Fede Valverde, affectionately known as “El Pajarito” (The Little Bird), is a Uruguayan professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Uruguay national team.
Despite his young age of 24, Valverde has emerged as one of the brightest talents in world football. His tenacious playing style, work ethic, passing ability and eye for goal have seen him establish himself as a key player for Real Madrid.
In this article, we explore Valverde’s background, career to date, playing style, achievements and his personal life. Read on to learn more about this prodigious Uruguayan midfielder taking European football by storm.
Background and Early Life
- Fede Valverde was born on July 22, 1998 in Montevideo, Uruguay.
- His full name is Federico Santiago Valverde Dipetta.
- He grew up in Montevideo and joined the youth academy of local club Penarol at age 7.
- Showed immense talent from a young age and quickly rose through the youth ranks at Penarol.
- Made his first-team debut for Penarol in 2015 at age 16, becoming one of the youngest debutants in the club’s history.
- Impressed with his mature performances and earned the nickname “El Pajarito” for his tenacious playing style.
- Played 47 games for Penarol, scoring 8 goals before transferring to Real Madrid in 2016.
Transfer to Real Madrid
- Valverde joined Real Madrid in 2016 on a 5-year deal for a transfer fee reported to be around €5 million.
- He was initially assigned to the Real Madrid Castilla (reserve team) and made 32 appearances, scoring 6 goals.
- His vision, passing range and ability to control matches from midfield impressed Real Madrid coaching staff.
- Was called up to the senior squad in 2017 and made his first-team debut under Zinedine Zidane in May 2017.
- Gradually earned more playing time and made 18 appearances in his first season with the senior squad.
- Signed a contract extension in 2017, committing his future to Real Madrid until 2023.
Breakthrough Under Zidane
- The 2018/19 season was a breakthrough campaign for Valverde at Real Madrid.
- He made 25 appearances across all competitions and started delivering consistent performances.
- Zidane showed immense faith in the young midfielder and gave him plenty of playing time.
- Valverde rewarded this faith with mature displays, providing energy and stability in midfield.
- His tackling, work rate and ability to link defense with attack made him a vital presence in Zidane’s balanced midfield.
- Ended the season with 2 goals and 4 assists, demonstrating his well-rounded game.
- Emerged as one of Real Madrid’s most consistent and reliable players despite his youth.
Becoming A Key Player
- Valverde had a stellar 2019/20 season, cementing his spot as an undisputed starter in Real Madrid’s midfield.
- He made 44 appearances across all competitions, scoring 4 goals and providing 5 assists.
- His endless energy, defensive nous and box-to-box presence made him integral to Zidane’s system.
- Forming excellent partnerships with Casemiro and Kroos, Valverde brought the perfect blend of steel and silk to Real’s midfield.
- Demonstrated maturity beyond his years to become one of La Liga’s standout central midfielders.
- Won his first major honors, helping Real to their 34th La Liga title and Supercopa de Espana triumph.
- Received the first call-up to the senior Uruguay national team in 2019.
Style of Play
- Valverde has emerged as one of the most complete midfielders in football, capable of excelling at both ends of the pitch.
- His inexhaustible stamina and work rate allows him to contribute defensively and offensively during games.
- An aggressive ball-winner, he is strong in the tackle and covers ground tirelessly to break up opposition attacks.
- Excellent positional sense and reading of the game allows him to dominate midfield spaces.
- Composed under pressure and able to wriggle out of tight situations using his close control and dribbling skills.
- Possesses impressive long-range passing skills and vision to initiate attacking moves from deep midfield areas.
- Links seamlessly with teammates during build-up play and in transitions between attack and defense.
- An eye for goal, he times his forward runs intelligently and has a powerful shot from distance.
- Tactically intelligent player with good decision-making skills and defensive awareness.
- At only 24, has plenty of scope to become a complete midfield general in the years to come.
Achievements and Honors
Despite his young age, Valverde already boasts an impressive collection of honors at both club and international level:
- La Liga: 2019–20
- Supercopa de Espana: 2020
- FIFA Club World Cup: 2018
- La Liga Breakthrough Player: 2019–20
- FIFA FIFPro World11 nominee: 2019
- UEFA Champions League Breakthrough XI: 2018–19
Uruguay National Team
*FIFA World Cup qualification: 2018 *Copa América: 2019 *FIFA World Cup: 2018
Net Worth, Salary & Sponsorships
According to multiple reports, Fede Valverde has built up an impressive net worth from his playing career:
- His current salary at Real Madrid is estimated at €5 million per year.
- Has endorsement deals with brands like Nike, EA Sports and Gillette.
- Signed a boot deal with Nike in 2018 reportedly worth €1 million annually.
- Has appeared on the covers of EA Sports’ FIFA 20 and FIFA 21 in the Uruguay market.
- His net worth is estimated to be around €10 million as of 2024.
- With his career on the rise, his net worth is expected to rapidly grow in the coming years.
Away from the pitch, Fede Valverde maintains a relatively low profile and prefers to keep his personal life out of the public sphere. Nonetheless, a few personal details are known about him:
- He married his long-time girlfriend Mina Bonino in 2019. The couple have a son together, born in 2020.
- Known to be a devoted family man who prefers quiet time with his family and dogs.
- Aside from football, enjoys listening to music, playing the guitar and video games.
- Known for his reserved, humble personality off the pitch. Maintains a close circle of friends and family.
- Fluent in both Spanish and English.
- Very active on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter to engage with fans.
At just 24 years old, Fede Valverde has already achieved more than most footballers do in an entire career. His meteoric rise from Penarol’s youth teams to becoming an integral player at Real Madrid has been truly remarkable.
Valverde’s passion, maturity and rounded skillset have made him the complete midfield package. If he continues his astounding development, there is no limit to what he can achieve in the game.
Both Real Madrid and Uruguay will be hoping Valverde can maintain his fitness, form and work ethic to become a midfield superstar for club and country over the next decade. He certainly has all the attributes to become an all-time Uruguayan and Real Madrid great.
FAQs about Fede Valverde
What is Fede Valverde’s playing position?
Valverde is primarily a central midfielder who excels at playing in a box-to-box role. He is capable of contributing at both ends of the pitch.
How much is Fede Valverde’s release clause?
Valverde’s current contract with Real Madrid contains a €550 million release clause. This highlights his importance to the team.
What is Valverde’s jersey number?
Valverde wears the number 15 jersey for Real Madrid and the number 6 jersey for the Uruguay national team.
How many trophies has Valverde won?
Valverde has won a La Liga title (2019-20), Supercopa de Espana (2020), FIFA Club World Cup (2018) and Copa America (2019) during his career so far.
Does Valverde have social media accounts?
Yes, you can find Valverde on Instagram @fedeevalverde and on Twitter @fedeevalverde. He is active on both platforms.