Real Madrid: Predicting the rotation of wide forwards in 2020-2021
Real Madrid LW Eden Hazard
Eden Hazard of Real Madrid (Photo by Alejandro/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
Real Madrid will have to make some decisions at winger in 2020.
Los Blancos have two of the best young prospects in football, and both Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo Goes could take another huge step in 2020-2021. However, Real Madrid can’t put too much on either man’s plate, as it would be unfair to expect Vini and Rodrygo to be full-time starters.
And they won’t have to be, with a healthy Eden Hazard and other options on the right side. Achraf Hakimi, Marco Asensio, and Isco, for example, can all start on the right. Lucas Vazquez probably isn’t going anywhere, and Gareth Bale, if we’re being honest, likely isn’t either.
Let’s predict how the left and right wing positions could look in order of the available options.
Real Madrid LW1 Eden Hazard
There is no doubt that Eden Hazard will be Real Madrid’s starting left winger in the 2020-2021 season. Los Blancos signed him in the summer 2019 transfer window from Chelsea for 100 million euros with the intent of making him their superstar player.
When he was healthy, Hazard was indeed a class above the competition, with perhaps no performance showcasing his talent better than the one against Real Sociedad in the Fall.
Hazard has the left wing locked down, and while he has an excellent backup in Vinicius Junior, he is the undoubted starter. This player is capable of taking Real Madrid to great heights in the 2020-2021 season if he’s fully healthy.
Real Madrid, Marco Asensio
Real Madrid RW1 Marco Asensio
To be honest with you, I don’t feel comfortable calling a starting right winger for the 2020-2021 season. But if I had to go with a safe pick whom Zinedine Zidane is likely high on, then I would tab a healthy Marco Asensio as the option.
Asensio could be a great inverted right winger with his trusty left boot, as he can cause defenses all sorts of problems with his shooting range. He can help Real Madrid boost their goal-scoring and would be a completely different player from Karim Benzema and Eden Hazard up front.
Hazard and Benz can do their combinations on the left, freeing up space for Asensio to take shots on the right side. His teammates in the front three can help make up for concerns about fit based on on-the-ball skill and pace.
Real Madrid LW2 Vinicius Junior
Vinicius Junior was one of La Liga’s leaders in ball progression on the ball last season and averaged nearly two dribbles completed per game, according to WhoScored.com. The Real Madrid forward was an excellent replacement for Eden Hazard after both injuries, doing his best work later in the season.
A player who feeds off positive energy from his teammates and the crowd, Vinicius is one of the most unselfish wingers you’ll find in European football. The 19-year-old Brazil international tirelessly works on both ends of the pitch, takes on defenders, and looks to set up others for goals. Look no further than what he did off the bench in February against Atletico Madrid.
He won’t be a full-time starter, but he should still play frequently.
Real Madrid loanee Achraf Hakimi
Real Madrid RW2 Achraf Hakimi
It’s a bit of a bold call to say that Achraf Hakimi will be an important rotation option for Zinedine Zidane on the right wing, but it’s not as bold as saying he’ll be the regular starter. But the thing is, that could actually happen.
Hakimi has played on the right wing for Borussia Dortmund a couple of times in 2019-2020, providing two assists in those four games. He’s a more productive scorer on the left, but with Hazard sewing that spot up, the right side would be more likely for Hakimi.
Marco Asensio should be the preferred option as a left-footed player, but Hakimi’s individual quality could make him the backup over Bale. He has a good enough weak foot and has the shooting accuracy to still score with his right from the RW position.
Real Madrid LW3 Isco
Whereas Marco Asensio would be the inverted right winger, Isco could be an inverted left winger for Real Madrid. He played that position to devastating effect in a couple of big games this past season, including against PSG in the Champions League.
Isco is devastating when he cuts inside and unleashes curlers into the top right corner. That is vintage Isco, and he was unlucky not to score at least one such goal in the second Clasico of the 2019-2020 campaign.
The Spanish international does a great job of running between the lines, and his quickness and agility make up for his lack of pace. Isco can play as a left winger against certain opponents if Hazard is unavailable.
Real Madrid, Lucas Vazquez
Lucas Vazquez of Real Madrid (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
Real Madrid RW3 Lucas Vazquez
Lucas Vazquez is easy to criticize, but the Spanish international is a hard-working player who has earned Zinedine Zidane’s trust. His defensive work and runs off the ball in the attacking third help everyone around him, as he often frees up space for valuable shots outside the box by the midfielders and clears up room for Karim Benzema.
Although Vazquez isn’t the most athletic player and lacks skill on the ball, he is a versatile right winger who can whip in some dangerous crosses on his day. All it takes is one play, and Vazquez can set up a goal for Benzema. His familiarity with the team and passion can help Madrid, and he’s still a useful backup to have around. Vazquez is more valuable to Los Blancos than whatever cash his sale would generate.
Real Madrid RW Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale could be sold in the summer 2020 transfer window, but it’s more likely he stays with Real Madrid and still plays as part of a rotation. A healthy Bale can still help the team, as he showed early in the 2019-2020 season before the injuries really set in.
The writing may be on the wall for Bale at the Santiago Bernabeu. but the club legend may still have something yet to give if he stays for 2020-2021. We shall see.
Real Madrid LW/RW Rodrygo Goes
Rodrygo Goes was Real’s leading right winger in 2019-2020 and a standout in the Champions League, but the technically-prolific new signing from Santos went back to Castilla during the middle of the season.