It’s official, Lucas Vazquez will now stay at the club until the 30th June 2021. Very few players have been fortunate enough to come back to Real Madrid’s boardroom & leave with a beaming smile. It’s even harder when you’re not a Galactico. He always had that spark in him, but when it’s Real Madrid, just a spark isn’t enough. When he was bought back from the Catalan side Espanyol, expectations weren’t sky-high. He was signed to add depth to the squad, to strengthen the bench. Now 17 months later, he’s a firm favourite amongst the Bernabeu faithful.
Did Madrid bring Vazquez back to help out with the homegrown ruling that UEFA implement in the Champions League?A question looming on everyone’s mind when Madrid made a “shock” move to bring Lucas back. According to UEFA, a team must have at least eight players in their 25-man squad who have been at the club for three years between the ages of 15-21. Madrid were safe with 10 players but with Casillas’s imminent departure & uncertainty regarding Arbeloa’s future, maybe they weren’t taking any chances. Having arrived at Real Madrid’s youth academy from his native Galicia aged 16, Vazquez progressed through the C and then B team until being loaned to Espanyol where he made his top flight debut. Madrid were getting a piece of “Madridismo” back.
The Lucas Factor
Rafa Benitez had a very short stint at Madrid. But his transfers have been spot on. Lucas’s homecoming was one of them. He fitted in like a jigsaw piece right from the start. His debut came in a 6-0 away win over his former team Espanyol, and his start came a week later, in a shock defeat against Granada at home. He started out as a substitute to Gareth Bale or Karim Benzema. Brought on mostly after the 60th minute, he made every minute count. His outstanding work rate and willingness to take on defenders got everybody’s attention & Zinedine Zidane was no exception. After Benitez’s departure, things changed for the better for Lucas as he moved higher up the pecking order. He played in 7 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE games that season & converted that crucial penalty against Atletico Madrid in the finals which delivered “La Undecima”. This season, Lucas started the UEFA SUPERCUP as Real faced Sevilla. Lucas’s crucial assist to Sergio Ramos in injury time took the game to extra time where Real won 3-2.
Lucas doesn’t have the star quality of Cristiano Ronaldo or Gareth Bale, what he has is his will to perform. Giving his all every single match , someone who plays for the crest, something Madridistas appreciate greatly. In their second season under Carlo Ancelotti, Real Played a tweaked 4-4-3 which turned into a 4-4-2 with Bale dropping back to perform his defensive duties. The problem with that was Bale’s Galactico status. When he was performing his defensive duties, people wanted to see more of him in front of goal. When he got forward, he was leaving spaces behind for the opposition to exploit. Lucas, however, performs this duty brilliantly. He doesn’t have that pressure to sacrifice his defensive duties and takes full advantage of it. He’s comfortable on the ball, is a good dribbler, has a superb work rate, and very composed on the ball.Even though Gareth Bale will inevitably start for Real when he’s fit, Lucas is definitely making that decision a lot harder than it used to be.
One Of Their Own
Lucas Vazquez, a name that may not be too familiar with fans outside Spain. But things changed pretty quickly for the Galician. From getting irregular time on the pitch to starting in the biggest game of all, El Clasico, he is quickly becoming one of the vital cogs in Zizou’s well-oiled machine. With Bale out injured for at least a couple of months, Lucas will get his fair share of chances, and he must capitalise. With all the qualities he has, he still needs to work on a few things. As a winger, he should pose more of an attacking threat than he does. Also, a player of his technical ability should contribute to the build up play even more.Be more inventive when the flanks are heavily guarded. At 25, he has his work cut out for him. A club of Real’s stature demands regular improvement, & when you’re keeping one of the Galacticos on the bench, that improvement must be visible. And if the last few months were any indication, he’s heading in the right direction. One thing is for certain, Madridistas would love nothing more than seeing one of their own making it big at the Bernabeu.