Real Madrid have made quite a few changes to their squad which sees some big names leave and others coming in. Looking at the current team, Zinedine Zidane seems like he will be sticking to his rotation policy this season and in all fairness, no one really expected otherwise.
Here I take a look at each player and what we can expect from them in the coming season as they prepare for their first big match, the UEFA SuperCup against Manchester United.
Keylor Navas –
There was a lot of talk at the beginning of the transfer window regarding the departure of Keylor Navas as Real Madrid were targeting David De Gea. Florentino Perez came out later to put those rumors to sleep and voice his content over the Costa Rican goalkeeper, who has had a shaky season but ended on an extremely strong note. This time, with no injury to keep him on the sidelines during preseason, we expect more stunning performances and some great saves throughout the upcoming season.
Kiko Casilla –
Just like last season, we don’t really expect to see too much of Kiko Casilla but whenever he is called up on, he will cause the usual argument of “he should be our starter!” among some of the Madridistas around. Nevertheless, expect him to appear in a few La Liga matches as well as the Copa del Rey when it begins.
Luca Zidane –
Very possibly our new third goalkeeper as Ruben Yanez is expected to move on, Luca Zidane will probably not be seen much but that doesn’t mean he won’t make his debut at some point this season. Personally, I see it happening towards the end of the second-leg against whoever we play in the first Copa del Rey match this year.
Sergio Ramos –
Our captain is expected to do the same as last season (maybe we can forgive him for not scoring 10 goals yet again). Sergio Ramos will have his fair share of blunders but he will also be the presence that we really need at the back throughout the season.
Jesus Vallejo –
Our new recruit in the defensive line this season after a brilliant season with Eintracht Frankfurt last year on loan. Jesus Vallejo is in the team as a backup to Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane but that doesn’t mean that we won’t be seeing him come out with a lot of minutes given Zidane’s rotation policy. He’s still not the complete defender perhaps but he has a lot to offer as we have seen from last year and his performances with the U21 Spain squad during the summer.
Raphael Varane –
Injuries haven’t been at all kind to Raphael Varane and all that we can really do at the moment is hope that all that is behind him. He has had his time to slowly be a part of this squad while Pepe took the starting position but now it’s his time to fully step up and show everyone just how good he could really be.
Daniel Carvajal –
Easily one of the best right-backs in the world at the moment and that is not expected to change next season. On the contrary, Dani Carvajal will be expected to improve in his position and it will be yet another season of us feeling honored to see him prevail once again.
Mr. Sunshine and our vice-captain will have a little more competition this coming season with the signing of Theo Hernandez but his position will not be at risk. With Fabio Coentrao last year, it as very difficult for Marcelo to be given time to rest but we should be seeing him resting a little more in the coming campaign while Theo is given a chance to shine.
Theo Hernandez –
Signing Theo Hernandez is great but also getting him from Atletico Madrid makes this deal even sweeter! The young left-back was sensational while he was on loan at Alaves last year and will be expected to continue that this season. He will definitely be getting his chances but will have to take them, which we all know he will after seeing some of his performances during preseason.
Nacho Fernandez –
The jack-of-all-trades is still with the team and it’s great as no one expected to see him leave. With the departure of Danilo, it seems as though he would be Zidane’s choice for Carvajal’s backup this season. It was a debate between him and Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid Castilla but I believe Nacho is the better option for now at least. He had a brilliant season last year and hopefully his performances can continue improving.
Carlos Casemiro –
Our bulldozer last season and we all pray that he doesn’t change. Having said that, similarly to Marcelo, Casemiro didn’t have much competition in his exact position. This season, Marcos Llorente comes back and it will be great for both players to learn from each other since they have extremely different styles.
Toni Kroos –
Arguably one of Zinedine Zidane’s favorite players and it’s extremely clear to see the reason behind it. Toni Kroos’ work often goes unnoticed but his performances and his ability to hold his position is unmatched in the football world at the moment. The German will be an integral part of the upcoming campaign once again and no one expects otherwise.
Marcos Llorente –
Coming in after a magnificent season in Alaves as he surprised many with his performances, Marcos Llorente has made his dream come true as he is now officially part of the first team. He will be in stiff competition with Casemiro over a starting spot but both player will surely get a lot of minutes but it seems like Zidane will still go for the Brazilian when big games come around.
Luka Modric –
Luka Modric isn’t getting any younger but he continuously gets better. The Croatian will continue to be a very important player in the squad but expect him to get more rest than he did in previous seasons as Zidane will want to keep him fresh for the bigger matches. With all the midfielders at our disposal, it won’t be hard to find a backup to be ready to step up in Modric’s position.
Mateo Kovacic –
Mateo Kovacic continues to impress but is finding it extremely difficult to come out with minutes each season. If we are lucky enough to have him in our squad next season, he deserves to get the minutes as he has earned them in the past two years as well as this preseason. He is the heir to Luka Modric and it is time for him to be given enough opportunities to prove it.
Dani Ceballos –
Getting his signature was a little more difficult than initially expected but Real Madrid were finally able to bring him to the club from Real Betis as he snubbed Barcelona along the way. He has the “bad boy” attitude and has continuously voiced his opinion without caring much for the consequences. Expect that part to change since the spotlight on him is bigger than it has ever been but also expect him to focus a lot more on his skill and to show the club what he can do.
After a difficult season where he focused on proving himself to Zidane, Isco is expected to continue his great performances this year. He has earned a new contract (which is expected to happen before the beginning of the season) and has shown that he is needed in this team. Will he be a starter? It’s difficult to predict that right now but he is surely going to get a lot of minutes.
Marco Asensio –
We never get tired of voicing how lucky we are to have Marco Asensio in the team. He had a magnificent season and he can only go up from here. The young Spaniard has caught the eye of Europe last year and he only thrives under any type of pressure. He has had a great preseason and will be taking that as the official games are about to begin.
Lucas Vazquez –
A great asset to the team, Lucas Vazquez found some times a little difficult last year. Zidane still has full faith in him though and will want him to improve and show his true capabilities this time around. Vazquez has a lot to offer and he’s still young, so it’s understandable that he won’t be at his best the whole time.
Cristiano Ronaldo –
The legendary forward has had quite a rough summer and was given extra time off to rest before returning to the team. Because of that, he hasn’t played in any of the preseason games and is not expected to start against Manchester United with his first expected appearance expected to come against Barcelona in the Supercopa. Having said that, let’s hope his focus is back on the team and not in the courtroom as he will continue to be one of the most important parts of this team.
Borja Mayoral –
Coming back from Wolfsburg where he was on loan for a year, I think Borja Mayoral may have the most to prove out of the squad. He didn’t have a very good time in Germany and will need to step it up a lot in order to prove himself to Zidane this season. As of now, he’s still part of the team but, as the French manager said earlier, “Anything can happen between now and August 31”.
Karim Benzema –
He leaves a very up-and-down season behind him as he focuses on another season with the squad. He has had some brilliant moments last year but also some very questionable performances. He will need to improve and unfortunately he couldn’t show that during preseason. With that said, he is still a world-class striker and has a lot to offer the team.