post-match press conference and confirmed what was an open secret: he will be a first-team player for the 2023-24 season. “Next season he will be in the first team, because he has a quality that few others have. His age, his height, he’s powerful, he keeps the ball and he’s formidable with his head. In this last stretch of the season, we will evaluate whether we need him, which I think we do. I think he can combine the two (play with Castilla). We’re going to manage him well with Raúl. I’ll talk to him. He has shown all his quality in the little time he has played”.
Backup for Benzema
Pending that conversation with Raúl, everything suggests that he will be seen on a regular basis. Benzema’s physical condition is still not optimal, so it is to be expected that Carletto will use him for the most important nights, including the Copa del Rey and Champions League, giving El Toro the chance to play in some of the league games.
The plan is that he only returns to Castilla at specific moments: to play if it is compatible, like last week, when hours after the Osasuna game, he played against Linares, or to play in a hypothetical playoff. For the moment, what is sure is that he has won the battle against Iker Bravo, the signing Castilla made last summer. Bravo is on loan from Bayer Leverkusen with an option to buy in the deal.