There's a contingent of five right-backs, all patiently waiting to see if they can be the next No. 2 to step into the Spanish national team and take the place of Alvaro Arbeloa.
First up are the three M's; Celta Vigo's Hugo Mallo (21), Barcelona's Martin Montoya (22) and Atletico Madrid's Javier Manquillo (19).
Next comes Cesar Azpilicueta (23), who has been impressing with Chelsea in the Premier League, and then there is Dani Carvajal (21), making his name in the Bundesliga after being forced to flee from the Bernabeu last summer.
Carvajal, like the others, may have his eye on breaking into La Roja's record-breaking side, but his more immediate goal seems to be a return to the Spanish capital to first seize the shirt of Arbeloa at his club side.
The short-term pain of being flogged to Bayer Leverkusen for €5 million has been replaced by the long-term gain of a season's worth of first-team football in the league which has presented us with both of the Champions League finalists.
Leverkusen have gained from having the young Spaniard around too.
Sitting third in the Bundesliga, Champions League qualification seems a certainty and Carvajal—recently nominated for the best right-back in the league award—has heavily contributed to the success of Sami Hyypia's team.
Six assists—four more than Arbeloa has managed for Los Blancos—and one goal demonstrates his ability as an attacking full-back; a must in the modern day.
He can dribble like a winger and his passing—he's completed over 80 percent of his passes and averages 1.2 key passes every game (via WhoScored.com)—is both effective and reliable.
You won't get him under the Trades Description Act though, he's not merely masquerading as a right-back—he can defend too.
On average he has produced over three tackles, three interceptions—he reads the game particularly well—and three clearances in each Bundesliga match this season (via WhoScored.com), dwarfing the lesser figures of the current incumbent filling the same position in Jose Mourinho's side.
Carvajal has told Marca: "Yes, I would like to return one day [to Real]. They have an option to buy me back, too.
"I am trying to work the best I can here, to improve day-by-day and if one day they decide to exercise the option to bring me back, then I would accept it straight away."
If Madrid exercise the buy back after one season, they would have to pay €6.5 million for the homecoming. Next summer the price escalates to €7 million and the summer after that it would cost €8.5 million.
Even with Arbeloa, Los Blancos have lacked options at right-back this season—Michael Essien has often been offered as the other option. It seemed strange at the time to let Carvajal leave the club, with the benefit of hindsight it seems even stranger now.
At least they have a chance to put it right.
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