By 90Min
June 04, 2019

Real Madrid have completed the signing of Eintracht Frankfurt striker Luka Jovic for a fee reported to be in the region of £62m.

The 21-year-old will join a squad who had an underwhelming 2018/19 campaign, which saw them finish third in La Liga and fail to make it past the last 16 stage of the Champions League.

Assuming nothing comes of Karim Benzema's annual link with a move to every major club in Europe, Jovic will have to battle it out with the Frenchman for a starting spot in Zinedine Zidane's team.

Benzema scored 30 goals in 53 matches this season, while the Frankfurt forward bagged 27 in 48. These goal records suggests there is little to separate the pair. But come the start of next season, Zidane will not be able to sit on the fence and one of these men will be his first choice striker. 

With this in mind, let's take a look at the attributes of each player and see if we can decipher who might get the nod at the Bernabeu next season.


Shooting

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As touched on, the pair boast an almost identical goal scoring record, suggesting not much is between them in terms of shooting. Benzema's goal tally is not bettered by many in Europe, although a closer look at the statistics shows a potential weakness. Of his 30 goals this season, only one has been scored with his left foot, whilst 18 have come with his right and 11 with his head.

Jovic on the other hand has a much more even spread across his 27 goals. Nine of the Serbians goals this year have come with his supposedly weaker left foot, with 14 coming on his right and four with his head.

These stats suggest that while Jovic may not pose quite the same threat in the air, his ability to score with both feet and threaten defenders on either side gives him the slight edge.


Passing

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Karim Benzema's passing ability improved immensely during the time he spent alongside Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, as his two team mates would regularly find space in attacking positions. The 31-year-old's ability to pick them out was a big reason behind the club's success in recent years.

Luka Jovic has provided some wonderful assists this season, but passing is less integral to his game than other elements. As the focal point of the Frankfurt attack, it is usually his team mates looking to play him in, rather than the other way around.

Therefore, in terms of passing, it is Benzema who has to get the nod.


Dribbling

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Benzema's all-round striking prowess is a big reason behind Real Madrid's European success in the past five years, and his dribbling is just one of his many assets. His ability in tight spaces has proven effective throughout his career and this has not changed since entering his thirties.

Similarly, Luka Jovic's quick feet enables his to find spaces where others cannot and his dribbling often drags defenders out of position, allowing his team to take advantage. The 21-year-old's style of play is comparable to that of Luis Suarez, and dribbling is a key part of why he has performed so well this season.

Jovic has a slight edge in terms of dribbling, and taking into account Benzema's age, the gap between them in this department is likely to get wider in the next few years.


Hold-Up Play

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With so many talented attackers at Madrid, the striker's ability to bring others into play is as important as their own individual contribution to a game. Benzema has mastered this art during his time at the Bernabeu, and his link-up play in attack has enabled him to notch 30 assists across his previous three campaigns. 


Jovic recorded just six assists this season, suggesting link up play may be an area of the 21-year-old's game that has yet to be really polished. That said, the Serbian international has been part of a free-flowing Frankfurt side this season, and is by no means just a one trick pony of a striker.

However, Benzema's hold up play is almost unrivalled in European football and it is no shame in Jovic losing out in this one. 


Potential

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At 31, you may be forgiven for thinking Benzema's best days are behind him. However, having just recorded his joint second best goal tally in his career, he may argue otherwise. The Madrid stalwart has never relied on his pace and has usually found the net through his positional nous, which suggests he may have a few years left in the tank still.

The same argument does not need to be made for Jovic, who had his breakthrough year this season, bagging 27 goals - ten of those coming in the Europa League. Following his transfer to Madrid, the 21-year-old has the world at his feet and will be desperate to continue in this season's vein for his new club in 2019/20.

Despite the fact that Madrid's top scorer may still have some energy left for the next few years, there can only be one winner in this category - Luka Jovic.


Overall

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After analysing their shooting, passing, dribbling and hold-up play abilities, as well as their potential to improve, it is Luka Jovic who comes out on top at 3-2.

Despite the narrow victory in this head-to-head, Zidane's job of choosing between the pair next season will still be incredibly difficult. Both players are at crucial points in their career, where neither will want to spend much time on the bench, and Zizou will need to manage the veteran and the new boy very carefully.

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