As the calendar year draws to a close, Real Madrid centre-back Eder Militao can look back on it and feel content, having established himself as a key player at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu and proved many doubters wrong.
The Brazilian looked to be rather on the outside of things a year ago, but in every crisis, there is an opportunity and in January 2021 he rose to the challenge and hasn’t looked back since. Fast forward almost 12 months and from rumours about a departure, now there is talk about a new contract for the defender who is untouchable in Carlo Ancelotti’s eyes.
The former Porto man’s Real Madrid career kickstarted on April 3 of this year, as he was a key part in Los Blancos’ excellent defensive record that got them back into the title race. Having only played 26 games for the club before that date, Militao has since played 39 of Real Madrid’s last 40 games.
In those 39 games with Militao in the team, Real Madrid have lost just three times. His own turnaround in fortunes have also brought about more positive results for the team and that record has helped put Los Blancos top of LaLiga Santander going into the new year.
Militao-Alaba: Kings of the backline
After the attacking duo of Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior, the defensive pairing of Militao and David Alaba has perhaps been the most important partnership for Ancelotti’s Real Madrid this season. In their 19 games together, Los Blancos have won 15, drawn three (Villarreal, Osasuna, Cadiz) and lost just one (Sheriff).
More impressively still, in those 19 games, Real Madrid have kept 11 clean sheets and conceded just nine goals in total. With Alaba and Militao on the pitch together, Los Blancos have only trailed on the scoreboard for 67 minutes this season.
Winning over the Bernabeu
In the summer there had been fears for Real Madrid’s defence this season, bereft of stalwarts Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, but the new guard have stepped in and earned the approval of the Bernabeu faithful.
Militao hasn’t silenced his doubters, he has them on their feet applauding him.