Season Preview: Real Madrid
La Liga kicks off this weekend and Los Blancos are desperate to get the title back from their arch rivals Barcelona. With one title in the past eight seasons, and with a squad boosted by recent European triumphs, how will Zidane line up his Real Madrid team for the coming season?
1. TRANSFER SEASON IMPACT
Real Madrid have made very little impact during this transfer season, pulling out of mega deals to sign Pogba who went for Manchester and Alaba who looks set to remain at Bayern. They got Morata with the buy-back clause from Juve and Coentrao and Asensio came back from loans at Monaco and Espanyol. However, Zidane said they will make some signings but the squad doesn’t look like it needs much change. Jese left for PSG but Asensio looks ready to fill in his place after a brilliant pre-season and a wonderful goal in the European Super Cup against Sevilla last week.
2. PLAYING STYLE
Zizou will keep faith in the 4–3–3 formation that was successful enough to bring the Undecima to the Spanish Capital and reduce Barcelona’s lead to one point at the top of La Liga. This season Zidane is expected to lineup the same 4–3–3 with Casemiro in the holding midfield position. The team could use a change between the posts especially when Navas is sidelined with injury.
Keylor Navas will no doubtly be the number one goalkeeper for Zidane when he’s fit. At the back, Dani Carvajal looked way better than Danilo in the past season and is expected to start at right back this season. Marcelo is definitely the first choice at left back ahead of Fabio Coentrao. At the heart of defense, Zidane will have to make a choice between Pepe and Varane. With the Frenchman looking to play more minutes for Madrid and with Pepe aging and not participating regularly in the pre-season, Varane looks set to start alongside Captain Sergio Ramos. In midfield, Casemiro will play behind Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, with Isco, James and Kovacic settling for places on the bench in case they remained at the Bernabeu. The last choice is between Benzema and Morata. Zidane will be expected to rotate in this position, but Benzema will probably start the most games, especially for his link up with Cristiano in attack. Ronaldo and Bale are the two players who will play whenever they’re fit, maybe even if they’re not.
Real Madrid always have two complete squads ready to play. The only player who doesn’t have a substitute yet is Casemiro, with Nacho being able to fill for Ramos when needed. The following are the starting lineup for the coming seasons and the backup players for each position. The backup players could make a team that easily makes it to European Competitions.
4. Next Match
Real will play Stade de Reims tonight for the Bernabeu trophy before travelling to kick off their Liga campaign at Sociedad on Sunday. Zizou will look forward to starting with 3 points with Ronaldo not 100% fit to start.