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The resurgence of Dani Carvajal

Against Celtic, the Madrid right-back caused the most danger with his crosses in Madrid’s 3-0 Champions League win.

Antonio Villar
Luka Modric le pone el brazalete de capitán a Dani Carvajal en Celtic Park.

Dani Carvajal is back. The Real Madrid right-back, who has put an injury-plagued past behind him, has made a great start to the season. In the Champions League match against Celtic, his runs down saw him become the most effective player going forward with his crosses. Along with Toni Kroos, who completed a high percentage of his passes, they were the two players with the most impact for Real Madrid.

During the final against Liverpool in Paris, Dani already showed that the best Carvajal would return this season. He kept Luis Diaz quiet to help Madrid win their 14th Champions League. Since the start of the new season, he has played a total of 174 minutes in LaLiga, where he started against Celta and Betis and was rested against Almería and Espanyol (in the latter, he played the last five minutes of the game).

In Europe, his numbers are even better: in the Super Cup against Eintracht, he played 85 minutes and was key to winning the first title of the season with a value, according to Olocip, of 0.30 in Helsinki. Against Celtic in the Champions League, it was more of the same. He set up Hazard with the last assist to help Madrid record a 3-0 win.

Carvajal’s injuries

Carvajal’s physical condition has progressively evolved in recent months. “I don’t care if I have to eat broccoli morning, noon and night,” he said after picking up multiple muscle injuries. With a strict change in diet (no gluten, no wheat), he gradually returned. Until then, the full-back had had a string of physical problems. He had missed a total of 81 games through injury (2017-18, 13 games; 2018-19, 16 games; in 2019-20, just one; in 2020-21, 36 games; and in 2021-22, he reduced the number of games he was injured to 15). It was not until the final stretch of last season that Carvajal improved physically and finished the season with an AI rating of 0.20 (0.08 on the defensive side). For this new season, the value is expected to continue to increase to 0.24.

Carvajal’s impressive collection

In a campaign with a winter World Cup, the 30-year-old wants to continue to add trophies to his collection. So far, Carvajal has won five Champions League titles, three LaLiga titles, one Copa del Rey, four European Super Cups, three Spanish Super Cups and four Club World Cups in 335 games with Los Blancos.