Real Madrid is a club on the rise in the past couple of weeks. Beating one of Europe's strongest defensive teams, Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano is no small feat, and Solari's men did it with three goals.
Solari is now known for his ruthlessness in terms of player selection. He did not hesitate to bench Zidane's key men that were vital in winning the Champions League last season. The likes of Bale, Marcelo, and Keylor Navas now sregularly wait for their turn on the bench. On the other hand, several underrated squad members rose to prominence.
Thanks to Solari, it is no secret that Madrid is becoming full of talented young players who are regularly starting important matches. Now we will take a look at the three players who many did not expect to become Madrid's dominant player, but who have played a vital role nonetheless.
#1 Vinicius Junior
Vinicius Junior's transfer is perhaps the biggest gamble for Florentino Perez in the summer transfer window. He has considerable talent but not many people expected him to become Real Madrid's regular starter this soon.
Many doubted that Vinicius could even make it at Bernabeu after he was assigned to play for Castilla (Real Madrid's youth team) after he had no starts under Julen Lopetegui, playing less than 15 minutes when the Spaniard was taking charge.
Vinicius' change of fortune came when Santiago Solari took over as head coach. The Brazilian youngster is gradually becoming more and more important for Real Madrid, and now he could even omit Gareth Bale from the starting position. Vinicius was regularly named in Madrid's starting XI in his last 10 matches, scoring two goals in the process.
#2 Lucas Vazquez
Lucas Vazquez rarely got game-time under Julen Lopetegui. Already having a mixed season in Zidane's tenure, he even seemed to be on the verge of leaving the Bernabeu when Lopetegui was in charge.
Solari then started appointing Vazquez as Madrid's starter not long after the Argentinian became the head coach. Luckily, Solari's trust in the ex-Espanyol winger gradually paid off. Vazquez has now become one of Madrid's most important starters, netting several essential goals and assists in all competitions throughout the season.
#3 Sergio Reguilon
Several months ago, no one would believe that Sergio Reguilon could best Marcelo in Real Madrid's starting position. It is safe to say that the Spaniard youngster was unknown throughout Lopetegui and Zidane's tenure as head coaches. The first time he made a headline was perhaps when Sergio Ramos bullied him during training.
Fortunately, Solari is gradually giving chances to the young full-back and his trust is paying off. Now both Reguilon and Sergio Ramos are working side to side in Real Madrid's defence while Marcelo has been reduced as a Copa del Rey player. Reguilon's form has also been impressive, and he has played the full 90 minutes in Madrid's last four La Liga matches, assisting twice.Published 12 Feb 2019, 10:34 IST