While reading Real Madrid‘s starting lineup Saturday against Malaga, one surprising change came up front in the form of Karim Benzema being benched and replaced by 20-year-old Alvaro Morata. This decision by Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti could have mostly been motivated by the under-21 Spanish international’s improving form during recent international breaks, combined with the underperforming of the Frenchman.
Last season, Los Blancos had the dilemma of rotating Benzema and Gonzalo Higuaín, proving only to upset both strikers. The Argentine striker eventually left to Napoli in the summer, searching for a club that would value his goal-scoring qualities. This left Karim with the striker position his for the taking as he was guaranteed to start every game and mature further as a player.
Nonetheless, Benzema’s lack of form for both club and country has shown that he is clearly the problem and not the formula.
Morata’s late-game substitutions have shown key game-changing moments and have often decided games. Also, his performances for Spain‘s youth teams, where he scored at least a goal per game, means he deserves to be considered for the starting position up front.
Against Malaga on Saturday, Morata did not disappoint. He did not score, but his mobility involved players from a deep position, allowing the wingers to move forward. The 20-year-old also kept the ball using his 6-foot-3 build to block out the opposing defenders, something Benzema is still not able to master.
Morata’s involvement in impressive attacking play means he should appear again in the near future and is starting to worry the French international striker. With the Champions League match against Juventus in midweek and El Clasico on Saturday, Ancelotti has a striker he can trust to improve his attack.