Amid the transfer market madness and the world record deals being made on a seemingly weekly basis, Real Madrid stayed true to Zinedine Zidane’s mantra and emerged with a focused squad capable of challenging for trophies.
However, not only are Los Blancos targeting silverware this season, they want all six trophies as the Club World Cup comes up next ahead of the run-in for LaLiga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League in May.
The task has thus fallen to 23 men to deliver glory, and here we detail the Madrid selection for 2017/18.
Keylor is again the boss
Talk of David De Gea or Gianluigi Donnarumma being parachuted in to battle Keylor Navas for the No. 1 jersey came to nothing, leaving the Costa Rican to control the goalposts with Kiko Casilla as his back-up. Luca Zidane replaces Ruben Yanez as the third-choice keeper and would make it a 24-man squad, were he expected to actually appear for the first-team.
Theo snapped up as Pepe departs
The defence is the area of the pitch experiencing the biggest shake up over the summer as Pepe, Danilo and Fabio Coentrao all left in differing circumstances. The towering centre-back departed on a free to Besiktas after ten excellent years in Madrid, making his 30 million euro fee an absolute steal as fans look back on his tenure. Manchester City paid as much for second-choice right-back Danilo with Coentrao leaving for Portugal to allow Marcelo to have some proper competition at left-back.
That comes in the form of Theo Hernandez, the promising Atletico Madrid man who became the first to trade the city’s colours in 17 years, much to the annoyance of Los Rojiblancos. Another young thing in the Blancos backline is Jesus Vallejo, back from loan to cover the Pepe hole to satisfy his many admirers at the club. Speaking of which, Achraf Hakimi may get a chance at right-back as Nacho Fernandez offers his services to cover Dani Carvajal whenever required.
Fresh faces in midfield
The trio of Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric is unlikely to be disrupted this year and Zidane has not tried to do so, bringing in youngsters Dani Ceballos and Marcos Llorente to provide depth in the midfield. However, only James Rodriguez has left and Isco continues to be a selection headache for the coach, who must now formulate a fair plan to distribute the minutes across the part of the pitch.
Morata leaves a space up front
Because Kylian Mbappe never arrived, there is a sense of worry around the striking options that perhaps shouldn’t exist when Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale are around. Yes, Alvaro Morata has left and taken his guaranteed goals with him. Another who’s gone is young forward Mariano Diaz, leaving Borja Mayoral as the only natural back-up. But, Lucas Vazquez is reliable off the bench and Marco Asensio is stepping up to provide the type of magic that Real need as they target the Sextet