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Right-back dilemma for Zidane

SPORTYOU SPORTYOU 29/03/2016 sportyou
Right-back dilemma for Zidane © Getty Images Right-back dilemma for Zidane

The Clásico is almost here and  neither Luis Enrique nor Zinedine Zidane has taken the final decisions as to which eleven players they will line up to start the game at the Camp Nou. At Real Madrid, one of the main doubts concerns the right-back position. Should it be Danilo or Carvajal? That is the question.

In the 'Benítez era', Danilo was the most-used player in that position. The Brazilian's performances, however, did not quite convince everybody at the Santiago Bernabéu. The €30-million-plus price-tag he came with seemed to be weighing Danilo down, whereas at Porto he had given signs of being a first-rate full-back. In fact, some of his team-mates said at the time that they had noticed a certain tension in him during training sessions.

In Zidane's first game in charge, he put Carvajal in the position and he played well in a 'new' Real Madrid that gave full-backs an important role. The academy graduate also played the full 90 minutes the following week and against Betis he came off the bench to replace Danilo. Carvajal seemed to have earned the favour of Zidane after a difficult time in which his role at the club and his ability to respond in the big games were being questioned - which was in fact the reason Danilo was signed.

Over the last month, though, the Brazilian seems to have gained ground. His performances, both on the left flank -covering for the injured Marcelo- and on the right, began to recall those of the powerful long-distance full-back that everybody spoke of when he signed for Madrid last summer. In fact, Cristiano Ronaldo said he had been the team's best player in the derby that Madrid lost to Atlético de Madrid at the same time as he pointed the finger at some of his team-mates for their poor showing in that game. With Zidane, Danilo seems like another player; that tension observed in training has been turned into penetrating runs down the wing in games. Meanwhile, Carvajal is on a 'roller-coaster', and at the moment it is going through one of the lower points after he failed to get the call-up for Spain and was benched for the games against Roma and Sevilla. Right now, Danilo seems to be ahead of Carvajal in the pecking order, although the Champions League -the first-leg games will be played on the Tuesday and Wednesday following the Clásico- could lead the managers to tweak what is, a priori, their ideal XI.

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