Camavinga off to Madrid flier but unlocking his world-class potential needs time

Robin Bairner
Eduardo Camavinga scored on his Real Madrid debut v Celta Vigo

Eduardo Camavinga could not have hoped for a better start at Real Madrid.

Signed from Rennes for €30 million, the France international made his appearance as a replacement for Eden Hazard 65 minutes into a La Liga clash with Celta Vigo that Los Blancos were leading 3-2.

Six minutes later, he had his first Real Madrid goal, pouncing in the box upon a rebound to a saved shot from Luka Modric.

In finding the net, he had already equalled his career tally of goals in Ligue 1 with Rennes.

Questions still to answer

Camavinga, though, arrived at Real Madrid with question marks over his form. In France, he had been relegated to the role of substitute, with head coach Bruno Genesio blaming the noise around a possible move for his loss of form.

Certainly, the qualities that made Camavinga France’s youngest international since World War One the previous autumn were scantly on show in the second half of the 2020/21 season. Having once been an accomplished performer, his displays had become increasingly muddled, with the clarity he once played with gone.

He may have made a great start to life at Real Madrid, but supporters should remain patient. He is a teenager who will take some adjusting to life at one of the world’s biggest clubs. It promises to be another major test of his mentality.

Of course, scoring a goal on debut was a headline contribution as he started the match playing higher up the field than he typically would with Rennes. It was also vital credit in the back given that there were also signs of the looseness that saw him relegated to the bench in France.

On three occasions, he gave possession away in dangerous areas that might have been better exploited. This is not the Camavinga that exploded onto the scene in France, and it is evidence that it will take him some time to settle at Madrid yet.

One of the issues that he potentially faces is that he does not have one defining strength or role. Camavinga is a player who can apparently do it all. He can pass, tackle, head, match opponents physically – perhaps the only aspect of his game that needs work is in the final third.

Nevertheless, finding a niche in this Real Madrid side will be his challenge. It is not something that will be achieved in days or weeks. His project in Spain is one that lasts months or years.

With the right nurturing, Camavinga can realise his potential and become one of the best midfielders – perhaps even players – in the world, but patience is required.