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Decoding Fede Valverde: The perfect modern midfielder



The burden of a Real Madrid shirt can be heavy.

We have seen players like Antonio Cassano, Javier Saviola, and, more recently, Eden Hazard struggling to cope with the astronomical expectations that come with the glorious white of Los Blancos.

But that has not been the case for Federico Valverde.

He arrived as a young player, honed his craft, and established himself as a first-XI essential.

The 24-year-old developed his profile to meet the flagship standards one would need to control the midfield for Real Madrid.

Valverde is a box-to-box midfielder by trade, but if you closely study his heat map, you will see he pops up in all areas on the pitch.

You will find him dropping deep to nullify an opposition attack; he will roam the left flank only to immediately switch to the right a few minutes later. Sometimes, you will mistake him for a striker. Valverde is omnipresent!

But you will be surprised to hear that Valverde was not much keen on running and having a fluid presence on the pitch during his formative years.

Valverde is an Atlético Peñarol academy graduate. He joined the academy of the Uruguayan giants as a 10-year-old.

As you can imagine, Peñarol scouts were impressed to see his attributes and identified him as a potential future star.

But their judgement was put in question when Valverde failed to impress in the first few years at the academy.

Valverde failed to make a mark initially because of his lean physique and unwillingness to press.

Valverde wanted to be a traditional 10, who sits behind the striker and feeds him with nifty passes inside the box.

But it was a dying art in football. In recent years, we have seen the rapid decline of classic playmakers like Mesut Özil and James Rodríguez.

Modern football has moved past the textbook number ten role.

Valverde realised this and decided to take on a more versatile approach.

He added more body mass and became a more dynamic player.

Valverde turned over a new leaf and became a relentless presser. At the age of 18, he was rewarded for his effort with a place in the Atlético Peñarol senior side.

But Real Madrid had already gotten wind of the player, and they came knocking on Peñarol’s door for Valverde.

After joining Madrid, Valverde would play in the reserves and go out on a loan spell at Deportivo de La Coruña.

He made it to the Real Madrid senior team in 2018, and since then, he has been a staple in the first team. Under Carlo Ancelotti, Valverde added new dimensions to his game, which helped him become a complete midfield package.

Valverde is an elite progressor of the ball.

Over the last 365 days, he has ranked in the 98th percentile for progressive carries. He clocks 7.92 progressive carries per 90, which puts him in the premium bracket among midfielders.

Valverde’s pressing, positioning, and work rate are his strongest qualities.

This season, he has been showing signs of overcoming one of his biggest weaknesses. Before the World Cup break, Valverde scored six times for Real Madrid. His tally includes goals against Atlético Madrid and Barcelona.

Carlo Ancelotti has been using Valverde like a Swiss army knife.

The youngster has been asked to play as a wide attacker and in several midfield positions.

He is a player who has a lot to offer to Real Madrid and he has a long future at the club.

Hopefully, this is just the beginning of Federico Valverde’s illustrious Real Madrid legacy.

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WATCH: Cristiano Ronaldo performs obscene gestures as fans chant Lionel Messi’s name




Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi

During the Saudi Pro League game between Al Shabab and Al Nassr, Nassr skipper Cristiano Ronaldo was seen making obscene gestures towards rival fans. The Shabab fans were chanting Ronaldo’s biggest rival Lionel Messi’s name. Not for the first time though, some Saudi football fans do prefer Messi over the Portuguese player. Meanwhile, during the game on Sunday, the Portugal international crossed all the limits as he made some obscene gestures.

Watch the video here

Talking about the game, the Yellow Brigade, Nassr won against Shabab. Ronaldo gave his team as he made the most of the penalty in the 21st minute of the game. However, in the injury time of the first half, Yannick Carrasco scored an equalizer before going into the break. In the first minute of the second half, Anderson Talisca gave a lead to Nassr. In the 67th minute, Carlos scored the equalizer for Shabab, and the game looked like ending in a tie before Talisca scored the match-winning goal in the 86th minute.

Meanwhile, the former Real Madrid player is set to face disciplinary action. As per the Saudi writer and television host, the disciplinary committee might take action.

