Fede Valverde has been Real Madrid’s best player this season. The Uruguayan is the club’s top scorer in La Liga, with six goals. Karim Benzema (five in La Liga) and Vinicius (five) have not scored as many goals in the league in 2022-23.
According to a report in Marca, Valverde excelled at shooting from a young age, something that has been unleashed again as he becomes a more important player for Real Madrid.
In La Liga, however, he had never scored more than three goals until this season. As a youth-team player, he was not a goalscorer, but he did score often from outside the box. This is according to those who saw him play from the age of 14, such as Néstor Tito Gonçalves, coordinator of the Peñarol youth academy who tutored him at the Montevideo club from that age until his debut in the top flight at the age of 17. In his first year in the club’s youth ranks, back in 2012, he scored eight goals.
Dead ball situations
“Here at Peñarol, he scored a lot from outside the box and also took care of all the set pieces: free-kicks, corners and even penalties. It won’t be long before Fede takes care of that at Madrid. I’m sure of it. You’re going to see for yourselves in Spain,” Gonçalves told Marca from Montevideo, after watching Valverde’s superb goal against Sevilla on Saturday.
“Since he was 14-15 years old, he’s been used to taking responsibility in that sense, but at Madrid, he’s not yet been given that kind of responsibility. When they do, Valverde’s goalscoring figures will be even greater. This season, at Madrid, he has only taken four free-kicks. They won’t let him take any more.”
At the South American Under-17 Championship in Paraguay in 2015, the tournament in which Real Madrid convinced him to sign, he scored seven goals, behind only the tournament’s top scorer, Brazil’s Leandrinho, now at Red Bull Bragantino, who scored eight.
The top-scoring Valverde is on his way to proving Carlo Ancelotti right, who bet his ‘career’ that the Uruguay international would score more than 10 goals. He has seven in all competitions this season. “I’ve taken a big gamble, because last year he only scored one. I rarely bet with players, to be honest,” said the Italian coach after the Uruguayan’s seventh goal.
Valverde’s attacking impact has been spectacular this season. He is the third player with the third-highest offensive output, behind only Vinícius and Rodrygo. The Uruguayan has scored seven goals between La Liga and the Champions League and has provided two assists. He has been directly involved in nine of Los Blancos’ 38 goals. Vinícius has scored seven goals and provided five assists, and Rodrygo has five goals and five assists.