What: Lucas Vázquez’s debut
When: September 12th 2015
Who: Against Espanyol
Where: RCDE Stadium, Barcelona
Score: Espanyol 0-6 Real Madrid
Goals: 0-1 (Cristiano Ronaldo, min 6), 0-2 (Cristiano Ronaldo, pen, min 16), 0-3 (Cristiano Ronaldo, min 19), 0-4 (Karim Benzema, min 27), 0-5 (Cristiano Ronaldo, min 61), 0-6 (Cristiano Ronaldo, min 81)
Real Madrid line-up: Keylor Navas; Dani Carvajal, Pepe, Sergio Ramos (Raphaël Varane, min 74), Marcelo; Luka Modrić (Mateo Kovačić, min 55), Casemiro, Isco; Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema (Lucas Vázquez, min 62), Gareth Bale.
Coach: Rafael Benítez
There can’t be many debuts that are as comfortable as Lucas Vázquez’s Real Madrid debut. When the academy graduate made his maiden appearance for the first team at the start of the 2015/16 season, he had about as much pressure on his shoulders as a sunbather on a sandy beach in summer.
For starters, the Spaniard was coming on with his team having just gone 5-0 up one minute previously. The BBC had been on fire in this match away at Espanyol, with Cristiano Ronaldo netting four already and Karim Benzema one. Gareth Bale had provided a hat-trick of assists and Ronaldo had an assist to his name too after having squared the ball to Benzema for the Frenchman’s strike. Espanyol’s defence had been left in tatters.
The other principal reason why this was comfortable for Lucas was the fact that he was making his Real Madrid bow at the RCDE Stadium, the ground he had called home for the 2014/15 season. After moving from Galicia to Real Madrid’s academy as a teenager, Lucas had climbed up the rungs at La Fábrica and had then been loaned out to Espanyol for the 2014/15 campaign, where he’d taken his first steps in Spain’s top flight.
After being purchased and then buy-back-claused in the summer of 2015 and after turning 24 years of age, he was ready to fight for game time at the biggest club in the world and was handed his first opportunity in matchday three of the 2015/16 campaign by Rafael Benítez.
Following Los Blancos’ fifth goal of the afternoon, Benzema made way for Lucas, who even came on to a round of applause from the Espanyol fans who’d been cheering his name one season previously. Suddenly, the BBC because the LBC and Lucas initially took up a position on the right wing – although this was one of those days where the Real Madrid front three was as interchangeable as a trio of Scalextric cars.
Espanyol had a period of possession just after Lucas came on and Real Madrid, content with their huge lead, showed some mercy by allowing the Catalan side to keep the ball. As such, Lucas’ first moments as a Real Madrid first-team player were spent defending, helping Dani Carvajal manage the right flank. With fresh legs, Lucas did a good job and Espanyol only created one good chance – a really good chance that Salva Sevilla inexplicably missed from just a couple of yards out.
As Real Madrid turned the screw some more in the final stages, Lucas was able to show what he could contribute in attack as well. After a couple of really nice layoffs into the box, the big moment of his debut arrived in the 81st minute, just 20 after coming on, as he juked past Joan Jordán inside the area and squared the ball to Ronaldo for the Portuguese’s fifth of the afternoon.
Bursting with confidence, Lucas even came close to scoring a goal of his own with just a few minutes left as he surged into the box and forced Pau López into a decent save with a low shot. There was to be no first Real Madrid goal for Lucas in this one, as that wouldn’t come until December, but he’d made an impact after coming on for what was, admittedly, one of the snuggest debuts possible.
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