Nacho’s Decision to Stay at Real Madrid Has Paid Off Hugely
5th May 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
Last summer, Real Madrid’s versatile defender, Nacho, had a tough decision to make on whether to leave Los Merengues, the club he joined as an 11-year-old, or seek a move away in an attempt to get the playing time he craved.
AS Roma appeared the likely destination, but the 27-year-old ultimately chose to remain loyal to his beloved Madrid. Without doubt, it’s been the right move, for he’s enjoying his best season ever working under the tutelage of Zinedine Zidane.
“I have already gone through periods of doubt, that’s logical. Each summer you have temptations. But I have always been faithful to my ideas,” he explained.
“Last summer, the coach, the club and myself all agreed that I would stay at Real for another year. I think it was the perfect decision. Given how the season has gone, I can say that I didn’t make a mistake. I’m where I want to be, happy and as I often say, I want to finish my career at Real.”
Having gained the trust of belief of his manager, something he’s struggled to do in the past, Nacho’s emphatically repaying Zizou’s faith with his formidable performances at the back, as he’s been an integral component of his expensively assembled squad.
When asked about his best moment at Los Blancos, his response was telling, and punctuated just how happy he is with things at present, saying: “It’s this moment now. I have the trust of the coach and I feel very important for the squad. It’s what I have always wanted. Now that it’s the case, I have to enjoy it as much as possible.”
The fact roughly a quarter of all of his Madrid first team appearances have come this term further accentuates what an impact he’s having. Obviously injuries to the likes of Raphael Varane and Pepe have aided his cause, but the Spaniard still deserves massive credit for the way he’s stepped up and grasped his opportunities.
Nacho, who’s also capable of operating at right and left back, has been a rock at the heart of his side’s defence, as he’s continued to showcase why he’s such a complete defender, who’s essentially bereft of any real weaknesses.
To start with, his tremendous concentration and awareness, in combination with his astute ability to read the play and judgement, allows him to predict any potential danger early and subsequently snuff it out. This smart decision making also transfers over to when he’s applying a tackle or interception, where he shows great conviction and timing when undertaking such acts.
Being solid in the air and possessing the requisite strength has seen him handle himself adequately in aerial duels too. The most striking aspect of his output might just be his blistering pace, though, as he uses his speed to track runners and cover his colleagues to brilliant effect.
Remarkably, according to the La Liga website, Nacho’s actually the fastest player at Real Madrid, clocking a scintillating high speed of 34.63 kilometres per hour, which is amazing considering Madrid have the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Raphael Varane and Marcelo in their ranks.
In addition, the way he persistently monitors his blindside by performing regular head checks serves to give him a thorough mental imagery of his surroundings.
Meanwhile, on the attacking end, his distribution qualities have seen him assist his team’s build up from the back in an accomplished, measured fashion.
By the numbers, his 1.5 won aerial duels per game, two tackles pg, 1.7 interceptions pg, 2.7 clearances and the fact he’s only received four yellow cards aptly illustrate his undeniable worth.
Having now made over 30 appearances for Madrid, and a further six under Julen Lopetegui at international level with Spain, it’s been outstanding to see Nacho’s talent being fully appreciated and utilised on such a regular basis. Moreover, the man who was diagnosed with diabetes at just 12 also warrants praise for the immense mental strength he’s shown to keep fighting over the years in Madrid.
The case of Nacho certainly demonstrates how handsomely loyalty, persistence and hard work can pay off. Looking back, Nacho will be hugely satisfied he turned down Roma’s advances in the summer to remain in the Spanish capital.
More articles by Edward here.