Federico Valverde explains poor form since World Cup
Federico Valverde has confessed that Uruguay’s early elimination from the World Cup may have contributed to his poor form at club level with Real Madrid in 2023.
The midfielder arrived at the World Cup as one of the most in-form players in Europe but was unable to prevent a Uruguay side expected to do reasonably well crashing out in the group stage, with the South American nation finishing third behind Portugal and South Korea.
Now back with Real, Valverde has failed to contribute to a goal in his last 11 games across all competitions, with Los Blancos losing in the Supercopa final to Barcelona and also falling eight points behind their Clasico rivals in La Liga.
Asked if he could explain his downturn in form, Valverde admitted that Uruguay’s World Cup humiliation has taken a mental toll on him.
“The World Cup affected me,” he told the media. “When you go for a goal, you have such illusion and optimism that everything will go well with your country, you go with the dream of a child representing millions of people to try to go as far as possible and fighting to win, not being able to do it makes you sad. Everything we work on seems to have been of no use and it hurts.”
“It has to serve to continue improving my physical shape and to take certain opportunities. Good things don’t always happen in football and you have to know how to handle it.
“I arrived [at the World Cup] in very good form and It’s not the same now, but it’s part of football. There are always bumps and you have to continue with the same attitude to continue being important at Real Madrid, to be captain as I always wanted and, little by little, to return to my good performance.”
Valverde later added that each of his poor showings with Real has only added to his frustrations which, in turn, have left him feeling unable to show his best side.
“I try to enjoy myself on the pitch but when the results don’t come through and on a personal level either, it generates frustration and anger,” he said.
“I came out sad against Atleti and the same against Mallorca.
“We are very competitive, we always want to win and when I leave with a bad result I don’t want it to make me angry. I have to keep improving and learning because you can’t always win even if you work to win as much as possible.”
England will be considered failures if we don’t win Euro 2024
England defender Harry Maguire has revealed he will head to Euro 2024 with the mindset that anything less than winning the competition will be a failure.
The Three Lions have cemented their status as a strong tournament team over the last half-decade under the guidance of Gareth Southgate.
After reaching the FIFA World Cup semi-finals in 2018, England were only denied victory at Euro 2020 on penalties against Italy in the final.
There were high hopes that they could go all the way at the 2022 World Cup over the winter, but were narrowly beaten by reigning champions France in a hard-fought quarter-final.
England kicked off their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with a 2-1 win at Italy, and speaking to the press post-match, Maguire revealed his ambitions for glory in Germany next summer.
“I think for me, at my age as well, 30 years old now, I’m with a mindset of, ‘If we don’t win the tournament, it’s been a failure’,” he said.
“We’ve got to qualify first – I mean it’s a tough group, [but] we’ve come here and got an amazing result.
“But that’s my mindset. I’ve been at three major tournaments now and I’ve come so close. I believe we have the players to win it. We went into Qatar wanting to win the tournament. So ultimately, when we get knocked out, as a squad we’re disappointed. The performances were good, we kept the most clean sheets at the tournament, we were one of the top goalscorers despite going out in the quarter-final.
“I’m speaking on behalf of myself but I know from speaking to the other lads as well, they were really pleased that Gareth stayed [on as manager]. We’ve built something as a group and he’s been the leader of it. He’s been the one who’s given us hope and given us belief as a country to be successful in these major tournaments and, for sure, it benefits us for us for him to be in charge.
“These big tournaments are decided on the finest margins. We played really well in the World Cup and ultimately, we got knocked out by a good French team. A French team that we believe we can take on and if we play them ten times, we would give them a good game ten times and probably win more than we lose.
“However, they’ve proven over the years that they manage to get the job done better than England do. So it’s something that we’re working on. We have so much talent and so many young players coming through.”
Maguire recognised that England were simply beaten at the 2022 World Cup by a more experienced and successful international side in France.
Despite reservations over Didier Deschamps, the 54-year-old has an incredible tournament record – to have won one final and lost two others is a far better record than most other coaches in the history of football.
England hope to be on a similar path with Southgate, but as Maguire insisted, they need to win a tournament if they’re to be remembered fondly and without tinges of regret.
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