Eduardo Camavinga's growing impact clear

Real Madrid hearts were in mouths when Eduardo Camavinga limped off against Getafe in La Liga on Saturday, ahead of the Champions League showdown with Manchester City.

The 20-year-old French midfielder has become a key figure for Carlo Ancelotti's reigning European champions and an injury would have been a big setback for the semi-final second leg at the Etihad on Wednesday.

Ancelotti soothed Madrid fears in his post game news conference, saying Camavinga twisted his knee but it would heal quickly and was not a worry.

Spanish media reports since have reflected that Camavinga will be fit, with the series on a knife edge after the first leg finished 1-1 last Tuesday.

Camavinga played a key role in Vinicius Junior's brilliant strike in that game, charging up the field from left-back to help Madrid take the lead in the first half.

The Frenchman exchanged passes with Luka Modric to break free of City's press and carried the ball down to the other end, before feeding his Brazilian teammate.

However, Camavinga was also partly to blame for City's equalizer, with his pass intercepted before Kevin De Bruynehammered home.

Playing on the left of the defense, instead of his natural center-midfield position, means Camavinga does occasionally make mistakes, but is becoming more reliable game by game -- even if he would prefer to be deployed elsewhere.

"The most important thing is to help the team, and today I did that again, but no, it still isn't my position," he said, after helping Madrid see off Chelsea in the Champions League quarterfinals.

Ancelotti lately in big games has simply tried to get his best 11 players onto the field in his line-ups, which has resulted in Toni Kroos playing in holding midfield, and Camavinga used at left-back.

That versatility has helped him become a regular for Madrid, instead of battling with Kroos and Aurelien Tchouamenifor a start in the No 6 role.

Even that is not Camavinga's best position, having operated further forward in midfield at Rennes, but Modric and Fede Valverde are holding those spots down in the key games.

Learning on the job at left-back, Camavinga had let his positioning occasionally cost him, particularly in his first matches there, but he is improving quickly and does not receive a lot of defensive help from teammate Vinicius.

Last season, Camavinga was important for Madrid as it clinched their record-extending 14th Champions League title, but mainly as a substitute in the final phases of games.

The midfielder brought energy to the team and helped them make it through extra-time periods against Chelsea and Manchester City in the semifinals.

However as Madrid hit the home straight this season, Camavinga has become far more central to the team's success -- despite playing out wide, making 54 appearances across all competitions.

Slow start. Camavinga's Madrid career moved slowly at first after arriving in the summer of 2021 in a deal worth up to 40 million euros ($44 million), despite his exciting breakthrough in professional soccer at Rennes.

In 2019, he became the Ligue 1 team's youngest ever player at 16 years, four months and 27 days old, and in 2020 he became France's youngest debutant since 1914.

In the Spanish capital, he has slowly gained importance but also been moved further back down the field. It is clear he will play a big part in Los Blancos' future, but not in which role.

As well as Tchouameni and Valverde, Madrid have also been linked with a big summer move for another midfielder in Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham.

"I'm surprised how quickly he's adapted to Madrid because it's a very big club and it's not easy," said former Madrid midfielder Claude Makelele earlier in May. "I see him as a footballer with a great future."

Man City may view Camavinga as Madrid's weak link after his first-leg mistake, but he also emerged with the most tackles made and duels won, keeping Bernardo Silva quiet.

If Pep Guardiola's side targets him, Camavinga has shown he can rise to the challenge.

rbs/jc

© Agence France-Presse

2 comments about "Eduardo Camavinga's growing impact clear".
  1. Santiago 1314, May 16, 2023 at 9:59 p.m.

    Still Too Many Mistakes to be a "Starter"... But it's VERY Close...
    By this time Next year, he could be Starting at Left Defense, or Sitting the Bench Behind; Touchemani, Valverde, Bellingham...Oh, did I forget that Kroos, and Modric coming Back... That makes him #6 in the Midfield... 
    Learn to LOVE Left Defense if you want to Start.!!!
    Or We could just bring in Davies from Bayern, He's Not "Really" a Left Def.. But he's #1 in the World at it.!!!

  2. Santiago 1314, May 16, 2023 at 10:04 p.m.

    Just like the Picture in the Article shows.... He is VERY Long Legged, and Quick, and Left Footed.
    But, once a Game He Mis-Times it and ends Up Stepping on the Opponent with his Studs... Yellow Card.
    He would be Better Served by just "Out Waiting" the Opponent...
    Not Diving In...
    Nobody is Going by Cama 1v1 if he will be Patient and let the Opponent make the 1st Move

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