Some of the worlds greatest players have a certain flair, like Phil Foden for Manchester City or bags of pace like PSG’s Kylian Mbappe. Both of these players have attributes that are instantly recognisable and easy to spot. Rodrigo Bentacur for Juventus certainly does not fall into this category. In this player analysis, we will quickly delve a little deeper to see who and how good Bentacur is.
Bentacur started his career with 2 years at Boca Juniors and was quickly tipped one of the hottest young prospects in South America. He caught the eye of Juventus, who then secured a deal for around £10.6 million along with Carlos Tevez.
Bentacur, is an unsuspecting engine or heartbeat within Juventus, usually sitting deep in midfield, behind 2 other players.
At 6’2 he is an opposing figure on the pitch and performs several primary jobs to a high standard. These are, to regain possession if lost in the middle as well as stopping through balls trying to find the path of a striker.
The picture below shows the opposition about to make a key pass with a potential chance on goal. What Bentacur (light blue 8) does brilliantly, is winning the ball back in what seems impossible situations. Here he slides in, wins the ball and immediately and starts the counter-attack.
But tackling and intercepting aren’t his only strengths. Bentacur has a range of passing skills from pinpoint through balls or accurate long balls to the flanks. These passes usually develop into goalscoring opportunities and Bentacur has done this repeatedly for club and country. He makes the link between defence and attack and is a key part to Juventus when they transfer back and forth between the two.
The picture above shows heat spots of his last game against Bologna. As you can see, he can sit quite deep and use his defensive skills. Additionally, he can get forward and provides support to the left or right flanks by moving inside the half spaces. It’s in these positions where he looks to block passing lanes and intercept the ball. Even if not completely successful he can sometimes manage to just get a foot to a fast moving ball thus, sabotaging a pass. This is due to his off the ball movement which is key and though he possesses fairly decent pace his positioning allows him to play at a slower tempo but just as effective. This is also probably one of the reasons why he never stands out in particular. He simply puts a ‘shift in’ and gets on with it.
Another strong attribute of Bentacur is his ability to shrug off determined challenges to dispossess him. He can stay on his feet and use his body weight and strength to advantage. Opposing players find him difficult to tackle once he has the ball and as he drives forward he always looks to pass a through ball to the strikers of wingers, initiating the attack.
Here is a short comparison showing what sets Bentacur apart from most defensive midfielders is his attacking ability. with 2 goals and 1 assist in 15 starts is remarkable, bearing in mind his primary job is that of a defensive nature.
All in all, Bentacur is a great prospect and it is always a pleasure to watch him play. As I said before, he is harder to spot as he just cracks on with the job at hand but is highly effective. An unsung hero. It will be interesting to see if he moves on for Juventus onto other teams. I for one would love to see him in compete in the Premier League.