Mateo Kovacic has struggled to cement a place in Zinedine Zidane’s starting XI ever since joining the club in 2015, and now that challenge appears to be increasing in difficulty.
Latest reinforcements for Los Blancos will complicate the situation for the Croatian, as the arrival of Dani Ceballos gives the coach numerous options in the midfield.
However, with ten months and six titles up for grabs, the 23-year-old could be allowed the chance to dive into the mix of Zidane’s rotations, with the first encounter against Manchester United on August 8 in the UEFA Super Cup.
Having the luxury of so many options in the middle does come with a downside, however, especially with the former Inter midfielder representing the weakest link amongst Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Casemiro, Isco, and newcomers Ceballos and Marcos Llorente.
In his third season in the capital city, Kovacic will likely provide competition in the places occupied by Kroos and Isco, with the fresh face from Real Betis challenging Modric, and Llorente eyeing Casemiro’s position on the field.
It would be easy to assume that one or two of the seven midfielders could be tempted by a switch away, but the man in charge at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu is still convinced by the ex-Dinamo Zagreb starlet’s potential.
Only time will tell if a hopeful club decides to lure Kovacic and even Llorente away from the Champions League winners, but Zidane has made it evidently clear that he wishes to keep hold of all his midfield stars for now.