It's early in the race for the 2023 Ballon d'Or, but with the season now over 30 percent complete, there's no denying that Real Madrid utility man Federico Valverde has put himself in the conversation with some unbelievable contributions in the Champions League and LaLiga.
It used to be that Valverde was the unsung hero of either the midfield (deputizing effectively for Luka Modrić or Toni Kroos) or right wing (with Karim Benzema and Vini Jr in the spotlight), but this year, whether deployed on the wing or in midfield, the 24-year-old has blossomed into the star of the show.
After scoring another stunner in Real's 5-1 win over Celtic on Wednesday, Valverde brought his totals to eight goals and four assists in 17 UCL/LaLiga appearances. Those goals have come in eight different matches and Los Blancos have won each one (including the Madrid derby and El Clásico).
The goals themselves have also packed a career's worth of highlights into three short months. We're talking four from outside the area and a couple finishes following masterful dribbles.
The world is now getting a better understanding of just how impossibly good this total footballer is, and all signs point to a monstrous World Cup with Uruguay this month. The proof is in the bangers.
All 8 2022-23 Federico Valverde goals, ranked
#8. Real Madrid vs. Atlético (Sep. 18 | LaLiga)
Vini Jr was largely responsible for this one, but Valverde was there to put home the rebound for what ended up being the match-winner in the Madrid derby.
#7. Real Madrid vs. Celta Vigo (Aug. 20 | LaLiga)
Benzema slips with Vini Jr playing the ball to him, but no worries, Valverde arrives and slaps a right-footed effort across the face of goal and inside the far post.
#6. Real Madrid vs. Leipzig (Sep. 14 | UCL)
Valverde takes one touch, shapes to shoot but instead cuts inside a defender before wrapping a left-footed effort inside the far post.
#5. Real Madrid vs. Celtic (Nov. 2 | UCL)
Valverde uses the inside of his right foot to guide an 18-yard heatseeker across the face of goal and inside the far post.
Fede Valverde cannot stop scoring!A finish worth watching again. pic.twitter.com/wVyvhebFmW
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) November 2, 2022
#4. Real Madrid vs. Barcelona (Oct. 16 | LaLiga)
With Barcelona flooding back into its area to defend Real's thrust forward, Valverde arrives at the top of the box, takes a touch and slams a 20 yarder through three defenders and beyond Marc-André ter Stegen.
#3. Real Madrid vs. Elche (Oct. 19 | LaLiga)
A Vini Jr pop is blocked and falls to Valverde 20 yards out. He takes one touch to settle and then lashes a left-footed shot that curls away from the keeper and inside the post.
#2. Real Madrid vs. Sevilla (Oct. 22 | LaLiga)
Valverde takes possession near the edge of the area and his next thought is absolutely hammering a right-footed thunderbastard that Bono can only watch in amazement.
FEDE VALVERDE, ARE YOU SERIOUS??? pic.twitter.com/oAnRwi0efK— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 22, 2022
#1. Real Madrid vs. Mallorca (Sep. 11 | LaLiga)
Valverde takes possession deep inside his own half, motors beyond three defenders, enters the Mallorca third, drifts inside and cracks one into the top corner with his left.
VALVERDE WHAT HAVE YOU JUST DONE!!! pic.twitter.com/81mVC4zn6n— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) September 11, 2022