The arrival of Eden Hazard last summer was expected to be the catalyst of any Real Madrid success, yet it was Ferland Mendy who defied the odds to become the most pivotal signing of the season for Los Blancos.
Joining from Lyon for a fee of 48 million euros, the Frenchman was considered to come in as backup to Marcelo who had seen a dip in form the year before.
There were even some question marks over the money spent on Mendy, as well as the decision to bring him in at the expense of keeping Sergio Reguilon in the squad.
Zinedine Zidane largely remained loyal to his old guard but the performances of the left-back saw him feature far more than some expected, providing a different element in terms of defensive stability to the attacking nature of Marcelo.
The coach has always trusted Marcelo, but he already knew better than anyone that the Brazilian had been well below his best level for a few years due to injuries.
The Frenchman knew that he would need a good replacement and time has proved him right.