Let’s have a look at the one player whom Solari believes has the ability to possibly stop Lionel Messi during El Clasico, midfielder Marcos Llorente.
With El Clasico right around the corner, both Real Madrid and Barcelona have published their call-up lists and they both have Lionel Messi and Marcos Llorente on their roster.
Why is this important you say?
The young midfielder is considered one of the few players who is quick enough and has great reflexes to try and stop Lionel Messi during the match, Marcos is coming from being named the best player in the Club World Cup for Real Madrid but he suffered a muscular injury that kept him from playing any competition during the start of 2019.
However, now that he is back in top form and manager Santiago Solari trusts him, there is no way that he will miss at least a few minutes during El Clasico.
The Argentine manager is seriously exploring the chance of using the youngster alongside Casemiro and Luka Modric for a larger presence on the pitch.
Llorente is considered one of the biggest defensive midfield talents in recent memory, the media is already starting to compare him with Sergio Busquets and the lad doesn’t shy away from such comparisons.
We are talking about a midfielder who like playing easy with his teammates, recovering the ball and making the safest choice every time.
— MARCA (@marca) February 5, 2019
Apart from this great sense of position on the pitch, Llorente has the leadership to go on the attack by delivering a pass between the lines for a better-positioned player who is in front of him.
If that wasn’t enough, Marcos Llorente also has the great skill of taking shots from a long distance and scoring a few goals that have already helped the squad win important matches.
But perhaps his most important attribute for El Clasico is his background when facing FC Barcelona, Marcos Llorente has a long history when playing against the Catalan club and has been the man who marks Lionel Messi in repeated occasions.
During his time as an Alaves player, Marca reports that Marcos Llorente performed only once at Camp Nou and he won that historic 1-2 match against the Catalan club.
The midfielder was able to contain both Messi and Neymar during that match, he was arguably one of the best players of the game but he played against Messi for only 30 minutes because the Argentine started that match on the bench.
This was only Llorente’s fourth La Liga match and he already defeated Barcelona once, but he wasn’t as fortunate in other occasions he played against them while still an Alaves player.
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) February 5, 2019
On the year where he became a proper pro footballer for Alaves, Llorente faced Barcelona three times and only won the first one that we already mentioned.
The second time he met Messi on the pitch, Llorente lost 0-6 at Mendizorroza Stadium with one of those goals scored by the Argentine.
He met the Blaugrana again for the Copa del Rey final but lost 3-1 with another goal from Messi, Llorente played all three matches and his numbers weren’t all that bad.
On the first match he played at Camp Nou, Marcos recovered 5 balls. The midfielder recovered another 10 on the second match and 14 on the final at the Vicente Calderon Stadium.
It appears that manager Santiago Solari has studied these matches very well because he completely trusts Llorente to play important matches, he’s been getting a lot more minutes lately and he may even play instead of Casemiro if the manager decides on the last minute.
Messi already knows how much he tends to suffer from a player like Marcos Llorente on top of him, and the Real Madrid manager wants to take advantage from the Argentine’s current low form after suffering the minor injury last weekend.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 5, 2019
Do you think Solari will line up Marcos Llorente against Real Madrid on Wednesday? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.