Valverde: from infinity to zero

The Uruguayan midfielder does not rebound after overcoming the injury that had him a month off the pitch: he has only finished one game of the nine that the white team has played


Fede Valverde (Montevideo, 1998) is stagnating. The Uruguayan is nothing like the player who was one of the great protagonists of the title won last season. Valverde, bought for just 5 million euros when he was 16 years old and was one of the figures of the Uruguayan National Team, is going from infinity to being an irrelevant player. After having stood out in the ranks of Peñarol and the lower categories of the Uruguayan national team, the midfielder arrived at Madrid, after a previous step at Deportivo where a horrible injury prevented him from shining. And that his was Zidane's great bet at the beginning of the 2019-20 campaign. The French coach prevented his exit in the summer market.

Already in the Madrid team he made his debut under the guidance of Julen Lopetegui in October 2018, in a Champions League match against Viktoria Plzen. After standing out greatly in a fateful season for white interests, the 2019-20 campaign was going to be that of his outbreak in a midfield that was most effective for white interests. After Zidane stopped his departure to another team, his emergence was key in duels such as against Sevilla at the Pizjuán (the whites won 1-0) and against Osasuna (2-0 at the Bernabéu). His performances made him win the title in the derby against Atlético de Madrid (0-0). Since then he started a career that promised to be meteoric. Alternating with players like Casemiro, Modric, Kroos and Isco, Madrid with him on the field reached 19 consecutive games without knowing defeat. What's more, he won the applause of the Madrid fans when he prevented, with a dangerous foul on Morata, that Atlético could win the first Super Cup held in Arabia with the final four format: he forced both teams to settle the title from the start penalties. He was also elected Best Player of the Final ...

However, the stoppage due to the coronavirus pandemic seems to have stopped him short. Familiarly stabilized (by then he was a father), he played in the last 11 final games of the 2019-20 campaign. He mixed ownership and substitutions in equal parts. Something that called attention to not being a player who tended to disappear in large sections of matches. There, Zidane's faith in the young Uruguayan talent began to crack.

He also played in the last Champions League match against Manchester City. The 2020-21 campaign was going to start better: he was the author of the Whites' first goal this season (he did it against Betis). However, his self-criticism was surprised by ensuring that he had not done things properly "as a Real Madrid player should do", in reference to that post-pandemic stage. He reopened the scoring at the Clásico in October, but an injury against Valencia once again took him off the pitch ... and since then his level has not been the same: since his return, Madrid have played nine games and only one has finished (precisely against Alcoyano). The negative is not that statistic: his performance has decreased: he is no longer the box-to-box midfielder as decisive as last season. Perhaps the idea of Zidane to heel him to the right has something to do with it, but a player of his age, with assimilated veteran and the experience of almost 90 games (among all competitions) with the white jersey should suffice. As Betis said on the same day: "There are many games and we are people." But Valverde, called to be one of Madrid's future leaders, seems to be stalling. It is in your hands to take off again.

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