The Spanish giants played Juventus at the Allianz Stadium in Turin, Italy on Tuesday and are sitting pretty on a 3-0 away win to take back to Madrid for their home leg. The win was a confidence booster with out a doubt but, it is short lived as the first choice center back Sergio Ramos picked up a yellow card suspension in the win and is now no longer available for the second leg.
Although most fans wouldn’t worry about being without just Ramos, Real’s third choice, Nacho, is out due to injury and won’t recover in time to play the second leg either. That leaves 21 year old, Jesus Vallejo, available for the starting spot. The suspension and injury to two of the first choice center backs has forced Real Madrid’s head coach, Zinedine Zidane, to give the youngster an opportunity in a big game where all eyes will be on him.
Despite coming off of a solid outing against Las Palmas in their last league game, where they managed a clean sheet, Vallejo still has a lot to prove. Battling through injuries himself all season long, he has a huge task ahead of him to stay fit and take care of himself to make sure he’s available for Zidane to choose on game day. Being given the opportunity to play at home with a three goal cushion under their belt should give Vallejo the confidence to prove he is a solid choice for not only now but for the club’s future as well.
Playing in these kind of high intensity, high stakes Champions League games has always proven to be much different than any other game. In July of 2015 is when Real Madrid first bought Jesus Vallejo’s services for 4.50mil euros, to help bolster their back line’s depth, and since then Zidane has made it clear that he is their to stay because he is their fourth choice center back. But now a young Vallejo has the chance he has been longing for to prove that he is the right man for the job. Due to the fact that he has been preparing for this very moment ever since his early playing career in Zaragoza, his loan spell at Frankfurt, and he most recently has been watching and learning under some of the worlds best, there should be no reason to worry.