The third place in Real Madrid’s 4-3-3 has been a subject of almost constant debate throughout the season.
At the beginning of the year it look as if Carlo Ancelotti would be making an effort to revive the careers of Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard, but both have been hampered by injuries throughout the campaign. In Hazard’s case, poor performances too.
That led to Marco Asensio being given a consistent run of starts on the right side of Real Madrid’s attack, but recent months have seen an increased appetite for young Brazilian Rodrygo Goes to see more game time.
He has earned the super in the popular substitute moniker, with meaningful impact off the bench against Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and most recently Sevilla. Yet it does beg the question about whether he should be starting.
According to the numbers, Rodrygo is better from the bench in Carlo Ancelotti’s own words, as reported by Diario AS. “But well, he can make the difference being a starter or coming off the bench,” was the non-committal answer from the Italian manager.
Some will say that Rodrygo’s pace is much more decisive against tired defences, while his defenders will argue he needs a run of games to produce regularly from the start.
One way or another, he will have his work cut out to hold a place in the starting line-up with the option of Fede Valverde as a fourth midfielder looked upon favourably and the possible arrival of Kylian Mbappe in the summer.