Casting for the right-back slot underway at Real Madrid
Ancelotti wants to take a look at Vinicius Tobias and Odriozola in the United States. Both players have a summer to prove that they deserve to be Caravajal’s back-up.
Two players for one position. With Dani Carvajal deservedly considered the undisputed first-choice at right-back, it remains to be seen who will be Real Madrid’s second-choice in the position this season - Vinicius Tobias or Odriozola. On paper, there is nothing much between them, so Ancelotti has proposed that both are included in the squad for the pre-season tour of the United States, so that he take a closer look at them. The Brazilian defender and his Basque team mate returned to work on the same day: 8 July - neither of them had any international commitments after the final in Paris and were among the first players to undergo their medical revision on the first day back in Valdebebas. Since then, both Tobias and Odriozola have been hard at work and dreaming about securing a regular place. It will be up to Ancelotti to decide which one makes the cut.
With that in mind, the Brazilian starts out at a disadvantage. For him to be given that vacant role, he would first need a non-EU position to be released elsewhere in the squad. For example, if Vinicius Jr is finally awarded dual nationality - something he has been waiting months for. Vinicius is expected to have his EU passport sorted out in the short term, but there is still no exact date on when that will be and there is nothing Madrid can do about it but wait. In the meantime, Tobias will continue playing with Castilla, working under Raúl, with whom he already played four games last season. He arrived in the Spanish capital from Shakhtar Donetsk, as a result of the outbreak of the Russian invasion of Ukraine under a FIFA ruling, in which clubs were allowed to sign up to two players who played in the Ukrainian or Russian leagues
Madrid chose Tobias, who is on loan until the end of this season. His purchase option is 10 million euros, plus another 10 million in add-ons. If he manages to convince Ancelotti, it would be a remarkably low figure for a right-back who is only 18 years old, with his whole career ahead of him. One option that Madrid would have on the table, if they opted for Tobias, would be to start the season with Carvajal-Lucas Vázquez as full-backs, a formula that has shown profitability over the years, and once Vinicius’ dual nationality arrives, open the door to the São Paulo winger.
But Odriozola is hoping that he is chosen over Tobias. Madrid signed him in the summer of 2018 from Real Sociedad for 32 million euros. At the time, he was the Spanish right-back with the most projection - a footballer who had just played 3,435 minutes with La Real and had just been called up by La Roja for the World Cup in Russia (although he did not get to play). After a year and a half without being able to dislodge Carvajal, Odriozola went on loan to Bayern Munich for six months, where things went from bad to worse - he only played just five games in the Bundesliga, all in front of empty stadiums due to the pandemic. A total of 179 minutes. After returning to Madrid and enjoying just 958′ throughout the whole of the following season, he decided to go out on loan again.
Odriozola joined Fiorentina on loan at the start of the 2021/22 campaign. In Florence, he finally started to enjoy his football once again. He played a total of 1,866 minutes, spread over 27 games, scoring one goal and providing an assist. As his performances improved, positive feelings followed. So much so that Madrid decided to offer him a third chance. He will complete the pre-season with the squad and has serious options to be kept on for the new season. At 26 years old, he is under contract until 2024. As AS reported, the club’s idea is that he is the one who will stay, as he has much more experience than Tobias. But anything can happen over the course of the summer. The Brazilian wants to prove he has what it takes while Odriozola, wants to return to being the player he was back in 2017. There is only enough room for one of them...