The trait that has allowed Luka Jovic to find his best form yet

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Real Madrid have found their backup striker. After signing Luka Jovic for 60 million euros in 2019, Real have finally given the young man a string of opportunities, and the striker himself has finally been able to show a more well-rounded skill-set up top.

Jovic had flashed in the past for Real, namely with a backheel assist in January 2020. But it was impossible for him to get consistent games, as Karim Benzema is one of the two best strikers in the world and too important to Los Blancos.

Benzema’s injury in the first half against Real Sociedad yielded a major opportunity for Jovic, who was injured before Elche in his previous opportunity to start. Jovic struggled against La Real in the first half after being thrown into the fire, but he emerged from the flames as a new man by producing a fantastic second half, scoring and assisting to contribute to both goals in the 2-0 win.

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He did not stop there, though. Jovic was solid against Inter Milan in the Champions League, providing a pair of key passes. And last Sunday in El Derbi, Jovic was money in another big game. He came off the bench so that Benzema could receive some extra rest, and he helped Real Madrid extend their lead to 2-0 by providing the assist to Vinicius Junior’s assist for Marco Asensio.

Luka Jovic is starting to look like a Real Madrid No. 9

On that goal, Jovic held off the defender and then made the perfectly-weighted pass to Vinicius, who could move into his stride and deliver the official assist to Asensio. Jovic was central to that goal, even if the basic stats do not credit the Serbian international with a role in the goal.

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The hold-up play, vision, and passing accuracy encapsulate what has changed about Jovic in this most fruitful vein of form with Los Blancos. Previously, Jovic was often on the periphery of games or not involved enough with his teammates. Now, Jovic is a lot more active off the ball and a lot more confident with the players around him, and that leads to him making good passes and commanding the ball in central areas.

Jovic scored an opportunistic, game-sealing header against La Real, and he was known for his goal-scoring at Eintracht Frankfurt before joining Real Madrid in 2019. But what is most impressive right now is how much he is helping as a facilitator.

At Real Madrid, it is so important for the No. 9 to be a team player and to be capable of helping the wingers get into scoring positions. You have to be more than a scorer in Madrid, and you have to do even more creatively than just assist.

Jovic is using his body well, showing good vision, and providing even better final execution on his passes. The 23-year-old’s hold-up play is absolutely worth praising and has proven to be a real asset to Los Blancos during these matches in which Benzema has not been able to play for a full 90 minutes. And because Benz’s minutes must be managed more this season due to his obligations with France, Jovic’s all-around emergence is a storyline to watch in the second half of the season.

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