clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Four talking points after Real Madrid’s first two LaLiga games

Carvajal’s form, Fran’s integration, Rodrygo’s role and Jude Mania

UD Almeria v Real Madrid CF - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Real Madrid started the season the devastating loss of two of their defensive pillars in Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militao, practically for the entire season, due to ACL injuries. But the team has reacted well and racked up all six points from the first two games. The aftermath of the opening couple of rounds hase also left us with plenty of talking points already.

Dani Carvajal

The right-back position has been a major concern for Real Madrid over the past few seasons, both defensively and in attack. However, Dani Carvajal, with the Captain’s armband has shown sign of optimism at the beginning of this campaign. With the second-most progressive passes received in the league and only Fede Valverde and Vinicius providing more shot creating actions from live passes than him, Carvajal has been a key creative outlet. He helped Madrid open their scoring in both games so far.

With the second-most touches in the attacking third and leading the team in crosses delivered, Carvajal has been offensively important again. Defensively, he leads Real in combined tackles and interceptions. The fitness has always been a question mark with Carvajal and unfortunately it remains so in the present day as well. However, a Carvajal remontada might well be on the horizon if his health is managed better this season.

Fran Garcia

With Ferland Mendy injured, life as Real Madrid’s undisputed left back has been busy for Fran Garcia in the early stages of this LaLiga season. After a tricky debut against Athletic Club, Garcia has recovered well in the absence of Mendy. The young fullback’s driving runs down the left flank will be important for Los Blancos this season as Vinicius Junior adapts to a more central role in attack.

Though initially shaky, Garcia has shown resilience after being trusted with a starting role at his childhood club. He has been fairly involved. Only two outfield players in the team have accumulated more progressive distance with their passes than Fran Garcia in the first couple of games. His ability to drive forward and provide width on the left will help unlock space for Vinicius and others to operate in the final third. For instance his clever movement created a chance for Real Madrid on this occasion almost out of nothing:


Operating as Real Madrid’s de facto center forward, Rodrygo has been highly involved in the attack despite needing to produce more shots. He is almost on par with Vinicius Junior in expected goals (xG), progressive carries, and leads the team in passes into the penalty area. Rodrygo has attacked the box well in general and could have added a few more goals than one in the opening two fixtures. But simply being dangerous is not enough for Real Madrid since they are missing a proper number 9 this season. Some of the chances that fell to him were from a very difficult angle but Rodrygo has to start converting a few of these at one stage.


Not only has Jude ‘Pichichi’ Bellingham produced storms on the pitch, but he is also drawing huge media attention and appreciation to Real Madrid. The club rarely invests in PR, believing their name carries enough weight. However, this has seen many players fail to receive the plaudits they deserve outside of Madrid. Bellingham could change that. His leadership was on show against Almeria as he calmed Vinicius Junior after a foul - seemingly trivial but it earned headlines in English outlets like ESPN.

Beyond his stellar performances, Bellingham’s presence and conduct are enhancing Real’s perception and coverage. For a club that avoids PR and personalities, Bellingham naturally and positively propels Los Blancos into the media spotlight. This could help finally give some of their world-class yet under-appreciated players the recognition their talents warrant.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Managing Madrid Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Real Madrid news from Managing Madrid