Real Madrid midfielder Marcos Llorente has been a pleasant surprise for Los Blancos ever since coach Santiago Solari took over and starting defensive midfielder Casemiro got injured. Llorente was doing a solid work, but the two performances he completed for Madrid in the recent FIFA Club World Cup have shown that he can compete with Casemiro for the starting job, not only replace him.
Llorente has been playing with confidence lately and he is distributing the ball very effectively. Real Madrid tend to need that kind of midfielder more often than now, given that they are expected to dominate every single game. That’s precisely one of Casemiro’s weaknesses, and if Llorente can establish himself as a solid distributor, Kroos and Modric will benefit from it and quite possibly the Spanish midfielder might end up starting more games even when Casemiro is fully healthy.
Neither Zidane nor Julen Lopetegui gave Llorente the minutes he probably deserved. He’s a true workaholic and it’s now obvious that he at least has the potential to at least replace Casemiro when he’s tired. Still, the Spanish midfielder found himself out of so many squad lists and someone has to wonder if there was something going on behind the scenes.
Solari took over with a clean slate and Llorente has delivered. Now, the Argentinian coach will have some tough decisions to make. Casemiro will be ready to start very soon and Llorente just doesn’t deserve to stay on the bench on a consistent basis.