50 days have passed since Sergio Ramos hoisted the club’s twelfth European Cup in June and since then the summer transfer window has seen the likes of James, Morata and Danilo leave the club with new arrivals Theo, Ceballos and the return of Marcos Llorente and Vallejo bolstering Zidane’s squad. There are, however some key tasks ahead for the French coach ahead of Madrid’s trip to Riazor heralding the start of the 2017/18 campaign.
The hunt for a striker
It’s no secret that top of the club’s wishlist is AS Monaco teenager Kylian Mbappé but Madrid are slowly coming around to the idea that the striker seems set to remain in Ligue 1 for another season, PSG also tried to lure the talented forward to the French capital but to no avail.
Real Madrid have yet to completely give up the hunt for the for the 18 year old with Zidane claiming, “Anything can happen until the market closes, he’s a good player but my focus is on my next game and getting the team ready for the season”.
Cristiano Ronaldo hooks up with the squad on August 5 after an extended vacation following his exertions at Russia’s Confederations Cup and following earlier declarations in the Portuguese media that he was prepared to leave the club in the summer.
The Real Madrid player is disgruntled with the way his tax fraud situation is being dealt with in Spain and this was the source of his unhappiness.
The player appears to have made a u-turn on these cautions and will remain at the Bernabeu and be involved in the trilogy of Super Cup games that the club are involved in with games against Manchester United and Barcelona imminent in August.
Isco, Benzema, Carvajal, Nacho and Marcelo renewal deals
Real Madrid and Isco agreed to renew the player’s contract during the 2016/17 season and despite the deal never reaching conclusion the Costa del Sol born midfielder played his way into the starting XI with scintillating performances, especially in the second phase of the past season. Despite his current deal expiring in 2018, there is no danger that both parties won’t thrash out a deal that sees the Spain international playing his football at the Bernabeu through to 2022.
Benzema, Carvajal, Nacho and Marcelo also have contract negotiation renewals pending. The French striker is expected to extend his contract through to 2021 or 2022 as was alluded to in June by club president Florentino Pérez. The club also see no issues in renewals deals for Marcelo and Dani Carvajal.
Nacho’s positive performances last season may also earn him an extension that takes his deal past the current expiry date of 2021.
The acquisition of Dani Ceballos coupled with the return of Marcos Llorente added to the existing midfielders in Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Kovacic and Isco see Zidane dealing with seven players for a 4-3-3 formation.
If the club decides to remove one player from the overcrowded midfield position then Croatian player Kovacic is the obvious candidate to make an exit from the club with plenty of Serie suitors interested in securing his services. The Premier League is another potential destination for the Linz born player with Spurs expressing interest in the international.
Adapting to a fit Gareth Bale
Bale has shaken off the various injuries that troubled his 2016/17 season and carries a weight of expectation as the club get into the business of pre-season with high profile friendly games and three Super Cup matches all excellent opportunities for the Cardiff born player to make a statement and leave the French coach with zero doubts when it comes to choosing his starting XI when Madrid travel to Galicia for the season opener.