Real Madrid have found their next great center back.
The way Eder Militao has risen to the occasion since his return to the starting XI, necessitated by Raphael Varane’s positive COVID-19 test shortly before the first leg against Liverpool, is nothing short of extraordinary. While Militao showed signs of future stardom prior to this recent run of form, he has truly broken out over the past month.
Most recently, Militao was Los Blancos’ official Man of the Match in a 2-0 win over Osasuna. Not only did he score the go-ahead goal late in the match, but the young center back also threatened offensively throughout. As usual, he was nearly perfect defensively, reading the game intelligently and dominating the aerial battles.
Militao has so many traits that fit Real Madrid perfectly. He shows confidence on the ball and is willing to attempt difficult passes to progress the play. He is capable of chipping in goals. He is technically sound in the tackle and can execute difficult tackles. He knows how to read forwards. And he has the closing speed to play “on an island” with little defensive help around him, other than his center back partner.
In short, Eder Militao is a player Real Madrid need to keep ahold of. There is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the center back position. Even if we assume Nacho Fernandez will sign an extension beyond the 2021-2022 season, Los Blancos may be preparing for a future without Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane – one of whom could be replaced by the incoming David Alaba.
And if Varane and Ramos stay? Goal.com’s Mario Cortegana reported last month that Militao could request a transfer out of Madrid. While the center back wants to remain in the capital, he could be forced out if there ends up being a logjam at the position.
That’s why Madridistas are so hesitant about the 12 million euro salary headed in Alaba’s direction. Alaba would be welcomed as a midfielder and left back, but he is not on Militao’s level as a center back, even though the Br azilian is just 23 years old.
So if Alaba’s arrival were to impact Militao’s future with Real Madrid, the move would be seen as a horrific error by many of Madrid’s faithful, who have quickly fallen head over heels for the former FC Porto man.
Militao has shut down Liverpool, Barcelona, Chelsea, Getafe, Cadiz, Real Betis, and Osasuna. He is on the best run of form of any Real Madrid player. And that’s saying something. In the toughest stretch of the season, it is a young central defender, seemingly counted out as unreliable by Zinedine Zidane, who has rose head and shoulders above even the decorated “old guard” of three-peat winners.
Regardless of what the future holds at the center back position with Ramos, Varane, Alaba, and all the rumored players like Pau Torres and Jules Kounde, Los Blancos must keep ahold of Militao. They must value him as a future superstar and a current piece of the puzzle.
Because right now, at this very moment, there isn’t a defender playing at a higher level than Militao on this team. If he keeps it up, we could be talking about him as a weekly starter in 2021-2022. For now, though, let’s just focus the discussion on keeping him in Madrid for as long as possible. He has passed the pressure test with flying colors.