Real Madrid: Could Raul Jimenez fit Zidane’s system?

Mexican striker Raul Jimenez has made a name for himself with Wolverhampton, as one of the scoring leaders of the Premier League, which has sparked the interest from Real Madrid.

Real Madrid is in something of a difficult moment. Or at least what qualifies as one for the biggest club in the world, under the leadership of French legend Zinedine Zidane. Their status as the absolute top of European club soccer is under severe threat, as they were facing elimination in the Champions League’s Round of 16 and were trailing Barcelona in La Liga before the season halted.  Los Blancos were looking at the possibility of a second consecutive season without a major trophy.

However, they’re still an evergreen contender and a financial powerhouse, even as the coronavirus break is making all teams reconsider their future moves. One of the most promising could be the inclusion of Mexican attacker Raul Jimenez, who has recently declared that he is open to the possibility of joining the Spanish giant.

Jimenez has become one of the finest offensive players of the Premier League in the last two seasons. His performance with the Wolverhampton Wanderers has been staggering, finding the net a total of 22 times in 44 matches. His vertical, physically-driven attacking style has surprised the English competition’s commentators, which has inevitably called the attention of the truly big clubs.

Zidane, in definite need of a more effective offense, has shown interest in the former Club America star, but questions have arisen on whether he could fit this specific playing configuration. But despite having the compete against recent signing Luka Jovic for the position, there are enough reasons to believe that Jimenez could definitely feel at home with Los Merengues.

For starters, his speed and vertical threat are noteworthy. He’s not only a penalty-area forward, but he can also generate from behind, and he’s particularly dangerous when given significant open space, creating options for himself and his teammates. And when he reaches the area, he can shoot with both left and right, which could further boost his lethality in Zizou‘s tactics. Besides that, he’s quite efficient with the head as well.

He’s also famous for his enormous physical sacrifice, and his ability to come out in the clutch. He could open a lot of possibilities for the Madrid skipper, as his style is heavily centered on adequate positioning and a certain “sixth sense” when it comes to positioning dynamics.

Real Madrid is also looking at Jimenez as an attractive signing for his accessible transfer value. He’s currently worth around €50 million, which is very appealing considering that this is a Premier League top-10 scorer. It’s ten million less than what they already paid for Jovic, whose performance has been underwhelming so far.

There is an added value to Raul Jimenez, something that is very important for a team that relies on global brand presence: He’s incredibly popular in his home country. Mexico is one of the biggest consumers of soccer, and the numerous fans of Real Madrid in the nation can be counted by the millions. Jimenez stands out as one of Mexico’s most important athletes today, the main reason most kids in the country even know Wolverhampton in the first place.

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND – MAY 04: A Wolverhampton Wanderers fan is seen holding a Mexican Wrestling mask prior to the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Fulham FC at Molineux on May 04, 2019 in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

And having Jimenez as a Blanco would be the perfect continuation of a legacy of Mexican strikers in the club. Four decades ago, Mexican fans witnessed the rise of Hugo Sanchez, a young superstar from Pumas UNAM, in the Spanish competition. We cheered and celebrated his achievements, which include conquering the pichichi trophy 5 times, and every game was a national event. It was the beginning of our long infatuation with European club soccer, and it was the moment so many paisanos became Madrid fans.

Having Raul Jimenez at Real Madrid would be tremendously important for Mexicans culturally. Millions of kids who aspire to one day become professionals themselves could point this moment as a source of inspiration, just like Sanchez’ stellar run in the ’80s was for the previous generations.

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