Real Madrid midfield stalwart Federico Valverde has made it into the list of all things viral this week after being snapped looking at his teammate Karim Benzema’s Ballon d’Or trophy.
Pictures of Real Madrid training at their Valdebebas base that have been released on Friday show the Uruguayan unable to take his eyes off of the much-coveted prize.
Perhaps this picture on its own ordinarily would not have been as trendy as it is becoming had it not been for another picture that tells us a similar story.
An eerily similar picture of the 2014 Ballon d’Or nominees Toni Kroos, Sergio Ramos, and James Rodriguez alongside the winner of that year’s award Cristiano Ronaldo standing on the Bernabeu pitch with their respective awards has come to the fore.
This picture also shows the current holder of the award Karim Benzema applauding his teammates in the background with a beaming smile on his face.
Little did anyone, or for that matter, even Benzema himself would have known what he would end up achieving.
This correlation has led many fans to summarize that a similar fate might be on the cards for the 24-year-old Valverde.
While dreams of being a Ballon d’Or winner might seem far-fetched for a defensively inclined central midfielder in the modern age, his perceived potential certainly says otherwise.
Valverde has been described as being a hard-working lynchpin for the Real Madrid midfield, someone who is prepared to run his socks off and someone who doesn’t shirk his responsibilities in the middle of the park.
The mercurial midfielder also has a reputation for being unrelenting in-ground or aerial duals and has what one might call a ‘good engine’.
Good on the ball and alert off it, he also possesses quite a lot of versatility which has helped him be a key cog in the Los Blancos squad last season as they won the La Liga as well as the UEFA Champions League.
Apart from being a central midfielder covering the length of the pitch between either box, he has been mainly deployed as a defensive midfielder and a right-back under manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Valverde was signed from the Montevideo-based club Peñarol in the summer of 2016 under the first stint of Zinedine Zidane, mainly playing for the Real Madrid reserves before being loaned out the following summer to Deportivo La Coruña for a year.
He currently has 12 goals and 10 assists in 163 appearances in all competitions for Real Madrid and is contracted to the club until 2027, which should see his prime years being spent at the 14-time European champions.
Seeing that Real Madrid fans are used to seeing him tirelessly plug gaps all over the pitch, he seems to have already won them over despite his Ballon d’Or dreams being on hold for the time being.
Whether he ever wins it or not, anyone who has seen him play can only testify to his work ethic in glowing terms.