The list of events, achievements and reliefs of Fede Valverde (Montevideo, Uruguay; 25 years old) in the last year is difficult to cover. He came into scoring boil with that right foot that looks like a stone (as defined by Ancelotti); In the World Cup he did not go beyond the round of 16 with Uruguay; Upon returning from Qatar he entered a personal tunnel upon learning that his partner’s pregnancy would probably not come to fruition; A month later the sky opened up for him when the doctors told them that the baby would survive; and last spring he had that shocking incident with Álex Baena (whom he supposedly punched) in the Bernabéu parking lot that was finally archived by ordinary and sporting justice. Almost the only thing that has remained fixed in this time is the Italian coach’s commitment to his fresh legs, whether heeled on the wing or more in the middle, when he drilled goals and when his goals were decreasing.
“Personally, I don’t wish it on anyone, but it’s part of life,” he said this Monday, in the preview of the duel in Naples, where the UEFA statistics did not award him 2-3 after the blow that He hit the crossbar from the front and then hit the local goalkeeper, Meret, before going in. “I tried to focus on football and the World Cup, although it wasn’t the way I wanted. Also in Madrid and win everything possible. We won the Cup, and that made me forget how bad we were. I grew and matured a lot as a person. You have to be close to your family, who give you that extra bit to continue trusting in life,” added the Uruguayan, new captain of his country by choice of his teammates in the new stage opened with Marcelo Bielsa.
In the first weeks of the new season, some voice with access to the locker room noted that it was difficult for him to start the engine, somewhat dispersed, an issue that, in any case, was not transferred to Carletto’s eleven. In these initial 10 games, his status is the only one that has not been altered or threatened. Tchouameni was left out in an event as important as the derby, Kroos started the year as a substitute, Modric is still on the bench, Camavinga has returned to the left back in the last week and Ceballos is trying to restart after the preseason injury.
Valverde, a shy boy by nature – “one of those who do not monopolize a conversation,” explains a person close to him – attributed a large part of the sporting leap a season and a half ago to working with a nutritionist and a coach. He also relied on this second six months ago, when he had to manage behind closed doors the alleged attack he gave to his Villarreal colleague Álex Baena for an alleged comment about pregnancy that the doctors had painted very black. His entourage then recommended silence while he tried to reduce the ambient noise with Baena, and in the end the justice system filed the complaint filed by the yellow player at a police station due to insufficient evidence. The threat of a five-match suspension weighed on him. At first, neither Madrid nor the people close to the footballer had denied the punch.
On the pitch, Ancelotti’s new design has moved him away from the right wing where he became essential on the way to the last Champions League and has definitively returned him to his most natural position, as an interior player. “This can help you. If you stay further back, you see more field,” the white coach argued a few weeks ago, who also recommended that he not play by decree with one or two touches, as the orthodoxy of the second decade of the 21st century dictates. “That doesn’t make sense in your case, I will never ask you that. If he has time and space, he should run with the ball. It is his quality and he has to take advantage of it,” he stressed. The formula with which he has been most influential at this start of the season.
He is also expected to regain a greater scoring frequency. The new composition of the forward, beyond the effervescence of Bellingham, requires a joint task, also for the midfielders. Last year, he reached 12 (eight before the World Cup) after Carletto set the goal of 10, and this one continues with one (to Real Sociedad) after UEFA did not tell him about the thunder of Naples.
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