After wrapping up the LaLiga Santander title on Matchday 34, Real Madrid were left with four league games to plan out ahead of the Champions League final, which takes place on May 28.
In this period, Carlo Ancelotti has taken the opportunity to rest some of the squad’s regulars, give some minutes to others and, as in the case of Andriy Lunin this month, reward and test those players who feature less regularly.
At the club, there is nothing but praise for the 23-year-old goalkeeper. They say that he is one of the hardest-working players and that, despite not having opportunities, he goes about his business without causing any problems.
Lunin has gone to Valdebebas to train even when the team were resting, a sign of his involvement, as well as the extra hours he puts in. At home, he maintains a careful diet in which sweet foods are almost forbidden.
There is also a lot of psychological work involved in his preparation. It has not been easy living in the shadow of Thibaut Courtois, arguably the best in the world in his position, and with a coach like Ancelotti who is not committed to rotations.
The situation in Ukraine doesn’t make things any easier, and Florentino Perez is keeping a close eye on the goalkeeper. The latter, for his part, is very attentive to his family and has also been actively involved in Spain, seeking to cushion the consequences of the Russian invasion as much as possible.
Preparing Lunin for the Copa del Rey, Carletto told him privately in January, as he would later do publicly, that he deserved to play more.
But Lunin has hardly featured. The coach only gave him 90 minutes against Alcoyano and 120 minutes in the last 16 against Elche, conceding a goal in each game, because in the quarter-finals Ancelotti turned to Courtois again.
Lunin’s future at Real Madrid
With the outbreak of war in his country, he did go in goal again until May 8, making his LaLiga Santander debut for Real Madrid in the Madrid derby, and he put in a good performance at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, only conceding a penalty.
This Sunday against Cadiz, it is his turn again. Barring injury, he could finish the season with a maximum of 480 minutes under his belt.
Between Leganes (seven), Real Valladolid (two), Real Oviedo (20) and Real Madrid (four), Lunin has only played 33 games since his arrival in the Spanish capital in 2018. And, despite this, the goalkeeper has yet to decide his future.
With a contract until 2024, he is contemplating another loan move, but only if it is to a destination that fully suits him and Real Madrid. Leaving the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu is never easy.