On May 13 2014 Spain Coach Vicente Del Bosque announced Spain’s 30-man provisional squad for the FIFA World Cup 2014. On that list appeared the name of Dani Carvajal, right-back, Real Madrid. It was a bit of a surprise at the time as Dani haven’t played a single game for Spain to that point.
However, Carvajal was the starting right-back for a Real Madrid squad that was in the chase for their 10th Champions League trophy, the famous Decima. Carvajal and Madrid ended up winning that final 11 days later against Atletico Madrid. But just a week after that, Del Bosque gave his final list of the 23 men to travel to Brazil and Dani wasn’t in it.
Despite missing that important date the future looked bright for the then 22-year-old. He had played his first full season at Real Madrid and end up making his international debut that very same year in a friendly against France.
Now two years later, things have changed for Madrid’s No 15. After a 2014-15 season where Los Blancos didn’t pick any silverware, Carvajal was only called to play for Spain three times. He hasn’t played for La Roja since October 12 2015 against Luxembourg. He has accumulated only five international matches since his international debut back in 2014.
To make things worse for Carvajal, after a disappointing year at Madrid, President Florentino Perez came with his chequebook and bought Brazilian right-back Danilo to compete with him in the starting XI. And that’s exactly what has had happened, with the Spaniard starting 18 La Liga matches and the Brazilian 20, sometimes playing as left-back.
Despite the fact that Danilo hasn’t convinced the fans in Madrid, the truth is that neither has Dani. In fact, between all right-backs in La Liga who have started 15 or more games, Carvajal has the worst number of tackles per game with 1.6 [Danilo is seventh in the list with 2.9]. While he has been dribbled past more times as well, Danilo ties in first place in this category while Carvajal is 11th between all La Liga’s right-backs.
Also playing against Carvajal for his chances to be representing Spain in France during the Euros is Del Bosque’s tendency to call seven defenders instead of eight, favouring players like Cesar Azpilicueta, who can play both right and left-back, or even Carvajal’s teammate Nacho who play center and left-back.
However, on the Brightside, Real Madrid are back in the fight for another Champions League trophy and this could be Carvajal’s only hope to get called to Euro 2016. Dani is starting over Danilo in big matches at the end of the season, such as the quarter-final against Wolfsburg, or the Clasico, and, who knows, a few good performances in key matches could be enough to convince Del Bosque.