112 minutes. This is the number of minutes Luka Jovic has played this season for Real Madrid. We never expect to see a 60-million euro player get to play so less, while we are almost in the last week of November. It is obvious that Jovic can’t start over Benzema, and it is difficult for any second-choice player to get a lot of minutes under Carlo Ancelotti, given his habit of not chopping and changing a lot.
And Jovic suffered a knock to his knee in the October international break, due to which he couldn’t get a chance against Elche when Karim Benzema was rested. This can be attributed to his bad luck, something that I have blamed throughout his Real Madrid career. But I think it is time Jovic does something else instead of just waiting for the opportunity because he doesn’t have a lot of time remaining at Real Madrid.
There were reports of Luka Jovic going on loan again, in search of minutes, and with the club eyeing other young strikers in the market, Luka Jovic would have to be sold to make space. The Serbian might be counting his days as a Real Madrid player because he still hasn’t proven himself after more than two years at the club. He hasn’t scored a goal for Real Madrid since February 2020, and he wouldn’t want the board to hear these words.
If he wants to continue his career at Real Madrid and succeed at this club of dreams, there’s a need for him to up the ante and change his fortune. All these days I and other fans who believe in Jovic have blamed his bad luck, the manager and a lot of other things. But it is time Jovic identifies his problem and works on it. Let us look where the problem is lying in the case of the former Frankfurt striker.
Jovic doesn’t show a lot of intensity on the field
Any player who isn’t getting a lot of minutes wants to prove himself in the limited playing time he gets, and win over the manager in the little time possible. You expect to see a pinch of desperation in the player’s performance (or maybe even more) and expect better intensity from the player. But when I saw Jovic play for those 15 minutes against Granada, I saw almost zero intensity from the Serbian, and he had only one touch.
Agreed that 15 minutes isn’t a lot of time for a player to do something of note, especially when the team is relaxed, and leading 4-1. But still, you expect to see something from the player, that can prevent fans like us from not having faith in a talented player like him. This is one of the reasons why people have a stronger opinion of Mariano, who shows a better spirit on the pitch, despite his technical shortcomings.
Jovic simply occupies the space between defenders in the backline and makes runs when his teammates are in passing positions. He doesn’t do a lot other than that, and he is isolated in the process, as he doesn’t adjust to the situation around him so easily. He doesn’t drop back and ask for the ball like Benzema and remains passive on the field. This is something that we don’t expect from a Real Madrid striker, who is expected to show character and be a complete forward.
Here we can raise a valid point that Jovic isn’t suited for the role of a lone striker, due to which he gets completely isolated while playing against low blocks. He needs another striker alongside him, which brings the better version of Jovic, and he had this system at both Frankfurt and Serbia. At Real Madrid, the biggest club in the history of football, you can’t expect to be in your comfort zone and you have to adapt. Unfortunately, Jovic hasn’t been able to do it, and two years have already passed with no change in him.
We can blame the kind of situations in which Jovic is used. He has either played when the team is in urgent need of a goal when ten opponent defenders suffocate a player in the box, or when the game is practically over (when the team is having a comfortable lead) and players are just waiting for the final whistle. When there is zero intensity and players are more focused on retaining the ball.
But at the end of the day, it is an excuse as well, and a player fighting for his position is expected to show some impact, irrespective of the situation around him.
Jovic’s gameplay can be attributed to his personality as well
As I mentioned above, Jovic is too passive on the field. This is something that can be attributed to his reserved nature. When I saw him for the first time on the day of his presentation, I thought he is a reserved person, something that was evident from his short replies to the questions asked by the journalists. He appeared like a player who believed in himself but wasn’t able to convince others of his self-confidence.
Even on the pitch, he doesn’t link up a lot with others, except for Luka Modric, with whom he shares a great bond off the field, and Casemiro. Against Granada, I observed that he made a run only when Casemiro had the ball, and it felt like a synchronised move between two players with great chemistry. He shares a good bond, and it feels like he had developed a lot of respect for the Brazilian after his gesture in a game against Sevilla in January 2020. Casemiro had also praised the Serbian’s assist to his goal, before the media.
We can’t blame a person for the way he is, but I’m afraid it would be the reason behind his downfall. We can blame his luck, situations and everything else, but the key issue is with his game on the pitch, which is something similar to the kind of person he is.
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As I have mentioned above, time is running out for Luka Jovic. Now’s the time if Jovic really wants to rejuvenate his Real Madrid career.