BARCELONA (AFP) – Real Madrid were frustrated to miss out on signing Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) star Kylian Mbappe in the summer but it may have proved a blessing in disguise.
The Spanish and European champions have utilised Federico Valverde in a right wing role for much of the season and the Uruguayan midfielder has gone from strength to strength.
“Fede Valverde, top three in the world right now,” wrote Los Blancos midfielder Toni Kroos on Twitter on Sunday, after Madrid swept Barcelona aside in the Clasico.
Valverde scored the hosts’ second goal at the Santiago Bernabeu and followed it up with an even better strike against Elche in midweek to ensure Madrid stayed top of La Liga, ahead of tonight’s clash with Sevilla.
The 24-year-old is having a stunning impact this season, combining power, energy and a hammer blow of a shot, which is keeping Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti in a job.
“He has a rock in his foot,” said Ancelotti, after Valverde’s powerful strike broke the deadlock against RB Leipzig in a narrow Champions League win in September. The coach praised Valverde again on Wednesday.
“He’s a player that’s surprised me a bit, at the moment he is doing everything well, attacking, defending, shooting,” said Ancelotti. “If you think about a modern midfielder, you think of Valverde.”