Carvajal's feast in the Champions League final
George Valdano.
George Valdano.

magnifying glass on the side

Left-backs with a spectacular influence on the game passed through Real Madrid. Roberto Carlos comes to mind for all of us and we have just paid tribute to the great Marcelo, the latest and most brilliant examples. Neither of them, superior to Rafael Gordillo, a wonder less remembered because he is far from us. But it is appropriate in this article to talk about Gordillo. Great players passed through the right side of Madrid, but less brilliant. To save this disproportion, Carvajal ate the court in the Champions League final. Two weeks after that game, it is fair to put the magnifying glass on those players who had an outstanding role and, however, did not find a place of honor in the chronicles. Courtois as a savior and Vinicius as a conqueror stood in the way. But Carvajal played that game with a bloodshot look and, since he ate up the pitch, he continued to eat up Colombian Luis Diaz to finish off Diogo Jota when the Portuguese entered the field.

Occupation: Marker

Every time they put me in the unpleasant role of making Real Madrid’s ideal historical team, I put Chendo on the right side, less insistent and decisive than Carvajal in offensive terms, but an implacable defender whose victims were Maradona, Platini and, from there down, to anyone who stood in front of him. He was fast in short distance, so strong that, in the crash, he hurt you even with his soft parts and with a trade for the mark that made him impassable. But something else: he had the pride of the marker. As if being surpassed was not a possibility of the game, but an attack on his honor. With so many wingers converted to full-backs, you don’t see that breed of defender anymore. I coincided in Madrid with both Chendo, a scoring full-back, and Gordillo, an extreme full-back. Until, one day, the two were face to face.

Hand to hand

It was the day that Gordillo retired from football. Betis and Madrid agreed to pay him a great tribute. Nothing better than a match full of emotion at the Benito Villamarín between the two teams. A big day for Gordillo, who played for a while in each jersey amid an atmosphere of maddened gratitude. When Gordillo, in the second half, put on the Betis shirt, he found himself face to face with a problem called Chendo. The worst stone on the road. Chendo, who is a great guy, had to reconcile his human quality with his pride as a marker and found a good formula to honor the tribute without endangering his professional dignity: “Gordi”, he told him, “I let you receive and face, but pass you do not pass”. Gordillo, one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, answered in his own way: “What a heavy are. Your aunt will invite you to the next tribute.” But that night, pass, did not pass.

hand in hand 2

All this to conclude that, when the next heavy Asking me about Real Madrid’s ideal team, in addition to the usual problem I have in all positions, Carvajal has just created another for me: that of running for the best right-back. The two, with more than ten years in the club, marked an era. There is a difference that, rather than focusing on soccer quality, focuses on the evolution of the position itself: Chendo was a top scorer and Carvajal was a right winger. Each one, son of his time. Of course there are more applicants because, in 120 years of history, there are plenty of talents in all positions. Today I got into this mess voluntarily with no other desire than to pay tribute to two incomparable products of the quarry.

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