Lorena Navarro has not played much this season, racking up a rather sparse 496 minutes in the league — most of which have come from substitute appearances. Against Santa Teresa CD — a side that has now been relegated — Lorena got a rare start and ended up playing the full ninety minutes.
However, it is her performance in the first half that is of particular interest, as the second period was a much less serious affair due to Real Madrid Femenino’s 4-0 lead at half-time.
Standing at 4’11” (1.51 m), Lorena does possess significant physical deficits that probably presented a big barrier to her making it as a professional footballer. She has overcome that with impressive technical ability in addition to genuinely elite off-ball movement.
I was honestly taken aback by how quick her processing speeds were yesterday. A few quick scans over her shoulder and she instantly moved in sync to the tune of her teammates, filling in gaps to keep the offensive structure stable and creating space for others with her central occupation and presence between the lines.
Her diverse, reactive movement and skilled, quick-fire link-up make up the exact type of profile that scales to better and better teams. She can adapt to all the stars around her (with all their particular preferences and tendencies) while having a tactical effect that allows the flashy players like Olga Carmona and Marta Cardona to get lots of 1v1’s.
Lorena’s cunning movement also extends into the box, where she has quite the killer instinct on limited playing time. She scored the second vs. Santa Teresa on Sunday, giving her 7 goals on the season. That amounts to 1.27 goals per 90 minutes — a sample-size inflated total no doubt, but an impressive one nonetheless.
Funnily enough, one of those seven strikes came against Santa Teresa earlier in the season, when she used her positioning and guile to put away a free header to win the game at the death.
Yes, that’s a 4’11” (1.51 m) player scoring a header.
Lorena may not be and may never be the face of this team, but she’s the exact archetype every big side needs and there is even an argument that she should’ve got more playing time this season. Regardless, you should know her name and keep tabs on how the 20-year-old’s career develops.
In sum, Lorena Navarro’s skillset, unselfishness, and footballing IQ — all of which allow her to play in any attacking position — make her a perfect Real Madrid player and the club would be well-advised to keep her in the ranks moving forward.