Daniel Carvajal Ramos who is commonly known only as Daniel Carvajal was born in Leganés, which is a city in the Community of Madrid and the capital of Spain, 28 years ago and has joined Real Madrid academy when he was 12.
Carvajal, who is playing in the first team of Real Madrid in La Liga since 2013/2014, after went on a loan to Bayer 04 Leverkusen for one season. He came back to contribute to his team’s achievements, which brings us to this season when they were crowned the Spanish champions.
Through this tactical analysis, we will try to review what the Spanish player has provided tactically and some statistical improvement with his team this season.
Carvajal is one of the best full-backs in European leagues who plays on the right side, with great intensity and balance between the defensive side and the attacking role, and one who can contribute in the team system with or without the ball.
The Spanish international defender is very flexible with his team tactics under coach Zinédine Zidane who is ued to playing with 4-3-3 formation, which changes to 4-1-4-1 during the games, and we will try to see his positioning in the next picture.
Here we can notice his positioning as a right-back, where his team apply the high-pressure in 4-1-4-1 shape, and Daniel moved horizontally with the left-winger from Athletic Bilbao to mark him and not to allow the chance for facing Thibaut Courtois.
Carvajal moves vertically all-time on the right side, as a good balance between both sides, with thrust energy, precisely when he possesses the ball and is launched towards the opponent’s defensive third, as we will see in his heat map.
Here we can see Daniel movements vertically like a channel between Real Madrid penalty area and the opponent’s side, with great ability on the ball control.
Besides his position and movements, however, Daniel has clear defensive capabilities that have kept him at the high level for many seasons.
Daniel has a distinctive defensive style as a right-back, as he benefits from his physical strength, he presses the ball carrier on one side and tries to approach the opponent’s players on the left side of them.
Carvajal is a good full-back on the defensive level, as he has a ratio of interceptions to the ball during a single match of 0.9, which is a good average for a defender in the side.
He is always focusing on the movement of the opponent’s player who is close to him and taking into consideration the location of the ball and the possibility of passing it towards one of the main targets, as he can cut the pass before it reaches the danger areas, as we will notice during the next examples.
Here the ball with the Levante player on the left side of the Real Madrid team preparing to play the cross, and we notice Daniel moving horizontally with Jose Luis Morales to spoil the opportunity to shoot or possess the ball.
Here, because of his privileged position, he managed to cut the ball that Morales was about to exploit and shoot, and this is due to his good movement and positioning.
Daniel exerted high pressure this season in the league competitions over his rivals in 442 times, including 206 in the middle third, 93 in the offensive third and 143 in the defensive third.
Here we can see Daniel play man-marking with Antoine Griezmann to prevent him from receiving the ball in the right flank when Barcelona were in the build-up phase when Ter Stegen had the ball and wanted to play a vertical pass.
Here we see Daniel moving vertically and cutting the goalkeeper’s pass towards the French striker, which contributed to Real Madrid’s launch in a counter-attack as a result of pressure.
Daniel has a counter-pressing recoveries ratio up to 3.79 per game, which helps the team a lot when he leaves the ball to the opponent and relies on the pressure throughout the field on the ball carrier, which is one of the player’s strongest defensive features.
Carvajal possesses great defensive ability and also possesses an outstanding ability in tactical awareness.
Carvajal’s tactical awareness
Moving in the field vertically and horizontally continuously, specifically without the ball, to pressure the opposing player who has the ball or even move to free pockets of space to become a solution for colleagues to receive the ball is greatly underrated. And those are the things that distinguished Carvajal from many of those who have played in the right-back position in recent years.
Daniel has a great ability to monitor the ball and know the direction of passing the opponent’s players, due to his tactical awareness, which makes him react quickly and put pressure on the holder or receiver of the ball.
It is difficult for the opponent’s players to run to space when receiving the ball. It is Daniel’s task and this is what we can observe in the coming examples.
Here, the Villarreal defender makes the header pass to the midfielder Frank Zambo Anguissa to break the first pressure line from Real Madrid, but we notice Carvajal watching the national player receive the ball.
Here Carvajal puts pressure on the Cameroonian player and forces him to go towards the touchline to spoil the building process.
Carvajal has another great trait, which is covering the space horizontally inside the defence line in Real Madrid.
When Real Madrid lose the ball if the team builds the game from the back, the lines become open and the opposition can counter if they are not quickly cut out, causing danger due to the availability of space, as we will see in the next example.
Here we see Real Madrid losing the ball in the first third during the build-up phase, which led to the counter-attack from Villarreal, and we note the space between Sergio Ramos and Raphaël Varane, as well as the expected numerical superiority of the guest team, and we see Carvajal’s return quickly to fill the space.
Here we see Carvajal’s ability to reach at the right time and intercept the ball from Samuel Chukwueze, and this contributed to a return to possession and starting a fast attack.
Daniel is one of the most important players in the formation of Real Madrid in recent seasons, and this is not only because he is a good defender, but he can support the offence and become an effective playmaker.
Carvajal has affected the attack during the past seasons with Real Madrid, specifically on the level of goal-making, which creates a qualitative solution in the last third through the progression of the full-backs.
Daniel has four crucial assists this season during the Spanish League, besides scoring a goal, as he has an expected assist (xA) ratio of 0.12, which is a good number as a defender, as he tries to support in the last third permanently, as we will notice during the next example.
Here we see Carvajal moving in the half-spaces between the back and the centre of defence for the Seville team to create a space to receive passes and play the cross.
Here we see his passing accuracy towards Karim Benzema, which made his team score the only goal of the match and win the match.
His correct cross pass ratio of 32% is a point of strength in the Spanish player’s key passes, but breaking into the opponent’s penalty area with an impulsive force is also special, in addition to having a percentage of progressive runs up to 2.12 in the match.
Here we see Carvajal having the ball with Villarreal’s defensive organization but looking to penetrate the space, he will pass to Casemiro and run towards that danger area.
Here we see Carvajal’s ability to either shoot and score or pass vertically to Gareth Bale, which is what happened and the goal was scored.
Daniel has many solutions in the last third, where the percentage of successful dribbling is 60%, which helps him in the 1v1 situations greatly and is considered a wonderful individual solution that resembles a skilled winger.
Carvajal has a success rate of 53% in offensive duels, and this also gives him an advantage over any right-back in the team, which explains not to use Álvaro Odriozola or keep Achraf Hakimi.
However, despite Carvajal’s tactical awareness and offensive and defensive capabilities, his performance is marred by some points that must be improved.
His Potential Issue
In this analysis, we saw a lot about the player’s positive potential, which gives his team strength in many situations, but he has some potential problems in his performance.
He has a win rate in the air duels this season in La Liga that reaches 0.9 per match, This makes matters difficult in the occasional crosses on Real Madrid’s line of defence, which are mostly focused on the side where Carvajal is located for that same reason, as we will notice.
Here we see Daniel leaving Real Sociedad’s player behind, which is a mistake that gives preference to the striker to move in space.
Here Carvajal loses the duel in the air, causing the ball to go to the next from behind and score a goal.
There is also another matter which is the large number of yellow cards, as Carvajal gets 11 yellow cards this season in the Spanish League, which is a large number for a defender.
Carvajal is one of the most important Real Madrid players. This is true, but he has to avoid some of the issues resulting from the lack of focus in some matches.
In this scout report, we tried to showcase the great defensive style, tactical awareness and the attacking ability for Carvajal as he contributed to his team winning the league over Barcelona, with some points that should be improved for the player.