Eduardo Camavinga, 19, sometimes seems unnaturally good. He has a few deficiencies in his game, but he’s just getting started, and what he brings to the table now already trumps whatever he needs to work on.
In the most significant competitions, Camavinga has been a true baller. The Frenchman is a dream midfielder for any coach. He has the inherent tendency to move the ball forward as quickly as possible, he is fast and strong while moving with the ball, and his defensive work rate is second nature to him.
Sure, there is perhaps some work to be done in all areas of his game. But he will reach the level of a scary good player (from the level of a good player which he is now) as he keeps unlocking new phases of his game. There is plenty of time to improve.
Real Madrid is a team always interested in spraying the ball to either flank and then bringing it closer to the goal, near the box. Camavinga’s progressive passing already fits the bill. His progressive passes mostly end near the two half-spaces, beyond the final third line. He’s showing signs of of an elite ball-progressor who is catered to play for Real Madrid.
His expected threat (xT) map is dispersed nicely across the pitch. While the high volume of the most potent passes end near each flank, there is a significant distribution of these passes through the middle as well.
Real Madrid already have elite ball progressors on their wings in Vinicius Jr and Fede Valverde. Adding a layer of that elite progression through the middle of the pitch, with a player as talented as Camavinga, is nothing less than a blessing (or an absolute bargain for 25 million euros). Many of these progressive carries stem from Camavinga himself winning the ball in his own half. Then he goes on and blitzes opponent lines within a blink.
Camavinga is not shy of taking an opponent on, even in dangerous areas, and sometimes even in tightest of spaces. The risk is high considering many of his take-ons are inside his defensive half which could lead to chances for the opponents. However, like the risk, Camavinga’s efficiency is also high in these moments.
Camavinga was already stereotyped as a defensive midfielder way before he joined Real Madrid. He has even been deployed as the lone pivot at times by Carlo Ancelotti. In reality, his talents reside further up the pitch.
This, however, should not distract us from the fact that he still has significant defensive value. Because of his pace, he is always an asset while defending transitions. He has also done a reasonably good job at shielding his team’s zone 14. His tacking is a trait that can be his strength and weakness at the same time. But with age, he can only get better at this.
Camavinga is at the table of meteoric young midfielders such as Pedri of Barcelona, Jude Bellingham of Borussia Dortmund, etc, if not at a table of his own. Due to the vividly contrasting financial reality, culture, and comfort of Real Madrid (compared to the rival clubs mentioned above), Real Madrid can still afford to make Camavinga’s transition into regular first-team football a process that is not rushed (by the club’s own standards). That does not mean, nor does it have to mean that Camavinga should not be discussed with the similar kind of well-deserved hype that his counterparts get.
Camavinga is already very good and he is only getting started.