Real Madrid defenders Alvaro Odriozola and Sergio Reguilon completed notable performances on Saturday’s 2-0 win against Valladolid. Both men are expected to be reserves this season as both Carvajal and Marcelo are undisputed starters, but former coach Julen Lopetegui couldn’t find many minutes for them even when the two regulars were injured.
Odriozola’s case in particular was extremely surprising. Lopetegui was pleased with his performances for Real Sociedad last season and included the defender in Spain’s list for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. When Real Madrid decided to spend €40 million to sign him and then they appointed Lopetegui as Zidane’s replacement, it seemed to be the perfect situation for Odriozola to shine. However, he found himself away from the final squad list too many times and while he’s still very young that was quite unusual for a player who just joined the squad for €40 million. It’s clear that he still needs to make some improvements on the defensive end, but his offensive contribution is great and his willingness to attack and contribute is something worth noting for a player of his age.
On the other hand, Reguilon was trusted to be Marcelo’s backup this season after the club decided to send Theo Hernandez to Real Sociedad on a loan deal. Reguilon completed a fine pre-season and Lopetegui kept him around hoping that Marcelo wouldn’t need to miss many games. That has not been the case so far, though. Still, Lopetegui decided to play Nacho on the left side of the defensive line instead of giving Reguilon the chance to play.
Both men completed a quality performance during Valladolid’s visit. Odriozola dribbles like a winger and found a way to contribute through the right wing. Reguilon proved to be a very reliable crosser and that’s a skill which might be very useful when Mariano comes back from his injury.
As things stand right now, it seems that Lopetegui should’ve given these two young defenders more minutes, even though that they were not the team’s only issues during his brief tenure as the coach of Real Madrid.