Although he was not a starter in either leg, Real Madrid youngster Eduardo Camavinga made a profound impact on the tie for Los Blancos. Many football fans may already be familiar with Camavinga after his meteoric rise at Rennes and all the big transfer links to the likes of PSG and Manchester United before ultimately joining his dream club Madrid – when he could have made more money elsewhere.
So really, the stage was set for Camavinga to be a Madrid star before he signed in the summer 2021 transfer window. Here was a young man who outplayed PSG’s midfield in the 2018/19 season as a 16-year-old, took less money to fulfill his dream of being a star at the Bernabeu, and then followed up on that by scoring on his Bernabeu debut to change the game vs. Celta Vigo. That’s not to mention his game-winning assist against Inter Milan in the Champions League at San Siro.
Lately, Camavinga has reached another level. He scored an absolute worldie to wake Real Madrid from an early slumber against Real Sociedad. And in the Champions League, he has been a game-changing sub, just as he was early in the season in LaLiga, by outplaying midfielders on two of the biggest clubs in the world, PSG and Chelsea.
Real Madrid may not have made it out of the Round of 16 against PSG without Camavinga’s energy and defensive work in the second leg.
Real Madrid would have lost to Chelsea without Eduardo Camavinga
They certainly would not have survived against Chelsea without Camavinga’s outstanding composure, infectious energy, and nonstop defensive effort in a difficult second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Madridistas had been clamoring for club icon Toni Kroos to exit the pitch after a rough display. They have the utmost respect for Kroos, but they knew that this game, with its focus on defense and its need for someone who can provide more intensity, required Camavinga.
At 19 years old, Camavinga entered the pitch in the second half with Real Madrid at serious risk of suffering a humiliating collapse at the Bernabeu, victims of a Remontada themselves. He did so without a shred of nerves. There were no sloppy touches. No rookie mistakes. No need for any sort of adjustment to the pace and the demands of such a momentous, such a difficult game against a highly-skilled and well-coached Chelsea. You know, the former Champions League winners who had knocked out Los Blancos one year earlier.
Camavinga played with the spirit, the composure, of the Madrid midfield greats of the past and presence. Real Madrid’s ball progression was better, they were more secure, with Camavinga bossing the midfield. He took on some of the “Casemiro” role, but also did so much more at a time when Real needed EVERYTHING from a teenager, a first-year Madridista. Camavinga somehow delivered more than the everything that was necessary to secure advancement.
If you did not know of Camavinga’s talents, his IQ, and his unyielding heart, then, surely, you have been struck by this wonderfully gifted young man now. He is not just the future of the Bernabeu. He is the present. Camavinga can already outplay anyone on any stage.