Real Madrid vs Valencia
Diego Alves is a goalkeeper who currently plays for Valencia CF in Spain. He is a Brazilian national, and has made 2 appearances for the Selecao. The 27 year old stands at 185 cm tall. He has played for Almeria before moving to Valencia.
Position: Alves is a goalkeeper. He is known for his spectacular shot stopping ability, and amazing reflexes.
Performance in the Game: Diego Alves put in a fine performance in the 1-1 draw with Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, and played a key role in keeping Valencia level. He stayed true to his reputation and stopped a number of shots from close range, and long range.
The first time he was tested was in the 10th minute, when Gonzalo Higuain scored. A long ball over the top of the defense meant that Higuain was through on goal, but a charging Alves made not one, but two saves in quick succession and was finally beaten by Higuain on the third attempt.
Later in the game, during the second half, a Real Madrid free kick from Xabi Alonso was driven towards the far post where it was met by the head of Cristiano Ronaldo. What seemed to be a certain goal was stopped by an incredible reflex reaction by Alves, and though play was later pulled back for offside, Alves wasn’t to know that when he made the save.
That wasn’t to be the only time Alves would prove to be a thorn in the side of Real Madrid and Critiano Ronaldo on a frustrating night for the Galacticos. After the working the ball around well in collaboration with his teammates, Ronaldo picked up the ball on the left side of the penalty area, where he found enough space to take a shot. This shot was saved by a good reflex stop from Diego Alves at his near post, and deflected for a corner.
Apart from the aforementioned, Alves made 2 more crucial saves to cap off a fine performance against his illustrious opponents.
He also had his weak moments though. His poor positioning almost allowed a Gonzalo Higuain header to loop into the net, and Valencia were saved only by the width of the cross-bar. His distribution is also something that needs to be worked on, and coach Pellegrino will surely give it some attention.
Shot Stopping: His primary strength is his amazing shot stopping ability. This ability is due, in no small part, to the amazing reflexes that Diego Alves has been blessed with. He repeatedly pulled off a number of impossible looking saves, and kept some powerful shots out.
Big Game Temperament: Alves has, over the course of his career, tended to reserve his best for the big games. During his time at Almeria, he was first noticed for an amazing performance against his opponents from last night, Real Madrid. In another sterling performance, he made a number of point blank saves against Chelsea during their Champions League game at the Mestalla last season, most notably a bullet header from Fernando Torres. He repeated the act last night, making some good saves to help Valencia hold Real Madrid to a draw in the cauldron that is the Santiago Bernabeu.
Handling: Alves doesn’t strike you as a keeper who is always assured, in command and will make his catches. His inability to come out and catch/punch away from set pieces often leads to dangerous situations for his team. Indeed, it is this sort of weakness that has meant he competes with Vicente Guaita at Valencia.
Positioning: Diego Alves, despite being an amazing shot stopper, has never really gotten bigger clubs excited about him due to his poor intelligence and positioning on the pitch. Even last night, positional error of his almost allowed a looping header by Higuain to give Real Madrid the lead.
Distribution: In the modern day and age, an important part of any goalkeeper’s job is starting attacks with accurate passes or throw-outs to his teammates. Alves’ inability to do this is a major handicap for his team, and often, Valencia are unable to kick off speedy counter-attacks due to this weakness.
Transfer Prospects: Despite the fact that he is a very talented shot stopper, his weaknesses make it hard for big clubs to take a punt on him. AC Milan were rumoured to be tracking him before he signed for Valencia, but as of now, there seems to be no speculation linking him to other clubs.
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