Aurélien Tchouaméni in line for a first team place in Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid
The Frenchman’s strong performances have convinced the technical staff that he deserves a spot in the starting XI this season.
The best version of Tchouaméni is back. After a first season in which he went from starting off brightly to fading away after the World Cup, the French international has finally recharged his batteries. Against AC Milan in pre-season, Tchouaméni looked rusty, but he made a strong claim to being the best player on the pitch against both Manchester United and Barcelona.
He signed off two exceptional performances, showing his physical ability as well as his on-ball calmness and awareness. In the defeat to Juventus, the lack of Tchouaméni in the side was clear to see, with a fragile Madrid side that could not link the lines; in the game against Athletic in the league, Tchouaméni was back and raring to go, thriving in the tough game for 90 minutes.
What is Tchouaméni’s role at Madrid?
The 23-year-old is the anchor point of the new-look midfield that will prowl the Bernabéu pitch; Kroos and Modric will have a lesser role and the young players will have a bigger influence in the side. He is the perfect shield to sit behind the others, giving Valverde, Camavinga and Bellingham the freedom to roam and cause chaos further up the pitch, as shown in Athletic’s stadium, San Mamés.
Aurélien is the only player in the Madrid squad who does not have a direct replacement: while Kroos and Ceballos are able to play in the pivot position, it is not their preferred role by any means and they are nowhere near as comfortable as Tchouaméni, given they do not possess the physical qualities and the defensive solidity of the Frenchman.
Tchouaméni used a personal trainer in LA
Tchouaméni was always destined to go one step further at Real Madrid, recovering that impressive physicality that gave him the accolade at Monaco of being the player with the most ball recoveries in Europe. Along with his trainer, Fabrice Gautier, who he has been with since he was 17, Tchouaméni trained heavily and specifically in Los Angeles during the pre-season tour with Real Madrid.
Against Barça in Dallas, despite the defeat, he came away with some impressive numbers: 90% accurate passes, 2 key passes, 3 dribble and 7 duels won out of 10. The numbers are staggering, especially in terms of accurate passes against the other teams: 97% against Manchester United and 94% against Athletic Club.
Real Madrid trust the player to shine this season
The Frenchman’s objectives for this season are clear: find his feet once again. And right now, he’s not doing too badly. When Tchouaméni is at his top level, Madrid can feel his presence on the pitch and they grow around him, a feeling which stems from the stability and balance he gives the side both on and off the ball; in the same way, when he’s missing, he is greatly missed.
The confidence the club has in the player is still very much there, above all now given his strong start to the 23/24 season. He has stepped up when needed during pre-season and it is hoped by the club that he can consolidate his position as a first-team player. The lessons from last season have been learned, and Tchouaméni is braver than before. He will be able to step out of Casemiro’s long shadow that hands over the role at Madrid and show he can fill the gap left by a legend.