European Champions Real Madrid find themselves stuck in rut as the undesirable results keep pouring in.
Los Blancos are going against their norm and signing a player in the January transfer window with Manchester City wonder-kid Brahim Diaz brought in.
The 19-year-old dubbed the ‘Spanish Messi’ has joined the Madrid giants on a six-year deal and the Premier League champions will be receiving €17 million for his sale.
What’s the buzz about? We take a look at the scouting report of the youngster.
Name: Brahim Diaz
Height: 170 cm
Best positions: Central attacking midfield, right-wing, left-wing
Preferred foot: Right with a strong weak foot.
The Malaga-born midfielder has been hitting the newspapers for all the right reasons in recent times. He first burst onto the scene at the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 where he was one of the best players alongside fellow countryman Abel Ruiz and fellow Manchester City academy graduate Phil Foden.
After spending three years with Malaga from 11-14 years of age, Diaz made a switch to the blue side of Manchester. Opportunities at a talent-rich City were limited.
In a world where superstars are starting their career at the age of 18-19, Diaz could not afford to spend more time on the bench and it’s a oddity that he will likely see more game time with Madrid than he will have done at City.
Dribbling: It’s his exquisite dribbling which earned Diaz the nickname of ‘Spanish Messi’. Whether it’s dropping his shoulders, a close control of the ball or swivelling of the hips to hoodwink opponents – the Spaniard has got it all.
The midfielder’s ability to skip past defenders using the simplest of movements but at great perfection makes him a threat in a limited or an open space. He might not be the fastest of players, but his dribbling ability more than makes up for it.
Link-up play: A desired trait in any team that plays in La Liga, Diaz boasts of impressive linking up abilities. He had formed a lethal partnership with Foden at City’s youth groups and Ruiz in the Spain squad.
His versatility allows him to play on either wings and in the centre of midfield in an advanced position. This and the ability to play one-twos with any player and be comfortable at that makes the teenager a desirable player in any team which employs a possession-based approach where tons of passes are made in the final third before striking.
Physicality: Some of the greatest players of the modern era stand below 5’8” and Diaz boasts of similar technical abilities which should not make lack of physicality an issue for him.
But Diaz is prone to going down on the simplest of tackles and his apparent fragile frame has been subject to quite a few unfriendly tackles in the past. At this point, the lack of physicality does become a major concern, something the 19-year-old should probably work on.
Decision making: He often fails to find his team-mates on the safe wavelength as him and ends up overestimating his and his teammates’ abilities.
Sometimes it’s about overdoing a dribble and sometimes it’s overhitting a pass by overestimating his teammates pace – the crux stays that his decision making needs to be polished.
DIAZ AT MADRID
It will be interesting to see what role coach Santiago Solari has in mind for the youngster. It is unclear whether he will be plugged into the beaten down starting line-up right away or given time to settle in.
But it’s not particularly hard to decipher what he will be adding to the team. With Isco’s minutes being cut off and Marco Asensio looking out of sorts, Madrid never had the kind of dribbler who can turn things around with just one moment of individual magic.
With Luka Modric failing to provide much creativity in recent times, Diaz can be a great addition who can provide those incisive passes to a lurking Karim Benzema.
This is undoubtedly a brilliant transfer for Madrid and at a fair price too. But the fact that they are turning to an 18-year-old Vinicius Junior and a 19-year-old Diaz to save their season is something they should feel ashamed about, upon reflection.
The senior players must step up their game and provide a positive atmosphere to help these players develop. This also all but confirms that Isco will be on his way out in the summer transfer window.
Real Madrid were handed yet another significant blow in the title race as they lost 2-0 to a struggling Real Sociedad at the Bernabeu.
Goals from Willian Jose and Ruben Pardo on either side of the break mean the European Champions have now dropped five points out of six in 2019, not the start to the year they were hoping for.
Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric is aware the players are not performing to their best, however, he insists that bad luck is secondary cause their ‘crisis’.
“Many of us are not at our level,” Modric said after the match.
“We have to be clear, it’s not a matter of luck.
“We are creating a lot but the ball won’t go in and we are giving a lot but there are reasons that explain why things are not going well.”
The 19-year-old Diaz, who earned a Premier League winners’ medal last season after making five league appearances for City, has signed a deal until 2025.
Madrid are reportedly paying a transfer fee in the region of £15-16million, while reports on Saturday suggested that City have included a 15 per cent sell-on clause in the transfer – a clause that would rise to 40 per cent if Madrid sold the player to Manchester United.
Diaz’s contract at City was set to expire at the end of the season.
The youngster, who was born in Malaga, will be presented at the Santiago Bernabeu on Monday, after completing a medical.