Federico Valverde has confessed that Uruguay’s early elimination from the World Cup may have contributed to his poor form at club level with Real Madrid in 2023.
The midfielder arrived at the World Cup as one of the most in-form players in Europe but was unable to prevent a Uruguay side expected to do reasonably well crashing out in the group stage, with the South American nation finishing third behind Portugal and South Korea.
Now back with Real, Valverde has failed to contribute to a goal in his last 11 games across all competitions, with Los Blancos losing in the Supercopa final to Barcelona and also falling eight points behind their Clasico rivals in La Liga.
Asked if he could explain his downturn in form, Valverde admitted that Uruguay’s World Cup humiliation has taken a mental toll on him.
“The World Cup affected me,” he told the media. “When you go for a goal, you have such illusion and optimism that everything will go well with your country, you go with the dream of a child representing millions of people to try to go as far as possible and fighting to win, not being able to do it makes you sad. Everything we work on seems to have been of no use and it hurts.”
“It has to serve to continue improving my physical shape and to take certain opportunities. Good things don’t always happen in football and you have to know how to handle it.
“I arrived [at the World Cup] in very good form and It’s not the same now, but it’s part of football. There are always bumps and you have to continue with the same attitude to continue being important at Real Madrid, to be captain as I always wanted and, little by little, to return to my good performance.”
Valverde later added that each of his poor showings with Real has only added to his frustrations which, in turn, have left him feeling unable to show his best side.
“I try to enjoy myself on the pitch but when the results don’t come through and on a personal level either, it generates frustration and anger,” he said.
“I came out sad against Atleti and the same against Mallorca.
“We are very competitive, we always want to win and when I leave with a bad result I don’t want it to make me angry. I have to keep improving and learning because you can’t always win even if you work to win as much as possible.”