This summer looks set to see a dramatic overhaul of the current Real Madrid team, both in playing style and personnel.
The appointment of Carlo Ancelotti was in pointed contrast to that of Mourinho, the Italian offering a calm persona and dislike of controversy – not traits that Mourinho has ever been inclined to display. Ancelotti has promised to deliver ‘attacking… spectacular’ football, which would mean a change of system for the currently counter-attacking Madrid.
Just how might he achieve this?
Ancelotti has never been inclined to fit into one tactic or system, adapting according to a team’s strengths and players. However the currently fashionable tactic for attacking European teams is the 4-2-3-1, with roles for three or four creative midfielders. This tactic would also seem to fit with Real Madrid’s targets and current players’ strengths.
GK: Iker Casillas
Dropped by Jose Mourinho for most of last season in favour of Diego Lopez, Casillas remains a fan favourite and Spain regular despite the rival claims of Pepe Reina, Victor Valdes and David de Gea. It is difficult to see anyhting but Casillas returning to claim a regular spot for Real Madrid, despite Lopez's impressive performances.
RB: Alvaro Arbeloa
The Spaniard’s place in the Real Madrid and Spain teams seems to be secure, not because of his particular talent, but because of a lack of viable alternatives. In recent weeks Madrid have been linked with Borussia Dortmund’s Lukas Pizcszek, but a move seems still to be unlikely and consequently Arbeloa’s position is safe.
CB: Sergio Ramos
One of the un-droppables, both for Madrid and Spain, Ramos offers solidity, precision and leadership at the back, as well as chipping in with crucial goals. In conjunction with Gerard Pique, he forms the best defensive partnership in international football, and looks set to continue to be top of his game for several years.
CB: Raphael Varane
With two goals in two Clasicos, the French starlet announced himself on the biggest stage. At the tender age of 20, he can only get better in coming years and after becoming a regular in the latter part of last season, looks set to find a place in the team for years to come.
Having been named in FIFA’s World XI for the first time last year, the Brazilian has enjoyed his best season in Madrid colours so far. He provides decent attacking options as well as solid defending, even if he can sometimes be caught out by swift counterattacking. It is hard to see who could replace him and be a significant enough upgrade to make them worth the price.
DM: Xabi Alonso
At 31, Alonso is not getting any younger but is still at the top of his game. Although linked with a move to Chelsea, Madrid will try to keep Alonso for as long as possible, and at least for next season he will keep offering sterling service as the best at what he does in the world.
CM: Luka Modric
Scorned by fans and the media for much of last season, Modric came in to his own in the second part, scoring a key goal against Manchester United and looking much more like the Modric who terrorised Premier League defences at Tottenham. Having paid £35 million for him only a year ago, the Real Madrid board are unlikely to want to get rid of him so soon, and will therefore give him another chance to impress next season.
RM: Cristiano Ronaldo
The Portuguese winger’s future with Real Madrid looks in doubt, with Manchester United strongly linked with a move. However the club are certain to do all they can to keep the services of the second-best player in the world, and Ronaldo may yet sign a new contract. Madrid fans will be keeping their fingers crossed that their star man stays.
AM: Mesut Ozil
At only 24, the German midfielder still has so much to offer the Real Madrid team, his pace and invention making him one of the deadliest attackers in the world. The arrival of Isco who can play in his position will probably not affect him as Isco is better deployed on the wing.
A recent transfer coup, the talented Spanish U-21 star was snatched from under the noses of Manchester City for a fee believed to be in the region of £18 million. The pacy and tricky winger has shown enormous potential but has also, in his Champion’s League performances for Malaga last season, shown that he is ready to perform at the very highest level already.
FWD: Luis Suarez
The Liverpool and Uruguay striker appears to have his heart set on a move to the Spanish club, and Liverpool may wish to rid themselves of the controversy surrounding the striker, who scored 23 league goals last season.
Suarez is a deadly finisher as well as someone who can provide a killer pass, and in securing his services Real Madrid would acquire one of the most dangerous strikers in world football.
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