Santiago Solari he was one of the very few players that, being on the squad, He dared to publicly express his discrepancy in the vision imposed by President Florentino Pérez in Madrid. It happened in February 2003, when the sports policy undertaken under the slogan of Zidanes and Pavones populated the team of superstars and immature youth, relegating to a residual position the good professionals with experience and trade that, like Makelele and Hierro, would end up being transferred months later. Asked about it in full tension between the dressing room and the board, Solari thought a lot about the answer before pronouncing himself. "In my opinion," he said, "this is a policy that is difficult to apply; because it eliminates the middle class, the support fabric of the teams that play three tournaments a year ".
It is surprising that Solari has become, 16 years later, the coach for whom Florentino Pérez has bet to get the team out of the pot. What is not strange is that the first major crusade of the technician has been to convince the president of the importance of Lucas Vázquez.
The identification of Solari with the soccer player was immediate. Versatile and clever to associate, the 27-year-old Galician midfielder reproduces features of Solari in Madrid galactic. It is the most perfect exponent of the new middle class. He goes almost unnoticed by the press, managers and fans, but his colleagues always find him where they need him most. Much of the recovery of Madrid after the disaster that ended with the 5-1 of the October classic is attributed to his tireless contribution. The going of the Cup classic awarded him with the honor – the visibility – of putting the 1-0. The next 27 at the Bernabéu, that goal will be the grip of the team to try to go to the final.
The presence of Lucas and Carvajal, both outside the starting lineup on the day of 5-1, explains the change in the game of Madrid and the response of Barça. Like the river that is channeled where it encounters fewer obstacles, in the league classic Barcelona concentrated its attack on the right flank of Madrid, while in the Cup duel it attacked mainly the left. Lucas and Carvajal acted as dike.
According to the meters of the Opta agency, which divide the field into a three-channel scheme, on October 28, Barcelona distributed 46% of its advances in the Madrid field through its left channel, mainly through Alba, Coutinho and Suárez, authors of the plays of 1-0 and 2-0. On Wednesday, Barça was again deployed with Alba, Coutinho and Suarez in their left third, but this time they failed to star in the attacking plays, which were turned in by 37% on the right, 32% by the center and only one 30% for the left third. There, Carvajal, Lucas and Modric offered greater resistance to Alba and Coutinho that Marcelo, Vinicius and Kroos to Semedo and Malcom. Of the eight assists of Barça that ended in a shot against Keylor's goal, seven came from the left side of the Madrid defense.
The production of Coutinho and Suárez-accomplices since they met at Liverpool-collided with the dynamism of Lucas and Carvajal, constantly attentive to close pass lines to rivals and to generate them to teammates. If Coutinho and Suarez in the league finished once, they scored a goal, they made 100 passes, they put ten centers and tried five dribbles, in Cup they finished once, they did not score, they gave 91 passes, they put five centers and tried a dribble.
"Lucas has the virtues that I value most about the Spanish character: he is supportive and courageous", answered Solari when they asked him why he was so confident. With the new coach Galician has played more minutes than Kroos, Casemiro, Isco and Asensio. In the second part of last season, with Zidane something similar happened. On the way to the Thirteenth, the French coach gave Lucas more minutes as a midfielder than Kovacic, Isco and Asensio.
None of the professional analysts who anonymously assess players for big clubs have been surprised by the election. Those who have been consulted respond by warning about the distinction that separates the show from the competition. There are players, they say, more appreciated by the entertainment industry than by soccer professionals, such as Isco, and players who, without being capable of technical genius, achieve more market value than the virgueros, since they present qualities such as reactivity, aggressiveness , the good reading of the game, the constancy in the movements without the ball and the regular competitive predisposition, requirements that, in the long term, have more weight in the championships. Lucas is an example of all this in the world of scouts.
Equipped with a toolbox that always helps you to help your colleagues, Pillory, as his friend Sergio Ramos nicknames him, was one of the most appreciated footballers in Madrid's locker room long before Solari arrived. In the last month, in addition, he has managed to convince the president that this is an exceptional case. On Wednesday at Camp Nou, the invisible courage of Lucas Vázquez deserved – under the circumstances – even the substitution of Gareth Bale.