Real Madrid: When will Luka Jovic reach his true potential?

Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic could be facing an important season as he aims to prove that he was worth Los Blancos investment.

Last summer, Real Madrid spent 60 million euros on striker Luka Jovic, who immediately became the backup to Karim Benzema after scoring a whopping 17 Bundesliga goals and 10 Europa League goals in the 2018-2019 season for Eintracht Frankfurt.

Given the price tag of his transfer and his goal-scoring rate in one of Europe’s top five leagues and a continental competition, expectations were high for Jovic. But lost in the expectations was the reality of Jovic’s situation.

Could Madridistas realistically expect a 22-year-old striker in his first season at the Santiago Bernabeu to score even 10 goals in the league campaign?

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Was it realistic to place any expectations on Jovic, who was always destined to receive rare minutes behind club legend Benzema? And note that in the first half of the season, Benzema wasn’t far behind Lionel Messi as La Liga’s best attacking player.

Jovic thus never had a chance to be a highly productive player in his rookie season with Real Madrid.

The Serbian international didn’t even play in 400 minutes in La Liga, which eventually frustrated fans in the second half of the season when it was clear that the previously-sparkling Benzema needed a bit of a break.

While it is entirely unfair to criticize Jovic for his underwhelming statistics in 2019-2020 when he actually played well if you account for his lack of minutes, it is true that Jovic will eventually have to prove that he’s capable of being Real’s future No. 9.

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Because if he can’t, Los Blancos will move forward with their pursuit of Erling Haaland in 2021 or 2022.

At 22, Jovic still has time, but when it comes to his chances to prove himself in Spain’s capital, that window is shorter than the one provided by his age alone.

Haaland will be wanted by top clubs like Juventus, Barcelona, and PSG eventually, meaning Real Madrid would have to move quickly for him. Or if they do end up signing an even better player in Kylian Mbappe, they could make him Benzema’s successor at striker.

The 2020-2021 season is thus a major one for Jovic, but the problem for the 22-year-old is that Benzema isn’t going anywhere. With a healthy Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio, as well as an in-form Isco, Benzema could be as dangerous as ever.

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That said, what benefits Jovic is the increased need for the team to evaluate him, as well as the increased need for rotation.

The rest of the 2019-2020 season will test players, and it seems physically unfair to have so many games in such a short span of time. To manage this, teams will need to rotate more than ever, and Real Madrid can use this to help young players like Jovic.

He’ll miss time with a fractured foot that puts him behind the curve, but when he returns, he’ll be hungry to prove himself. This is make-or-break for Jovic. But looking at what he did in the Bundesliga and Europa League, the maturing Jovic is fully capable of starting to live up to his potential as early as 2020-2021 if given that chance.

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