Real Madrid midfielder Eduardo Camavinga is enjoying his best spell since arriving at the club a little over 18 months ago.
The 20-year-old managed to win the Champions League during his first season at the club, playing a crucial role as an impact substitute in their run to the final, often turning games in Los Blancos’ favour with his dynamism.
Yet there is no doubt that he has taken the next step in his development, now impacting games positively over the course of 90 minutes. With Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Aurelien Tchouameni struggling for form and fitness, Camavinga has stepped in and performed admirably in 2023. He looks likely to start their Champions League tie against Liverpool.
Speaking to Sid Lowe in The Guardian, Camavinga revealed that two players above all others helped him settle in Madrid.
“Karim is special for me. Ferland [Mendy] as well. When I first arrived, he was the first to give advice. And they tell me straight if I play badly. Then Ancelotti is very close to us. He’s played, makes things fun.”
Asked which of his colleagues he’d most like to resemble in the future, he highlighted the wide variety of skillsets at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“I’d love to have a mix of what they have. I love the way Case [Casemiro] defends, the way Luka [Modric] runs with the ball, and Toni’s [Kroos’s] passes.”
“He’s incredible [Fede Valverde]. We were doing these physical tests and he’s the only one left, running all alone.”
Real Madrid’s squad is a mix of youngsters and veterans, with relatively few at their supposed ‘peak’ ages.
“The relationship is good: we’re young and we know we are here to learn and the legends know that too. They help us and we young players have huge respect for them.”
“We have to ask the older players for understanding and the younger players for patience.”
Camavinga has adapted as well as any 18-year-old moving countries could possibly have hoped. Both he and Ancelotti must be given credit for how they have handled that process, with youngsters so often getting lost during their early years at big clubs.