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Daniel Carvajal is Real Madrid's Most Improved Player

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The youngster started the season shy and inexperienced and completely dominated Franck Ribéry six months later.

Martin Rose

Last summer, everybody knew Real Madrid were going to bring Dani Carvajal back from his Bayer Leverkusen loan. The young right back had a lot of success in Germany and he seemed to be ready to take the next step and play for the club of his life. However, he didn't start the season well. His offensive presence was always noted, but on defense the team was missing Arbeloa's skills and experience.

Seven or six months later and after Arbeloa fell injured, Carvajal has completely dominated Franck Ribéry, who was chosen the world's third greatest player last January. One could expect that kind of performance from Fàbio Coentrao, who has a great defensive player many other times, but Carvajal's display was totally unexpected. Ribéry had 180 minutes to burn Carvajal through one-and-one situations but the Spanish player finally lived up to his potential and showed that he will be on Real's right back for a long, long time.

Ancelotti has worked with this player. His progress and evolution as a defender doesn't come naturally. Ancelotti knew he needed to play with Carvajal this kind of game as soon as Arbeloa was injured. And he made Carvajal believe he's one of the greatest out there. And he might be.