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THE STORY IN SHORT VIDEOS

THE STORY IN SHORT ESSAYS

Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari with no good hand

ROME, ITALY - NOVEMBER 27: Dani Carvajal with his teammates of Real Madrid celebrates the victory after the group G match of the UEFA Champions League between AS Roma and Real Madrid at Stadio Olimpico on November 27, 2018 in Rome, Italy.
ROME, ITALY - NOVEMBER 27: Dani Carvajal with his teammates of Real Madrid celebrates the victory after the group G match of the UEFA Champions League between AS Roma and Real Madrid at Stadio Olimpico on November 27, 2018 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Real Madrid via Getty Images)
This season is over for Real Madrid as they are out of Copa Del Rey, UEFA Champions League and finished third in LaLiga table. The appointments of Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari did not have the desired impact.

The problem started for Real Madrid when both Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane left the club at the end of the 2017/18 season. Zidane managed Real Madrid so well that the club won 3 consecutive UEFA Champions League titles. But the departure of goal machine Cristiano Ronaldo left the club in deep trouble. Ronaldo joined Juventus in summer 2018 and helped the club in clinching another Seria A title. In the absence of CR7, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale did not perform consistently well enough. And the long term injuries to key players in the squad pushed the club into deep trouble.

Their inability to deliver a LaLiga title makes it imperative for the club to once again go into the transfer market and come up with signings that could deliver more titles. Now that Zidane is back, fans can expect a major overhaul of the squad in the coming transfer window.

As compared to the performance of the team in the last three seasons, the whole squad did not perform up to the mark. Some players suffered from injuries at crucial stages of the season, some key players left the club and some of the (new) players could not adjust their game fast enough to the game style of the different managers.

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Lack of creativity and speed in the midfield, imperfect defending and frequent blunders

VITORIA-GASTEIZ, SPAIN - OCTOBER 06: Team of Real Madrid CF pose for a photograph during the La Liga match between Deportivo Alaves and Real Madrid CF at Estadio de Mendizorroza on October 6, 2018 in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.
VITORIA-GASTEIZ, SPAIN - OCTOBER 06: Team of Real Madrid CF pose for a photograph during the La Liga match between Deportivo Alaves and Real Madrid CF at Estadio de Mendizorroza on October 6, 2018 in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Real Madrid suffered a lot against those teams who like to press higher on the pitch. Players were frequently unable to compete with the pace of the opposition. A 5-1 humiliation against Barcelona and shambolic performance against Ajax in the CL have been perfect examples of the players’ mediocre performance. Goal scoring options for Real Madrid are also limited as the midfielders contributed to only 23 goals in the whole season. As far as strikers are concerned, they contributed to 29 goals in all competitions and assisted 8 times only.

There are many other reasons for the dismal season of Real Madrid, among them lack of creativity and speed in the midfield, imperfect defending and frequent blunders of newly signed goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

At the back, Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos didn’t have the best season as well, and their defensive partnership was not at the peak as compared to how they performed in the previous two seasons.

Real Madrid also need to strengthen their back as their backup options aren’t great. The left-back position of Madrid also needs to be upgraded as Marcelo has an awful season. Some rumors are coming out that Marcelo is set to leave the club in the summer. If this is true, Real need to invest heavily in this position.

Ligalive Infographics: Team Performance Primera Division Season 2018/19

Areas where Real Madrid are well stocked

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 22: Thibaut Courtois of Real Madrid celebrates his sides first goal during the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018 Final between Al Ain and Real Madrid at the Zayed Sports City Stadium on December 22, 2018 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Real Madrid need a complete overhaul of the squad and there aren’t many areas in which Real Madrid are well stocked.

However, there are some positions where they can use the players of the current squad and these positions are discussed below.

Goalkeepers:

Indeed, the club does not need to worry about their goalkeepers. Thibaut Courtois – golden glove winner in FIFA WC 2018 – and Keylor Navas are two of the best goalies in the Madrid squad. As the club will be participating in 3 competitions in the coming season, they can easily rotate their goalkeepers.

Center Backs:

If Sergio Ramos can revitalize himself and perform the way he performed in the last 2-3 seasons, then Real Madrid does not need to worry about their center back partnership. If Raphael Varane decides to leave in the summer, the club can replace him with Nacho and Jesus Vallejo.

Full Backs:

The long term injury to Marcelo and his below-par performance had made the Madrid defense vulnerable. But the Brazilian has recovered from injury and the return of Achraf Hakimi – who has performed well in his loan spell at Dortmund – may well resolve the full back position.

On the bench are players like Sergio Reguilon, Daniel Carvajal, and Alvaro Odriozola. If Madrid, somehow manages to keep Marcelo, then they do not need to worry about their full back position as the experience of Marcelo and the young bench may well be enough to compete in next season.

Defensive Midfield:

The gap left by Xabi Alonso was not easy to fill but the signing of Luka Modric paid off successfully. With the average performance of Modric this season, Madrid is looking for a defensive midfielder. However, Madrid has quite a strong and young midfield partnership in the form of Casemiro and Marcos Llorente. Given the age of the duo, Madrid has a long term replacement of Modric and Alonso.

Ligalive Infographics: Team Profile Primera Division Season 2018/19

Areas where Real Madrid need new signings

MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 15: Luka Modric of Real Madrid looks on prior to the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Rayo Vallecano de Madrid at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on December 15, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Now that we’ve identified the areas where Real Madrid may have sufficiently good players for the position, let’s look at those areas where the club needs to strengthen in the summer transfer window.

Attacking Midfield:

This Real Madrid squad lacks creativity in the midfield. Players like Modric and Kroos were inferior this season. To compete with the European giants, Madrid needs an attacking midfielder who can take the set pieces and initiates counter attacks. The attacking midfielder of Madrid – mainly Isco, Mariano Diaz and Modric did not score sufficiently enough goals or created many chances. They scored just nine goals in the whole season and assisted only 16 times.

The only attacking midfielder Real Madrid have is James Rodriguez who is currently on loan to Bayern Munich. Madrid cannot depend on the Colombian as his future is in doubt. The club needs to splash money, particularly in this position to change the dynamics of their style of play.

Wingers:

Real Madrid dried of goals this season, and the main reason was the departure of goal machine Cristiano Ronaldo. The club was not able to fill the boots of 5 times Ballon d’Or winner. All eyes were on Gareth Bale, but the Welshman remained injured for most of the season and couldn’t perform consistently. Gareth Bale and Vinicius Jr. were the two most obvious options for the wing positions of the club. The Welshman has a ratio of 224 minutes per goal and Vinicius ended the season with 390 minutes per goal.

If Real Madrid want to compete for the Champions League next season, they must strengthen their attacking options. Players like Eden Hazard and Kylian Mbappe are the most likely options for the whites.

Striker:

The partnership of Benzema and Ronaldo worked perfectly for Madrid in the last couple of seasons. But the departure of CR7 left the Frenchman in trouble. Benzema carried the front line on his own and scored 30 goals in this season. Except for Karim Benzema, no other players performed well at the center forward position. Mariano Diaz scored only three goals in this season, and for a player playing in a club like Real Madrid, these stats are not worth discussing.

Benzema may have the support of young firepowers like Vinicius, Lucas Vazquez, and Mariano but these players did not have much experience to carry the team week in week out. A Word class striker may be the factor that the club was missing. So the next transfer window is a golden chance for Zidane to sign a striker who matches Madrid’s style of play.

Ligalive Infographics: Player Performance Real Madrid - Primera Division Season 2018/19

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