Carlo Ancelotti’s new chapter in the Real Madrid dugout will get underway in less than a fortnight. Madrid are perhaps the most popular team worldwide in terms of how many people watch football on tv, but that doesn’t always translate into success on the pitch.
Unlike his previous stint at the Santiago Bernabeu, the Italian manager will have to settle for a less star-studded squad.
Ancelotti led Madrid to the Champions League title in 2013/14, but some of the protagonists of that generation won’t be there to help him out this time around.
Cristiano Ronaldo is long gone, with Eden Hazard failing to fill his shoes in the Spanish capital.
Additionally, Los Blancos have waved goodbye to the legendary captain Sergio Ramos in the summer, with Raphel Varane on his way to join Manchester United.
Defensive woes need to be addressed before it’s too late
With all due respect to Eder Militao, Nacho Fernandez and Jesus Vallejo, none of them have shown they have what it takes to replace the long-serving stalwarts.
The arrival of David Alaba from Bayern Munich on a free transfer is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, but the Austrian is far from a natural centre-back.
He used to perform as a central defender during his time at the Allianz Arena but rarely in a four-man backline.
Indeed, Alaba was occasionally deployed as a left centre-back in a three-man line-up, but his preferred position is a left-back.
Moreover, the latest La Liga news even suggested the main reason behind the Austrian’s decision to switch to La Liga was an opportunity to play higher up the pitch.
Los Merengues have not displayed an interest in any defender, which could be a massive concern for Ancelotti heading into the new campaign.
Fresh blood in the midfield is more than welcome
Real have relied on the all-star trio, featuring Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro, to lead the team to domestic and European heights over the past decade.
Although Modric reassured the footballing world of his ability to perform at the highest level at Euro 2020, the Croatian wizard will be 36 in September.
Kroos, 31, has helped his partner in crime bossing the midfield in the past seasons, with his vision and passing range off the scale in La Liga.
But the pair will need rest as Los Blancos are set to play matches every three days.
Dani Ceballos returned to base following an underwhelming two-season loan spell at Arsenal, and he seems to be well below Madrid’s high standards.
Martin Odegaard could be Ancelotti’s go-to option to deputise for the abovementioned duo if the club keep hold of him by the end of the summer.
Therefore, it is not surprising that Madrid want to sign Leon Goretzka from Bayern.
The German midfielder has gone from strength to strength in Bavaria and could be a massive coup for Ancelotti’s side.
Florentino Perez’s late summer gift
The days of legendary transfer windows might be over, but Madrid still need a star name coming in to help win in Europe next summer. Whether it would be Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe or Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland, Madrid fans are desperate to see Florentino Perez works his magic in the late stage of the transfer window.
After pursuing a deal for the PSG whizz-kid for most of the summer, Los Blancos’ bigwig has recently shifted his focus on the Norwegian goal-machine.
According to Diario AS (via Daily Express), Perez will try to seal the deal for Haaland in the coming days to avoid being pushed aside by Manchester United next summer.
It looks like a long shot, but Perez has shown in the past that his mojo can never be underestimated.