The wisest of investments

The wisest of investments

Frenchman Eduardo Camavinga could fill the Casemiro role at Real Madrid for the next decade

Rob Palmer, Commentator, ESPN

Friday, 28 April 2023, 18:37


As speculation swirls around the next club of wonderkid Jude Bellingham, Real Madrid may already have a player who tops his abilities.

Eduardo Camavinga is just a year older than Bellingham but already has an enviable collection of medals for club and country. The 20-year-old Frenchman had been a bit-part player for Real and France until the past few months, when he’s come of age early.

When he was only seventeen, he was sent on as a replacement for Paul Pogba in the national team. Now he looks to have taken Pogba’s place for France and his future looks to be sparkling.

His back story is remarkable. He was born in an Angolan refugee camp and moved to France when he was aged two. As a teenager his family house burnt down. He’s fought the odds.

He’s found the perfect mentor in coach Carlo Ancelotti. He burst onto the scene with a goal on his debut, yet as a teenager he had a tempestuous streak and would often get an early booking as he lost his discipline. Ancelotti would just hook him out of the action, sometimes during the halftime break. He was shown a yellow card on nine occasions last season which reduced his game time.

This campaign he’s missed just one match and he’s been cautioned just four times.

Although he’s a creative and combative midfield player, the Real Madrid coach asked him to cover the problematic left back spot. This could have been an issue when he had a wild streak.

Left back isn’t a very sexy position, but maybe the coach reminded him that Roberto Carlos and Marcelino reinvented the role in the all-white strip. His play has been a model of discipline and determination.

Now he’s ahead of his fellow countryman Aurélien Tchouaméni in the pecking order and has graduated from back-up player to first team regular. On current form he’s likely to be in the best eleven whereas last season he was used mainly as a replacement.

He’s already won a Champions League winners’ medal and World Cup final loser medal; both as a substitute. If Real Madrid make it to the final he’ll be the favourite to be the middle man to the legendary veterans Toni Kroos and Luka Modrić.

Real Madrid may win the race for Bellingham’s €100m signature but the €30m spent on Camavinga looks be the wisest of investments.

As a footballer he packs the lot. He’s strong, athletic, expressive, confident, and now he’s learnt to tackle without upsetting the referee. He can fill the Casemiro role at Real Madrid for the next decade and he’s already superseding Pogba and N’Golo Kanté for France.

The trio of Casemiro, Kroos and Modrić looked irreplaceable. With Camavinga, Tchouaméni and Fede Valverde, Real Madrid may already have the next generation. Bellingham would be an outstanding addition but not a necessity. The selling point may be the opportunity for the young England star to play alongside Real’s existing world-class talent.

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