In the Footsteps of Dani Carvajal- Dortmund’s New Wunderkind Achraf Hakimi

Borussia Dortmund have pulled off quite the transfer coup this summer by signing 19-year-old Moroccan full-back and rising star Achraf Hakimi on a two-year loan from Real Madrid. Both the Spanish giants and the Ruhr club will be hoping the move mirrors the success of Dani Carvajal, whose career took off after a spell in the Bundesliga.

Born and bred in the Spanish capital and a product of Real Madrid’s famed ‘La Fábrica’ academy, the highly-rated right-back comes to the Schwarzgelben fresh off playing for Morocco in this summer’s World Cup in Russia. The Lions of the Atlas may have exited at the group stage, but Hakimi showed his ability against both Portugal and Spain.

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Playing at right back against Morocco for Spain in the 2-2 draw in Kaliningrad was none other than the aforementioned Carvajal. Back in 2012, Hakim’s Real Madrid teammate had a hugely successful season at Bayer Leverkusen before the Galacticos activated a clause to take him back to the Bernabeu. Carvajal made such a positive impact at the BayArena that he was voted as the league’s third-best fullback behind Bayern’s Philipp Lahm and Schalke’s Atsuto Uchida.

Twelve months in Germany did Carvajal a world of good following his struggles to break into the Real first XI, and it is hoped that Hakimi will enjoy a similar time in the Bundesliga. Hakimi actually made eight league starts last season, scoring twice as well as appearing twice in Madrid’s successful Champions League campaign.

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With BVB’s Lukasz Piszczek not getting any younger and Jeremy Toljan largely failing to impress last season following his arrival from Hoffenheim, the signing of Hakimi looks a very shrewd piece of business on Dortmund’s part.

The Moroccan has developed into an excellent modern day full-back since joining Real Madrid as an 8-year-old. He was so highly rated that when Madrid sold Danilo to Manchester City, Real didn’t go out and sign a direct replacement, feeling Hakimi was more than up to the task. He has pace and loves defending and tackling, while possessing the hunger and ability to get forward and attack down the flank. He also is versatile enough to play both left- and centre-back, if required.

However, much as he has been used as a back-up to Dani Carvajal this season, los Merengues’ signing of right-back Alvaro Odriozola from Real Sociedad looks to have stunted his chances of further first-team action, making the loan switch to Dortmund make perfect sense for all concerned.  Factor in that Zinedine Zidane (who rated him so highly) has also left the club, and the move makes even more sense.

“Achraf Hakimi is a young, very dynamic full-back who has played at the highest level at Real Madrid and in the Moroccan national team,” said BVB Sporting Director Michael Zorc.

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.

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