“The disciplinary committee is facing the biggest test. We will wait and see. Everything has its limits, no matter how famous you are. This is how the major leagues are” Waleed Al Farraj, a prominent Saudi writer and television host, said on X.

Cristiano Ronaldo faced disciplinary action during his stint with Manchester United

A few months before the FIFA World Cup 2022, he threw a fan’s phone when he was part of the English club, Manchester United. He was banned for a few games which meant that he missed a few games for his current club, Nassr. However, the ban didn’t apply in the World Cup as he was available for selection during the tournament, in which his team lost the Quarterfinal to Morrocco.

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Virgil Van Dijk’s late strike in extra time helps Liverpool beat Chelsea in Carabao Cup final




Liverpool emerged victorious in the Carabao Cup final in 2024. In a thrilling game which was full of twists and turns, Liverpool managed to beat Chelsea to clinch the cup. Jurgen Klopp’s men were awarded with the winner’s medal as they edged out Chelsea in a low-scoring thriller that went to extra time. The defence of both sides was good to watch.

The match had many edge-of-the-seat moments. In the first half, Liverpool attempted a lot of shots over Chelsea. While some were out of target, some were in the target, but stopped by the goalkeeper. Cody Gakpo was unlucky to find the ball hit the goalpost. The strike of the youngster went in vain as the first half did not witness any goal.

Liverpool’s skipper was brilliant in the game. He martialed his troops well and got the coordination going for a long time. He in fact nearly had a goal in the first half, only to be ruled out by the VAR, which was highly controversial. There is a debate for the legitimacy of the goal which was not given despite the help of the technology. Liverpool did not get carried away with the moment.

Captain brilliant Virgil Van Dijk steps up in crunch moments

Klopp deployed younger players as substitutes in the 2nd half. It helped Liverpool a lot as they were able to not just put pressure on Chelsea but also create a lot of chances. While none of them were converted to goals in the second half, they ensured that Chelsea’s players were in check. At one stage, the absence of Mohammad Salah in the middle was felt.

The match went to the extra time, where things got a bit closer. Chelsea attempted to score goals but ended up giving more advantage to Liverpool. The younger legs marked well and provided good assists to the forwards. The moment came in the 118th minute of the game, when Van Dijk netted the goal and helped Liverpool to win the prestigious title.

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Virat Kohli picks his ‘Sporting GOAT’




Virat Kohli was asked to pick his ‘Sporting GOAT’ in a recent interview. The star cricketer was interviewed by Team Blue Rising who asked him to name the greatest sportsperson of all time. “Who is your Sporting GOAT?” asked the host to the star batter. Kohli did not hesitate to take the name of one of the greatest Football players as his pick for the question.

The Indian batter claimed Cristiano Ronaldo to be the greatest Football player of all time. “For me, it’s Cristiano Ronaldo,” said Virat in the interview. It came as no surprise to the fans, as Virat has always been a huge admirer of the star Footballer. Even in the past, the 35-year-old has expressed his admiration for the star player from Portugal.

In many instances, the Indian batter has claimed Ronaldo to be his favourite player. Ronaldo has been one of the best players the sport has ever seen. Many claim him to be arguably the greatest Sportsperson of all time. Virat has joined the list of those to claim him to be the greatest athlete in the sports world. Ronaldo has some records to back his claim for the title.

Legacy of Cristiano Ronaldo and Virat Kohli

The Portuguese Footballer has the greatest number of goals for an international team. He also has the greatest number of international caps for a player. The star player is the only player to win four major cups with two different clubs. He did it with Manchester United and Real Madrid. Cristiano has the second most number of Ballon d’Or titles (Five) after Lionel Messi.

Virat, on the other hand, is a great cricketer. He has the greatest number of hundreds for a batter in ODIs. Virat has the greatest number of hundreds in ODIs while chasing. He is also the highest run scorer for India in T20Is. Kohli has the most runs for a batter in the IPL. He has the greatest number of POTT awards for a player in the T20 WC and the ODI WC.

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