With La Liga making its return in just a few days, GiveMeSport will be taking a look at all 20 teams, from the title challengers to the new boys and everyone in between. Next under the microscope is Real Madrid, who will be looking to improve on a somewhat disappointing 3rd place finish.
La Liga position: 3rd
Madrid’s lowly third-place finish was swept under the rug, largely due to their cup success. Winning ‘La Decima’ was a major goal for Real, far outstripping their desire for a league title or any other trophy. The Copa Del Rey was a nice which shielded Carlo Ancelotti from any criticism. His side were in prime position but faltered at the final few hurdle, winning only one of their last four matches.
In: Toni Kroos, James Rodriguez, Keylor Navas
Out: Nuri Sahin, Denis Cheryshev (loan), Jesus Fernandez, Casemiro (loan), Alvaro Morata, Diego Lopez.
Real were already blessed with one of the finest squads in the game. However the quality additions of Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez have taken the team to a new plateau. With just a year on his contract, the signing of Kroos can be viewed as a shrewd one, however Real certainly paid a premium for the Colombian World Cup star.
Regardless, given the fact that no important first-team midfielders have left the club, Madrid now have a multitude of quality talent in the middle of the park at their disposal unmatched by no other team in the world.
They only key player to leave was first-choice keeper Diego Lopez, who left for AC Milan. However stopper has been well replaced by the league form goalkeeper in shape of Keylor Navas. Morata, who also moved to Italy was a promising player, but was never likely to get the first-team minutes he craved.
Key Man: Cristiano Ronaldo
Needs little explanation. The Portuguese superstar scored 31 league goals, and whilst Real have the likes of Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez, Madridista’s hope rest firmly on his shoulders.
One to watch: Jese Rodriguez
With Morata gone, Jese is a close to a back-up striker that Real have. Injury to Benzema could force him into the side, and if he can begin to recapture the form that saw him become a regular last year, he could give Ancelotti a major selection headache.
Real Madrid 1 – 1 (2-3 p) Internazionale
Real Madrid 0 – 1 Roma
Manchester United 3 – 1 Real Madrid
Real Madrid 1 -2 Fiorentina
To say Real’s preseason has been a disappointment is an understatement. Yet to win a single match, they finished bottom of their group at the International Champions Cup in America.
Returning champions, they lost to Internazionale, Roma and Manchester United.
Of course they had to make do without a few World Cup stars for their opening matches, but still lost to Fiorentina with a full complement of first team players available.
La Liga: 1st
Regardless of their dire pre-season form, Real have already shown they can cut it when it comes to competitive competition, winning the European Supercup against Sevilla.
Real do have five other trophies on offer, but are more that capable of juggling numerous competitions thanks to the depth of their squad.
Bacelona will always be a test but the extent of their improvements is unknown, while real’s squad has improved and has not undergone extensive surgery, like Atletico’s have.
The biggest task for Ancelotti will be keeping his stars happy. He did a good job last year, but will face greater difficulty giving his stars the minutes they desire.
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