Only a quarter of an hour had passed, but Joselu was already desperate.

Real Madrid were 1-0 down to an early Real Sociedad goal, and about 10 minutes into the visitors’ opener, the striker was hurriedly wandering around the opposition penalty area.

Suddenly, Joselo’s brother-in-law and teammate Dani Carvajal burst into the penalty area, dragging the goalkeeper before cutting the ball into the middle. Joselu’s shot bounced off the crossbar and the Madrid fans sighed. Joselu put his hands to his face; He knew he wouldn’t get any more opportunities like this.

In the stands, his family was present at the Bernabéu as usual. They also threw their hands over their faces. “He’s obviously not a striker like (Karim) Benzema, he’s a player with a more penalty-area-focused profile, but he’s adapting,” a relative of Joselu admitted with complete honesty. The athlete.

After the muscle injury suffered by Vinicius Junior about three weeks ago, Carlo Ancelotti began betting on Joselu as a partner for Rodrigo in attack, a decision that was not only logical, but also inevitable. “What do you want? Resigned sources said about the Italian that he had no other options The athlete Before the international stop.

But instead of looking longingly at Benzema’s locker in the dressing room – there is now a gaudy plasma TV where he hung the Frenchman’s number nine shirt – Ancelotti saw something different in his new number 14. The Real Madrid manager kept to his new scheme, which is a 4-4-2 with Jude Bellingham as the link between midfield and attack, but with Rodrigo on the left and Joselu on the right.

And two weeks ago against Getafe, the pieces started to come together. Joselu’s clever move was key to Real Madrid’s equalizer and winner – Bellingham’s late goal to make it 2-1.

During that match, it was clear from how the two interacted on the pitch that Joselo and Bellingham got on well. “I talk to him a lot because I learned English when I was playing in the English Premier League,” Joselu said shortly afterwards in an interview with Diario AS.

On Sunday, against a tougher opponent in Real Sociedad, Joselu once again got a chance to show what he can do, another chance to confront his critics.

Being compared to club legend Benzema was always going to make things difficult for Joselu, but although some fans were initially disappointed by his arrival, he is an experienced striker (33 years old) who was the top Spanish scorer in La Liga last season, and has found the best player in the season. the world. Net 16 times for the relegated Espanyol team.

This point is often emphasized by those in the top offices at the Bernabeu, and despite some negativity, the club’s board have taken it for granted since the start of the summer that he will be of greater importance than expected.

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One moment on Sunday night provided the most definitive evidence yet to support all of this.

With the game tied at 1-1 in the second half, about half an hour before the end of the game, left-back Fran Garcia broke down the right flank and crossed to Joselu with a perfect cross. The 6ft 3in (190cm) striker rose into the box and fired a powerful header beyond the Real Sociedad goalkeeper.

Joselu celebrates (Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

He grabbed his shirt in celebration and knelt down in front of the cheering home crowd as Bellingham hugged him jubilantly. This gesture may have seemed more appropriate for a crucial Champions League match, but his reaction did not surprise those who know him, and who consider him a very passionate player.

“Seeeeluuuuuu, Seeeluuuuuu,” chanted the Santiago Bernabéu fans, who, despite the negativity in some quarters, seemed to have actually embraced him. Immediately after the goal, Joselu and Aurelien Tchoamini were substituted, and midfielders Luka Modric and Eduardo Camavinga came on.

On Sunday, there were times when Real Madrid appeared to be looking for Joselu as their first option to get up the pitch too quickly, meaning he was often forced to take too many risks in possession, and he missed six of his 13 passes. But he is still able to provide breathing room for his team when needed. Real Sociedad’s centre-back duo, Ruben Le Normand and Igor Zubeldia, certainly have no doubt about Joselu’s threat, marking him particularly keenly from set-pieces, but they can do nothing to stop his goal. He is now Real Madrid’s second-highest scorer with two goals this season, behind Bellingham’s five.

The season is still young, but the truth is that just as in Bellingham’s first weeks, Joselu is also living his own dream, helping Real Madrid lead La Liga with a perfect start with five wins from five.

(Top image: High-Resolution Sports Images/Getty Images)

    (Tags for translation)Real Madrid

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