Over the past years, Atletico Madrid has become known for their excellence in choosing defensive players and bringing great talents. Thanks to Diego Simeone, this happens inside and outside the Spanish League.
At the start of this season, the team signed the 21-year-old Brazilian defender Renan Lodi from the Atlético Paranaense team. He is used at the left-back position. Lodi has a contract that runs until the summer of 2025.
The Metropolitan team lost the presence of the distinguished duo who were active in the squad at the beginning of this season. Felipe Luis went to the Flamingo team, and World Cup champion Lucas Hernandez went to Bayern Munich.
In this tactical analysis, we will explain how Lodi gained the confidence of the technical framework to become the main player in the left-back position following a series of strong performances.
Renan Lodi has a very special task in Atletico Madrid’s defensive tactics but his positioning in the backline always takes into account the distance between him and the heart of the defender closest to him.
He also offers depth in Simeone’s rigid 4-4-2 system, with great awareness of the opposition’s winger that plays in front of him. Adding to that, Lodi follows a certain pattern of tactics to successfully shut down the attackers.
As we can see in this shot above when Mohamed Salah positioned himself high up the pitch, Lodi decided to get closer to the interior but also keeping an eye for the resurging Trent Alexander-Arnold in the Liverpool clash.
Perhaps it was this unique positioning that boosted his interception rate which reached 4.48 per game and his quick feet along with the audacity to engage the ball-carrier to make an intervention. After that, he turns defence into attack making him an excellent fit in the team.
Here we see Lodi watching a Villarreal player and as soon as he recognised the right moment, he engaged him in a duel, intercepting the ball before it can be advanced further up the pitch.
And this is extremely beneficial to Atletico Madrid, because of the team’s playing style. It means they can regain possession in the middle third or, at times, even higher and then immediately push into the final third of the field.
It’s also important to note that he is really secure in possession and good at simple passing despite only registering 78.2% accuracy in 2019/20. Thanks to his intensity and vitality, Lodi always becomes a solution for his teammates. Therefore, he moves around the whole pitch to receive a pass. With good positioning when he passes the ball and moves immediately afterwards, he can help his team both: attack and keep possession when trying to stabilise play.
He also has a great understanding with the winger in front of him, and they often switch places automatically. To fill the void, they cover for each other or simply double down on the attackers. That is due to the speed of his reaction, his great impulse towards the competitor carrying the ball and his excellent reading of the game.
Here in the picture, we find Alexander-Arnold in possession of the ball. Lodi and Thomas Lemar work together to mark both Merseyside players before they can advance into the danger zone.
This great cooperation and knowing when to push forward and when to fall back is one of the great strengths of both the individual players and the team’s tactics.
Renan Lodi has distinctive abilities on the offensive side as the Brazilian full-back has emerged as a great asset during the meetings of Atletico Madrid, through his high speed and distinct capabilities in the isolated 1v1 situations.
Renan uses his speed to penetrate and move forward either with or without the ball, as he enjoys great mobility on the left side, and these features have made his dribbling ratio when he has the ball in a 1-vs.-1 of up to 3.69 per game.
Here we see him receiving the ball and using his dribbling. That is why he is able to enter the box of the opposition and then shoot at Leverkusen´s goal.
This ability gives his team the advantage when dodging the opposing players, as it gains a lot of space. Besides, it has more than one option to pass the ball.
In addition to him directly posing a threat via dribbling or shooting, he can also serve the ball to his teammates once he surges down the flanks by distributing up to 4.48 crosses per game.
The image above shows their second goal against Levante that was assisted by Lodi. He can send crosses both from the wider and the deeper areas of the pitch. Therefore, we can see another example below.
Renan takes charge of the left flank and uses his pace to get beyond the wide defender. Then, he dribbles into the danger area from where he can deploy another piercing pass into the box. The following two images show that same tendency perfectly.
Besides, Renan Lodi has a good crossing rate, reaching 65% so far.
He also takes the left side to move freely up and down the pitch. Furthermore, he tries to become a link between the lines and appear with speed to turn defence into attack.
We can conclude that he spends equal time both in his own and in the opposition’s half just by analysing his heatmap a bit more.
Lodi is good in passing the ball to his teammates, especially in the stage of transition where he can deploy 3.55 passes into the box, 2.59 into the final third and 2.65 long balls per game. Thus is contributing to the transfer of the team from the first third to the last third on the field.
Although he is a full back, he has a shot rate of 0.96 per game, besides he has an expected goals score of 0.6 (xG) per game, which is a great rate for a defensive player.
Lodi’s rush on the left side has a dual impact on the player himself and his team, as he can become an asset but there are still weaknesses to his game. This, we will analyse in the final part of this tactical analysis scout report.
Renan may have some weaknesses through his performance that appeared with Atletico during the last period, among those are the air duel, as he succeeded in it by only 49.3%, and this is not only due to his height of 70.07 Inch, but he has a problem in choosing the timing to engage the opposition.
Another problem with Renan’s performance is his weakness in 1-vs.-1 situations as he often loses the duel isolated with his direct opponent.
We can refer this to a lack of experience as he is only 21 years old. This can happen because playing at a high level and in a team like Atlético with strict defence laws is not easy.
In addition, he rushes forward with the spaces concentrated behind him, as happened in this shot in front of Leverkusen at the beginning of the match. He leaves a pocket of space by moving forward, which made the space empty on the left side of the Atletico defence.
Among the weaknesses of Renan also defensive duels and is sometimes inconsistent with his success, registering 58.7% success rate in 2019/20 in La Liga so far. But, those numbers vary from really impressive to really poor from match to match.
This may be due to his extreme enthusiasm, which leads to lack of discipline at times. That is one of the most negative points in Lodi’s performance.
Lodi has a lot of offensive ingredients. These always appear when he moves to the middle of the opponent’s court while he is carrying a ball, he is very dangerous.
Renan Lodi has offensive features and defensive capabilities that qualify him to play at a high level in European championships, and this appeared with Atletico Madrid in the Spanish League and Champions League, and that was what this analysis tried to show in the form of a scout report.
This performance seems to have made him remarkable, as he is called up to represent Brazil on the international stage.