Joselu is much more than just a Newcastle flop - he's key to Real Madrid's trophy hunt this season

Joselu Real Madrid 2023-24Getty Images

Prior to the second half of Real Madrid's eventual 3-1 loss to Atletico Madrid on Sunday, Carlo Ancelotti surveyed his bench. He peered over an admittedly thin unit, but an elite one nonetheless. He could call on midfielder Aurelian Tchouameni, No.10 Brahmin Díaz, or the dynamic Dani Ceballos.

Instead, with his team trailing, and the need to change the game, Ancelotti introduced a gangly, 6’3, 33-year-old striker: Joselu. He is not the archetype of human, never mind elite footballer, to change a contest of such magnitude. But it wasn’t exactly a poor selection from Ancelotti, either. Madrid were markedly better with the big striker in the second half, creating more chances, registering more shots, and enjoying a larger percentage of possession in the Atletico defensive third. Joselu did little to change the result, but Madrid’s performance undoubtedly improved.

The presence of this anti-Galactico has bolstered Madrid on a number of occasions already this season. Joselu is not a big-money signing who will break any records, or sell many shirts. But he is, undoubtedly, a presence, a player who will at the very least make things awkward for the opposition. And for a Madrid side lacking an attacking focal point, it's an invaluable attribute, as well as a fulfilment of a lifelong dream for a former Madridista whose career threatened to careen off course along the way.

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