Real Madrid have been improvising all season in the face of Karim Benzema’s continued fitness issues, often relying on the likes of Rodrygo Goes or Marco Asensio as a central striker. However six minutes of action against Osasuna may have changed the equation entirely.
Alvaro Rodriguez, 18, came on against Osasuna and provided an assist for Vinicius Junior, which was chalked off for offside, before doing the same for Marco Asensio, which counted this time. He was then included in Carlo Ancelotti’s squad for their trip to Liverpool. What exactly has Ancelotti seen in order to use him in the first team though?
Rodriguez was born in Palamos, near Girona in Catalonia, where he grew up playing. He then played in the Girona academy, before Real Madrid signed him at the age of 16. Of Uruguayan descent, he feels his Charrua roots strongly and was recently involved with their under-20 side at the South American Championships, where they came second. Despite living in Spain his whole life, he looks set to pursue his international career with Uruguay.
He scored 5 goals in 7 games, adding to the 5 in 15 he had managed for Real Madrid Castilla this season under Raul Gonzalez. On his return, he was called up to the senior side in the absence of Benzema.
Rodriguez is a tall, physical striker, capable of playing both through the middle and out wide, where Raul has used him at times this season. Beating out competition from Iker Bravo, one of the most highly rated talents in Spanish football, Rodriguez has won a starting spot.
Marca highlight the fact he excels in his reading of the game, as well as his movement. Rodriguez attacks space well and provides good runs for midfielders. Blessed with the Uruguayan attitude, he works tirelessly and is not afraid of putting in a challenge for his side.
Given their lack of natural striking options, Rodriguez could be a valuable player for Ancelotti. Los Blancos do not have forwards, other than perhaps Rodrygo, who run in behind often, stretching the game. Equally, a forward of his size his always a handful in defence.