We’ve all come to know over this season just who Matija Nastasic and Raphael Varane are. We all know they play for the two billionaire super-clubs Manchester City and Real Madrid, but who is the better footballer?
In this article I will go detail for detail, statistic for statistic, to see who the best upcoming center-back in the world truly is.
Firstly, a bit about the players, an informative bio as such.
Both players are currently 19. Yes, only 19, and with only a month separating them in age, there can be no arguments to development and experience between them.
Starting with Nastasic: Nastasic signed for current Premier League Champions City on deadline day in August 2012. The fee is reportedly around a €15million+Stevan Savic, who was exchanged as part of the deal. Nastasic made his City debut in the massive clash with Real Madrid at the Bernabeu (in which Varane also played). Nastasic has gone on to make 16 appearances for City.
Varane signed for Madrid in June 2011 for a smaller fee than Nastasic’s of around €10million. Varane’s debut came the September after signing in a 0-0 clash with Racing Santander. Varane’s first goal for Madrid made him the youngest foreign player, at 18 years and 152 days, to score a goal in a competitive match for Real Madrid. He has gone on to make 18 appearances for the club.
As we know, the two have faced each other before, such as the madness of the first Madrid vs City clash of the group stages in this season’s Champions League. Real Madrid won the game 3-2 due to two astounding late goals from Benzema and Ronaldo. Both players played the full 90 minutes and there wasn’t much to say for either of them, both picking up an average rating of 6. Few analyse that Benzema’s 87th minute equalizer was down to Nastasic’s poor marking and concentration, however, nothing can be taken away from the spectacular goal.
So, now that’s out of the way, let’s get down to the analysis.
Nastasic, as a center-back is touted to be much like that of Mats Hummels: technically brilliant. Technically, Nastasic possesses the ability in which many defenders are unable to, the likes of complete control, steady-headed awareness on the ball, and sublime passing are all attributes he, undoubtedly, has.
Nastasic is that of an increasing breed of technically enhanced defenders. Along with his technical ability, his defensive qualities and experience for a 19 year-old are that most never obtain. His demanding physical presence strikes fear into the attackers who he marks. Body-to-body, not many will win the battle against him. He is extremely agile for a center-back and has adapted to the clinical strikers, who possess next-level turning abilities. His defensive stance makes him hard to take on, treading back while facing the attacker proves almost inevitable to pass.
His tactical astuteness is another benefactor to his co-center-backs. Being so adaptable and maneuverable, Nastasic’s maturity to rotate positions is by far extreme examples of quality versatility. As well as being physically adept, he is also vocally; Nastasic is not one to buckle up and stay shut, he let’s his compatriots know of threats and runs through the midfield area, giving them chance to quickly lock down any goal threats.
However, as every human being and footballer player alike, weaknesses are valid. Nastasic’s main drop-down, is his inability to concentrate. The player, becomes lazy and distracted. Although young and obviously inexperienced – his schoolboy errors of dropping in concentration are no excuses for the level of football he plays week-in, week-out. His mentality seems to be what drops him down from being an all round complete defender right now. Physically and technically he’s rising to be the best. However, mentally, he’s dropping equal to that of the lower divisions.
Click here to view Part 2 of this article.
Written by Trequartister