Quiet summer so far:-
Spanish and European champions Real Madrid have had a quiet summer so far. Till date, exits of Pepe, Mariano Diaz and Diego Llorente has been confirmed by the club. Further departures of James Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata is imminent too.
Reports of Theo Hernandez joining this squad is the sole incoming update. Zidane has done a great job with this group of players. Winning back to back Champions League titles isn’t easy even though you have a squad full of winners.
Squad good enough to cope with a quiet summer:-
We questioned Zidane as a coach when he arrived first in January 2016 and early previous season. But, his team managed to take results out when things weren’t looking great. The manager used his squad depth to always field a fresh eleven on the field. This was a testament to a high-quality squad of players he had to choose from.
Throughout last season, he rested likes of Ronaldo, Modric, Kroos in few La Liga games. The players like James, Kovacic, Asensio, Morata came good in replacements and did the job. In this way, Zidane always had a fresh 18 to choose from in a game. A team playing 50 games a season needs this kind of depth to compete on every front.
Even if James and Morata leave by the end of this summer, Real Madrid will have enough squad depth to compete for top laurels next season. Likes of Asensio, Kovacic, Isco, Vasquez are good enough to fill the bench and come good when needed. The way Modric, Casemiro and Kroos dominated midfield in big Champions League games goes to show they don’t need a marquee midfielder to compete.
The attacking line of Isco, Ronaldo and Benzema has control and expert finishing. Backup of Asensio, Vasquez will have pace with directness. Maybe a striker is required if Morata leaves. But, as long as Benzema is there, no one can take that No.1 role.
Defence needs shoring up:-
We have so far talked about Real Madrid being dominant in midfield and expert in forward-line finishing. But, there is one thing which needs a bit of shoring up which is their defence. Right-back Carvajal, centre-back Sergio Ramos and left-back Marcelo were consistent last season but Ramos’ centre-back partner was an issue for Zidane last season.
Nacho and Varane tried to fill that spot but didn’t look very convincing. Maybe, a centre-back is needed to shore this back-line up. The goalkeeping situation has also been a primary problem. Navas has been error-prone time and time again. Although Zidane and players have backed the Costa Rican to do the job, Madrid would love to have his replacement. Reports suggest that Los Blancos will go all out to get anyone of De Gea or Courtois.
Apart from one or two holes, this Real Madrid squad is good enough to compete even if they don’t get the targets they need. Zidane is a perfect man-manager for this squad and can take the best out of this group of players. They are ready to challenge for everything next season. A less spent summer is a sign of a settled squad which is maturing day by day.