Former Castilla coach Santiago Solari’s tenure at Real Madrid went by in the blink of an eye. He was seen as more of a transitional manager between Lopetegui’s rather infamous departure and Zinedine Zidane’s return. While he is not likely to make the history books for Real Madrid, he did do one important thing and that is by introducing Brahim Diaz into the top flight. It’s no secret at this point that Real Madrid underperformed heavily since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure. A lot of the criticism was directed at the team’s big-name players, saying they became overly complacent after their glorious run with the Portuguese legend. Real Madrid were trophyless but there was a light in that deep dark tunnel in the form of their young players. Vinicius Jr, Odriozola and Brahim Diaz were among the players that really stepped up and took full advantage of the spotlight. But the difference between the rest and Brahim Diaz, apart from the way they play, is that Brahim had a lot less time to prove himself. He was introduced as a player late in the season and he had to make a big impact in a relatively short amount of time. What’s impressive that he rose up to that challenge and obliged.
Skills and Numbers:
Diaz was terrific in the few games that he played for a severely downed and weakened Real Madrid. He did not achieve 4-0 clean sheet victories but he fought tooth and nail to make his presence felt. While primarily an attacking midfielder, he showcased a terrific amount of versatility, playing left and right wings and even the false 9 interacting well with a player like Benzema up front. His wingplay has been noticeably great, especially on the left. This has been due to an incredible pace and dribbling. His dribbling is very cheeky and clever and combines greatly with his controlled (yet fast) runs. Brahim Diaz has a penchant for tricks but it is rarely used to show off. Rather, he integrates it nicely into his dribbling which makes him a better runner with the ball. Combine his dribbling with his receives and his clever turns and he’s a threat of a player. There’s also his passing to consider. He has an eagle-like vision and is able to pick out fellow forwards even on the darting runs where it is difficult to make passes properly due to an excess of aggression and pace. He’s very skilled at picking out his fellow teammates and exploit the opposing team’s vulnerabilities in the process. There’s not much more you can ask from an attacking midfielder, especially a young one.
Diaz has played only 9 matches so far, 4 of which were as a substitute but he more than enough to be a talked-about player. Diaz scored 1 goal and eve managed an assist in the course of those games. As indicated, his passing was phenomenal, with him keeping a passing accuracy of 85.9%, which is all the more impressive given that he has to play a lot of risky passes because of his position and the amount of attacking football that he plays. He managed 0.8 shots per game which might not be that impressive but the perception of that number changes given how poorly Madrid played towards the end of last season. He managed 0.8 key passes as well. The dribbling was one of the highlights for sure. Diaz completed 1.9 dribbles per game.
In conclusion, if guided properly, Diaz looks to be another titan from Real Madrid. With other up-and-comers like Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr and Martin Odegaard (on loan to R. Sociedad) starting to find their own footing, the future Real Madrid looks to be a very powerful team. Madrid could do a lot of things with him. With Zidane’s penchant for substitutions, maybe we could expect more game time from the 20-year old Spaniard. It might be a bit difficult for him to get more game time right now given the staggering amount of attackers Madrid has. In light of that great no. of attackers, Diaz could be loaned out of the club. Patrons would properly prefer for him to go to another country, possibly England just so he can build up more and more versatility and learn how to play against other types of teams, especially because Real Madrid are often times favourites to win the UCL. Speculations aside, one thing is true: Brahim Diaz is an incredible asset and if Real Madrid is careful and smart with his development, the sky will be the limit.