Last week, on the 16th of July, Real Madrid beat Villarreal 2-1 in the league, etching their name on this season’s La Liga trophy.
Barcelona, who endured a shameful 2-1 defeat to Osasuna on the same night, finished five points behind the champions, in the end, squandering nine whopping points since the restart.
Zinedine Zidane’s men weren’t always the better team on the pitch, but they always managed to be the most consistent. Los Blancos came mighty close to defeats and stalemates, but their indomitable spirit kept the bad omens at bay, time and again.
However, the famed journalists and exuberant fans didn’t take everyone into account — especially an explosive full-back who enjoyed an excellent campaign.
Why Dani Carvajal deserves more credit
Last season, Dani Carvajal, endured one the most difficult seasons of his Real Madrid career.
The whole team, of course, were all over the place, but Dani Carvajal also had to tussle with a couple of serious injuries. First, a calf injury kept the right-back sidelined for over a month — a period that saw Real Madrid succumb to a 5-1 defeat against Barcelona.
Then came another severe muscle injury in March 2019, which pushed him out of the team for one more month. He made a total of 24 appearances last season, racking up a goal and three assists, but the performances were well below his usual standards.
Fickle as they are, Madridistas didn’t spare a minute to think about the performances Dani Carvajal had produced since the very beginning and started asking the club to bring back budding prospect, Achraf Hakimi.
The Morrocan, who was plying his trade at Borussia Dortmund, was in impressive form at the time and looked like a lucrative prospect.
Zidane, however, chose to extend Hakimi’s stay at Dortmund and gave Carvajal the chance to turn doubters into believers.
The Spanish full-back missed the first match due to suspension but started his journey to the top from the second matchday itself. On the gameweek 03, he racked up his first assist of the season, helping Real Madrid bring home a point from a tricky trick to Villarreal.
On matchday 04 and 05, he added two more assists to his tally — both games were won by the narrowest of margins.
The explosive full-back scored his first and only goal of the season in the 69th minute in a 2-1 home win over Alaves. The defender poked the ball home from close range to give Los Blancos a hard-earned win on matchday 15.
He once again stepped up to the plate in the decisive 2-0 win over Barcelona — the crucial tie that allowed Real Madrid to go to the top of La Liga.
Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Toni Kroos, Thibaut Courtois, Karim Benzema, Ferland Mendy — all have put in a shift to lead Real Madrid to their 34th La Liga title.
However, overlooking Dani Carvajal’s contributions for the sake of glorifying others is hardly the way to go. The Spain international, who laid the foundation stone of the new Valdebebas training facility in 2004, has been nothing but a loyal servant of the Royal Whites.
He’s battled injuries, criticism, and competition to cement his place in the team — the team he’s willing to bleed and die for. In the 2019-20 La Liga campaign, the 28-year-old practically played without backup.
And whenever he missed a game, Real Madrid looked vulnerable on the right. Yes, he doesn’t have dazzling footwork like Marcelo or blistering pace like Mendy, but at his 100%, Dani Carvajal, too, is a force to be reckoned with.
No transfer rumours, no contract tantrums, no re-negotiation: Dani Carvajal has always managed to put his team first, always managed to leave everything out on the pitch, no questions asked. In this world of million temptations, he’s one of the very few players to guarantee complete peace of mind.
A coach’s dream and an ideal role model to look up to — Dani Carvajal is one of the irreplicable players of this team of superstars, and Real Madrid fans would be wise to give him the attention and respect he thoroughly deserves.
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