Brahim Diaz is rated by Pep Guardiola and Zinedine Zidane but can barely get a game for Real Madrid… and after turning down a loan to Getafe, he’ll be forced to watch on again when his old club Man City visit the Bernabeu
- Brahim Diaz has only started one Copa del Rey game for Real Madrid this season
- The 20-year-old left Manchester City to join the Spanish giants in January, 2019
- He is likely to be a spectator when his old side visit in the Champions League
- Diaz is competing with four other players for a place in Zinedine Zidane’s XI
- He may regret turning down a loan move to high-flying Getafe last month
Brahim Diaz will be a spectator on Wednesday night when Real Madrid face Manchester City. The former City youngster will also be watching on television when Getafe face Ajax on Thursday in the Europa League.
He might have been involved for City if he had stayed, or for Madrid if his time in the Spanish capital had gone differently, or playing for Getafe in the Amsterdam Arena if he had accepted their offer to take him on loan this January.
Instead his career is on standby. A sensational talent who has stopped advancing because he just doesn’t play.
Brahim Diaz (second from right) has been a regular fixture on Real Madrid’s bench this season
Diaz (right) smiles during Real Madrid training with team-mate Lucas Vazquez on Tuesday
DIAZ IN 2019-20
Minutes played: 170
It’s been only one start all season for the player signed from Manchester in a deal worth £20million in January, 2019.
He seemed to have made a breakthrough this January when he scored in the Copa del Rey as Madrid beat Unionistas, but he was soon back out of the matchday squad.
He did feature again as a sub in the next round of the cup and got his first start in the quarter-finals against Real Sociedad, but defeat closed off that particular route to first team football.
Part of the problem is that he arrived after coach Zinedine Zidane took over. The French coach inherited the Malaga-born talent so there is less of a sense of obligation in terms of giving him minutes to justify his arrival at the club.
But more importantly there is simply too much competition. Even without long term injury victims Marco Asensio and Eden Hazard, Zidane has up to five players all fighting for the same position in the team.
Diaz battles with Ryan Sessegnon during a cup tie for Manchester City in November 2018
Zinedine Zidane takes off Diaz during a La Liga game with Real Betis at the end of last season
Gareth Bale, Lucas Vazquez, Vinicius and Rodrygo all want to be the wide forward playing off Karim Benzema. On a good day, Diaz is fifth in line.
Every time he plays he shows why Manchester City signed him and why Real Madrid came in for him but his path to the team looks permanently blocked and things will only get worse if and when Takefusa Kubo returns from his loan spell at Mallorca.
The 18-year-old Japan international was outstanding at the weekend, scoring one and being involved in the other two goals in Mallorca’s 3-3 draw with Real Betis. Loans do work. Asensio, Lucas and, albeit in another position, Fede Valverde and Casemiro all benefited from going to other clubs.
But Brahim prefers to follow the example of the young Brazilians Vinicius and Rodrygo, who have reached the first team without leaving.
Zidane advised Diaz to go out on loan in January and Getafe requested his services. The decision was left with the 20-year-old and he declined the opportunity.
Takefusa Kubo has shone on loan at Mallorca, while Diaz refused to join Getafe in January
Gareth Bale is one of a number of players battling for a starting position out wide under Zidane
Getafe are currently a European club playing in the continent’s second competition and vying for a place in the first. It’s hard to fathom why he did not fancy it.
In many ways his move to Madrid was always a head-scratcher – he was frustrated by not getting minutes at City and at Real Madrid it was always going to be at least as tough.
Real Madrid have not given up on him. They paid over £15m for him last January, with around £4.5m due in in add-ons if and when he starts totting-up appearances.
They are likely to suggest sending him out again next summer but now, under the sole management of his father Sufiel Abdelkader, and living the dream of training with his boyhood idols Isco and Sergio Ramos, he may decide he wants to remain at Valdebebas.
There might yet be some game time at the end of this season. He scored a fantastic goal against Real Sociedad in the penultimate game of last season, picking the ball up 35 yards out, dribbling it to the byline, before scoring from a tight angle.
But that chance in the team came largely because Madrid had nothing to play for in the run-in. It is unlikely to be the case this time.
Real Madrid signed Diaz in a deal worth up to £20million from Manchester City in January 2019
Diaz in action during Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey quarter-final defeat by Real Sociedad
‘Look at David Silva, he had to go out on various loans and learn before he could become established,’ said Pep Guardiola over a year ago when asked about losing the then 19-year-old.
Like Zidane, Guardiola rates Diaz, a player whose lightning-quick, two-footed style had impressed the City boss. But he had to let him leave.
‘I just want to work hard and with that the chances will come,’ he said in his presentation at Real Madrid.
‘I did not want to go anywhere else after Manchester City. My first choice was Real Madrid, my second choice was Real Madrid and my third choice was Real Madrid’.
That endeared him to supporters but on Wednesday night, when his current club face his former side, he will be watching the game with those fans a long way from the pitch and far from fulfilling his potential.
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