Although Rodrygo Goes was not one of the headline-grabbers of El Clasico in the eyes of the mainstream media, the Real Madrid right winger was an important part of the 2-1 win at the Camp Nou. Any Madridista recognizes this. The young Brazilian is unable to play in his preferred position on the left side of the attack, as Vinicius Junior has quite clearly made that position his home. And before that, a healthy Eden Hazard had the inside track at left wing.
Rodrygo has never made a fuss and has found a way to contribute despite not being able to cut inside on his stronger foot. And he has remained effective by focusing on his strengths as a technician and passer, in addition to providing the required intensity.
Earlier this season, Rodrygo played the hero in a 1-0 win over Inter Milan at the San Siro, scoring a late winner to lift Real Madrid. While Rodrygo was not the scoring hero at another hostile venue against a European power, he was a hero against Barcelona for his nonstop motor.
Rodrygo tracked back as far as he could to support Lucas Vazquez, who had to contend with Memphis Depay and Ansu Fati. Barcelona’s two best players. Vazquez, who did score a heroic late goal, was never exposed. He held up well. And he held up well because of the unselfish defensive work from Rodrygo.
In addition to the defense that does not grab headlines but is appreciated by everyone involved with the club, Rodrygo made two cutting-edge passes. The first was to Karim Benzema that should have been returned to the onward-rushing right winger, and the second was to David Alaba that led to the goal. The pass was another example of how Rodrygo has morphed himself into an underrated creator from that right-hand spot.
Rodrygo plays like an unselfish veteran
We have heard outlandish transfer rumors regarding Rodrygo in the past. There are rumblings that he is not seen as untouchable like the other promising young players. But we have consistently been of the opinion that Rodrygo must not be sold.
Though Rodrygo has not been a breakout star on the level of Fede Valverde or Vinicius Junior these past couple of seasons, he has played a key role. We have seen big moments from him, such as the winner against Inter, the debut goal against Osasuna, and the perfect hat-trick vs. Galatasaray. So the upside, the quality are clearly there.
Above all else, Rodrygo will always have a place at Real Madrid because of the mental traits he brings to the table. He is the perfect team player. Rodrygo can play anywhere in the attack. He can defend. He can create. He can score, even in the biggest moments. He can keep possession. He can beat defenders. He can circulate the ball accurately without surrendering a counter.
It is rare to find a kind of player like Rodrygo in the squad. At the age of 20 and with the upside to be a true star in this sport, he already plays with the wits of a veteran. Rodrygo has the mentality of a veteran squad player in the body of a young man, which means that as his development progresses, he will be able to carry those unselfish, team-first ideals as a truly grown top player at Real Madrid.
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And if for whatever reason, Rodrygo does not become a “superstar”, he will still be a quality asset to Real Madrid. Because he has shown that even as a raw youngster, he is one for the big stage. Even in an unfamiliar position, he has the tools to make the most of it and help the team. As long as he wants to remain in Madrid and his main goal is to be a winning player here, he should always have a place. Rodrygo is the kind of quiet, self-confident, no-nonsense versatile forward a team like Real can always have a spot for in their squad. After all, there’s a reason Real are undefeated when he starts with Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior. Rodrygo is a winner.