Zinedine Zidane’s first season in charge of Real Madrid couldn’t have gone much sweeter.
Yes, Los Blancos finished second to Barcelona in the La Liga title race. But given that they were 12 points behind Luis Enrique’s team in March, to finish just a single point adrift is an achievement.
And, of course, there’s the matter of Madrid’s Champions League victory over Atletico Madrid. It was their 11th European title and second in three years - and proved that Zidane has what it takes to succeed in the managerial hot seat.
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One of the joys of being in charge of a successful team is that it means there isn’t much room for improvement. Doubters will point to the need to keep updating the squad - something that Barcelona have done - but, in all honesty, Madrid aren’t desperate for reinforcements.
Fans wanted David de Gea to replace Iker Casillas but Keylor Navas had a fine season between the sticks. Cristiano Ronaldo proved that age isn’t catching up to him just yet, the 31-year-old scoring 51 goals in all competitions.
Alvaro Morata has joined from Juventus and here, we take a look at how he might fit into a possible Madrid XI for next season.
Goalkeeper: Keylor Navas
12 months ago, Madrid were looking to replace the Costa Rican with De Gea. But after Navas enjoyed a fine season, there have been no inquests into the Manchester United goalkeeper this time around.
Right back: Dani Carvajal
Carvajal is ahead of Danilo in the pecking order and with good reason. The Spaniard, who missed Euro 2016 with a leg injury, has come on leaps and bounds since Madrid exercised its buy-back option to sign the 24-year-old from Bayer Leverkusen in 2013.
Centre back: Sergio Ramos and Pepe
Raphael Varane’s time as a regular starter is nearing but it won’t be for a few months.
Pepe, 33, proved he remains a class defender with a stellar showing in Portugal’s victorious Euro 2016 campaign.
Left back: Marcelo
The attacking left back will continue his role behind Cristiano Ronaldo in the line-up.
Defensive midfield: Casemiro
Zidane knows that he needs reinforcement at the position, hence his pursuit of Paul Pogba.
But Madrid appear to have withdrawn their interest in the Juventus star, meaning Casemiro looks set to continue for another season.
And he’s far from an uncertain option. Zidane turned the Brazilian, 24, from a peripheral player under Rafa Benitez to a first-team regular.
Centre midfield: Toni Kroos and Luka Modric
The dream duo, perhaps the best midfield pairing in football, will combine their creativity and excellent passing skills for another campaign.
Right wing: Gareth Bale
Bale has passed his Madrid test with flying colours.
Injuries have stunted his progress somewhat, but the Welshman looks perfect in Madrid’s famous white shirt and looks ready to take on the mantle as the No. 1 Galactico when Ronaldo moves on.
Left wing: Cristiano Ronaldo
But Bale could be waiting a while. Ronaldo is the frontrunner to win the Ballon d’Or after helping Madrid to an 11th European Cup and Portugal to a maiden international trophy.
In worrying news for the rest of Spain, the former Manchester United forward looks like he can cut it at the very top for another three or four seasons.
Striker: Alvaro Morata
There were claims that Madrid triggered the 23-year-old's release clause in his Juventus contract simply to sell him on for a profit, but that might not be the case.
According to Spanish outlet AS, Madrid view Morata as a high-quality forward and are prepared to offer him a five-year contract as proof.
That’s bad news for Karim Benzema, who has been without competition for the past few years.
Will Real Madrid win the La Liga, Champions League and Copa del Rey treble next season? Let us know in the comments section below!
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