You’d be forgiven for thinking Real Madrid would be looking for a quiet summer given the the amount of time they’ve spent in the spotlight in recent months following the Super League debacle.
Real don’t do ‘quiet’ and so instead they’ve decided to replace their manager, potentially lose their talisman and club captain, offer David Alaba an eye-watering contract that runs until he’s 76, all while continuing to pursue the best young player in the world despite being in financial meltdown – by gawddd we love this club.
They may not be everyone’s cup of tea but you cannot deny they’re entertaining, and with new boss Carlo Ancelotti set to embark on his first transfer market as Real manager (well, first if you ignore the time he was manager before until being sacked the season after guiding them to Champions League glory) we look at how Los Blancos could line up next season.
GK: Thibaut Courtois
There could be a few departures from Real this summer but one man who’ll definitely be on Ancelotti’s teamsheet next season will be Thibaut Courtois.
The Belgian shot-stopper finished just one clean sheet behind Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak last season and produced some superb displays, despite Real ending the campaign without a single piece of silverware for the first time since 2010.
At just 29, Courtois still has a lot of time left in the game and is likely to be his side’s number one for the foreseeable future.
RB: Dani Carvajal
There were many factors behind Real’s underwhelming 2020/21 campaign, though the loss of
Dani Carvajal was undoubtedly a huge blow.
The Spaniard has cemented his place as the club’s first-choice right-back in recent seasons and is crucial to their style of play, and a spurt of injury issues have meant he’s made just four La Liga appearances in 2021.
Having missed out on Spain’s Euro 2020 squad, he’ll have the summer to concentrate on getting back to full fitness and will no doubt be key for Real next season.
CB: David Alaba
We’re going to overlook the fact Real have sanctioned a deal which will see Alaba pocket around £56m-per-week (that’s a rough estimation, it may not be totally accurate) and instead applaud them on securing the signing of one of the best defenders in Europe.
With the futures of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane up in the air, the club needed to bring in a quality defender and that’s precisely what they’ve done.
Does the offer they made him make good business sense? Hell no. Was it a necessary addition? Absolutely.
CB: Raphael Varane
While Ramos’ departure from the Santiago Bernabeu seems to become more inevitable with every passing day, Varane’s future is a little less clear.
Los Blancos could undoubtedly move him on if they wanted – with Manchester United strongly linked with the Frenchman – and if fresh terms aren’t penned in the coming months, they risk losing him on a free next summer.
But, as we’ve already discussed, Real aren’t the most savvy of clubs when it comes to financial matters and you can guarantee they’ll back themselves to convince him to stay within the next year rather than sell him on the cheap.
LB: Ferland Mendy
Ferland Mendy is finally beginning to look something like the player Real thought they’d bought when they signed him for €55m (£47m) from Lyon in 2019.
The Frenchman looked much better last season than he did in his maiden campaign with the club, though he too missed some crucial games at the business end of the season through injury.
Real will be hoping the injury layoff isn’t a recurring theme as he’ll be crucial in their bid to win back the La Liga title.
CM: Luka Modric
Even at 35 years of age, Luka Modric looks the best player on the pitch almost every time you watch him.
The Croatia captain has signed a new one-year deal at the Santiago Bernabeu this summer and, in all honesty, Real would have been mad to let him go.
Who needs pace when you’re as good at football as this man?
Casemiro has had his critics since securing a move to Real but it’s easy to overlook some of the work he does in midfield.
The Brazilian’s work rate and combative style of play is key in a three-man midfield alongside two technical footballers and he’s about as close to an ever-present as it gets in Real’s side.
CM: Toni Kroos
Similar to Modric, Toni Kroos just seems to get better with age.
The German midfielder has already indicated that he has no intention of playing on into his late 30s, though at 31 years of age he still looks an absolute class act.
Kroos’ range of passing has got to be up there as one of the best in La Liga and he could have a big part to play next season if Real manage to secure the services of a certain French forward…
RW: Kylian Mbappe
Surely they can’t pull this one off?
Or can they?
The problem with Real Madrid – or one of the many problems should we say – is there’s absolutely no point in trying to use logic to predict what they’re going to do.
In the midst of a global pandemic that’s had a hugely detrimental impact on their finances and currently clinging onto the premise of a Super League to try and pay their squad’s wages? Yeahhh we could see them spending an eye-watering sum of money on Kylian Mbappe.
Real have made no secret of their desire to lure the French wonderkid to Madrid and if anyone’s going to pull it off, it’s them.
ST: Karim Benzema
When Cristiano Ronaldo left the Santiago Bernabeu he left a huge void at the club – and it’s Karim Benzema who has filled it.
He’s produced some of the best football of his career over the last few seasons and a lot of Real’s play revolves around his ability to linkup with his teammates.
He may be 33 years old, but there aren’t many better all-round forwards in world football right now.
LW: Eden Hazard
Ancelotti has already spoken of his desire to get the best out of Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale, but it just seems like the Welshman’s stay in the Spanish capital needs to come to an end.
Meanwhile, it’s within Real’s best interests to get the best out of Hazard. Their ludicrous decision to pay £100m to Chelsea rather than just waiting a year and signing him on a free looks stupider by the day, and the club’s hierarchy will no doubt have demanded Ancelotti helps him return to his best form.
Who knows if the Belgian will ever return to the player we saw at Chelsea, but you can guarantee Real will try their best.