It was a breakthrough Saturday afternoon for Dani Ceballos, as the 21-year-old scored a memorable brace to hand Real Madrid a vital 2-1 victory against Alaves.
It was important for him to do well on his first start for the club, with those at Valdebebas seeing him as the natural heir to Luka Modric.
Modric was actually left out of Saturday’s encounter as the Croatian was rested ahead of the midweek clash with Borussia Dortmund, yet the Spaniard’s goalscoring exploits are sure to push him up the pecking order in Zinedine Zidane‘s thinking.
Ceballos’ natural ability has never been in any doubt, as he was exquisite in the summer’s European Under-21 tournament and rightfully won the best player award.
He was quickly added to Los Blancos’ collection of young stars and it has become increasingly clear that the sky truly is the limit for him.
A miniature transfer war began, with Barcelona having also attempted to sign him in the summer, but it quickly became clear though that the defending Spanish champions were willing and able to do whatever it took to secure Ceballos’ services.
In Modric, Zidane can count on a 32-year-old veteran of elite midfield play and what we are currently witnessing with Ceballos controlling play from a deeper position, whilst also maintaining his mobility, is something straight out of the Modric playbook.
The Croatian’s style has been unique for years, yet Los Blancos feel as though they are prepared for when Modric eventually departs, given their summer recruit.
The 2017/18 season will be one of development for the Spaniard and he will learn as much as possible from Modric and will take note of the nuances within his play.
This will prove to be an invaluable experience for the youngster, something that Zidane is acutely aware of.
There is an embarrassment of riches at Valdebebas at present and Ceballos’ display has seen him steal the headlines, yet it is worth remembering Mateo Kovacic is yet to come back from injury.
Kovacic started the campaign brilliantly and could also feel as though he is the future of the midfield at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
Competition for minutes was never a secret with Los Blancos, meaning that the former Real Betis star made a conscious choice and he is already proving that he is brave enough to take his chances.
With regards to talent, the defending European champions are comfortable for a little while yet.