The Serbian only touched the ball 14 times before being taken off for Benzema in the first half. Real Madrid still don’t understand what Jovic is all about.
The only but for Real Madrid at La Romareda on Wednesday night was Luka Jovic. They dominated Real Zaragoza in the Copa as they start to mount a serious bid for the title. They did so, however, without getting the chance to understand their back-up striker any better.
The main statistic that showed off Jovic’s disconnect was his number of touches. He touched the ball just 14 times in 73 minutes before being taken off. That’s less than half the number of times Areola touched the ball (34). The Serbian gave seven passes, one every ten minutes. When the player closest to your goals touches the ball less than the player closer to theirs in a game you dominate, it’s bad news.
It’s not that Madrid need his goals. They have seen 10 different players score in January. They signed him for €60 million as a player seen to be half way down the road of becoming the finished product. At that price, he was expected to come in, absorb as much as he could from Benzema and then eventually take over. He is disconnected though and the worst is the rest of the team look uncomfortable with him in the side. They are used to Benzema’s ultra-mobile game.
“Jovic knows he has to work, he has to adapt… these difficult moments will make him come good,” was Zidane’s comment after the game. It sounds like Zidane is still behind him and he has defended him in the past. “He is the future, he will score lots of goals here,” he said in Saudi Arabia after another tepid performance from his striker.
Jovic is disconnected
The Jovic case is in contrast to his Eintracht Frankfurt days. At Madrid, he has scored once ever 748 minutes. With Frankfurt, he scored 18 goals including five against Dusseldorf (three with his left, one with his right and one with his head).
Those goals were in Hugo Sánchez style. Pim, pam, pim, pam, pum. The anthisesis of Benzema. Jovic is having trouble with the language (although Modric is helping) and on the field he goes into his shell. The 22-year-old remains a mystery that Zidane has to unravel.