Valverde, doctor in derbies

The Uruguayan made an impression in the Wanda match and garnered praise for his bravery in the Super Cup final last season.


Valverde loves derbies. The Uruguayan arrives in time for Wanda's game after having played his first minutes in more than a month on Monday. The Uruguayan played the last quarter of an hour against Real Sociedad after recovering from a muscle injury that took him away from the pitch for five weeks. A return with which to take filming for a decisive stretch of the season in which he will have to give oxygen to the indissoluble trident formed by Casemiro, Modric and Kroos in the center of the field.

Having Atlético in front brings out the best in Valverde. Fede was Zidane's big surprise in the eleven last season at Wanda. He fired four days before for Osasuna. With Modric coming out of injury, it seemed like a decision to reserve James for the derby. It turned out to be a declaration of intent. The sky-blue international passed the test against the reds with flying colors. "We must highlight Valverde, who has played a brutal game," said Zidane, of his own accord, after the game. The French coach gave a hint, but nobody got it. It was an outstanding game. "Before the derby with Atlético, I knew I was in the eleven and I was very nervous and Casemiro came and said: 'Are you nervous?' And I said: 'No, that's it.' But he saw my hand and was trembling, "he confessed weeks later in an interview on Real Madrid TV.

His figure was growing based on great performances, to the point of discussing the position of a Modric who had not finished starting, and the results accompanied Madrid to the rhythm of Valverde's presence. The derby of the Super Cup final gave him a doctorate. There were five and a half minutes to go when he made an entrance to Morata to prevent the forward from standing alone against Courtois. A foul for a contradictory red. He left his team with ten, but prevented Atlético from staying with the Super Cup on that play. The praise this time came from the rival. "It was the most important play of Valverde's game. I told him that I would have done the same in his place," said Simeone. Despite the expulsion, or perhaps also because of it, he won the MVP award of the final.

The reset after confinement was a blackout, although he started several times in that final stretch of the championship on the way to League 34. This season injuries and the great moment of form and play of Kroos and Modric are weighing him down. He has passed through the busy Madrid infirmary twice. He was out for a month in the middle of autumn due to a cleft in the tibial spine and managed to arrive in time to reappear with two minutes in the Di Stéfano derby. Then, after the Cup game (January 20), a muscle injury in the adductor had KO five weeks. He has only participated in 21 of the 34 games this season, only 12 as a starter. Total 1,170 minutes, the 13th of the team. He returned this Monday against Real with his sights set on the derby. The game where Valverde best imparts his teaching.

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