Carvajal, the best right-back in Real Madrid history?

21 Sep 2017

On May 12 2004, Dani Carvajal laid the foundation stone of the new Valdebebas training ground, alongside club legend Alfredo di Stefano, then honorary president of the club.

Since this ceremony he has been a big part of Real Madrid’s long history, the question now is: is Carvajal the best right-back ever for Los Blancos?

As far as titles go, Carvajal has already secured three Champions Leagues and one LaLiga, and so he has put himself into the discussion as a Real legend in his position.

The Spanish international has all of the ingredients for a modern day full-back; speed, good anticipation, aggressiveness, attacking quality and tactical discipline.

Comparisons are always difficult, particularly when comparing players whose careers have come across a seventy-year period. If the 1950s are used as a point of reference, Real had won five consecutive European Cups – but did not have a player comparable to Carvajal.

Time Tunnel

During those five European Cup wins, four different players played at right-back for Real, as part of a three-man defence. Rafael Lesmes, Torres, Angel Atienza and Marquitos, twice, all played in that role during this period of success.

As part of the sixth European Cup win, left-back Pachin was deployed on the right-hand side for the semi-final and final, but the most regular in the position back then was either Vicente Miera or Antonio Calpe.

The seventh European Cup saw Italian Christian Panucci at right-back, and the eighth with Michel Salgado as part of a five-man defence.

Although Carvajal has now won three himself, Real have had some notable players in the role historically, each playing a part in the history of the club.

Alongside those players already mentioned, in the 1960s, there was also Isidro Diaz – father of Quique Sanchez Flores – who himself played in the position under Jorge Valdano in the 1990s.

After Miera and Calpe, came Jose Luis Peinado, a wildcard that played in a number of positions. Tourino, Juan Cruz Sol of Valencia, San Jose and ‘Sandokan’ Juan Jose Camacho all had a time as right-back for the club.

Chendo

Chendo held the No. 2 jersey for ten years at the club, up to 1992, when Nando came into the squad and featured more regularly in the position. Luis Enrique then took up the role in the 1993/94 season during the reigns of Benito Floro and Vicente del Bosque, before passing the jersey on to Panucci for the 1996/97 season.

In total, Chendo was at Real for 16 consecutive seasons between 1982-83 and 1997-98, winning seven LaLiga titles, three Copa del Reys, two UEFA Cups, five Supercopa de Espanas and one Copa de la Liga.

Panucci was replaced by Michel Salgado, who became a consistent figure at right-back, but was only really challenged for the position by the arrival of Sergio Ramos some years later.

When Ramos then moved into central defence, it was Alvaro Arbeloa who stepped into the role, before it was taken up by its current incumbent- Carvajal.

Along the way there have been other names that have filled in within the position, but none have lasted very long; Vitor, Cicinho, Danilo are all names that temporarily played at right-back, prior to the eventual arrival of Carvajal.

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