The Most Significant Addition

Real Madrid's newest addition will command the left side of the pitch

It can be hard to distinguish between good things that happen and great things that happen. It can be even harder to distinguish between the great things and what can be called the best. In the case of Real Madrid and its new signings, this distinction becomes nearly impossible. However, I believe that it can be made: the decision goes in favor of left-back Ferland Mendy, arriving from Olympique Lyonnais. Not the person you were thinking of? Let me defend myself.

All of Real Madrid’s new players will play crucial roles. Eden Hazard, who arrived from Chelsea, is obviously the crown jewel of the bunch; he’s already known as a generational player, a wizard with the ball at his feet, who will need to have that ball to do damage. Luka Jović, from Eintracht Frankfurt, will undoubtedly be the Merengues’ striker of the future, but he can’t score any goals without receiving passes. Éder Militão, former defensive stalwart of F.C. Porto, will likely be the center-back to replace the legendary Sergio Ramos when his career is over, but for now he will be just a reinforcement. And the Brazilian sensation, right-winger Rodrygo, who arrived from Santos in Brazil, has been reasonably compared to Neymar, but at just 18, no one is sure yet of how he’ll perform against top European competition.

So why is Ferland Mendy the most significant newcomer? To put it simply, he represents the most complete package, both attacking and defending, of any of the five signings so far. Also, he is the only one of the five who has the ability to adequately control the ball in every third of the pitch. In two years of professional play, he’s gone from little Le Havre in France’s Ligue 2 to seven-time Ligue 1 champions Lyon, and has taken the footballing world by storm. As an attacking left-back, he has drawn comparisons to the outstanding Brazilian Marcelo, who happens to play for Real Madrid and will represent Mendy’s competition.

In the end, we will see that Hazard and Jović both score more goals and have more assists than Mendy, but neither of them will be able to claim that they stopped as many scoring chances. They’re walking onto a rebuilding giant, one that’s recovering from the loss of one of the club’s most significant players ever, Cristiano Ronaldo, who moved to Juventus after nine years. They will all have to work together to reclaim Real Madrid’s throne.

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