Real Madrid had a good summer. Well, not by Galactico standards, but there has been a sense of stability since Carlo Ancelotti took over from Jose Mourinho.
Signings were made keeping in mind long-term prospects and there are even rumours that Cristiano Ronaldo is going to sign a contract extension - a very good summer indeed.
After a tempestuous last season, Madrid will look to regain some of their pride by giving Barcelona a tough time in the league as opposed to the velvet carpet they laid out for Barca to cruise over last season, and also claim the long long-awaited La Decima.
They have the squad to achieve both these objectives, and to put Madrid right on top of the list of most fearsome teams.
Summer activity & players to watch
Real Madrid have made such good signings this summer that I wonder if Florentino Perez made a secret trip to La Masia after winning his third term as president.
Watching Barca take the world by storm with the help of technically excellent players in whom they invested from a very young age, Real Madrid finally seem to be coming to terms with the fact that throwing money away is not the answer to everything.
Watch out for Isco, Asier Illarramendi, Daniel Carvajal and Ronaldo over the course of the season.
At 28 years of age, Ronaldo is in his prime right now and that does not bode well for many.
Having a variety of midfield ammunition to choose from, this season can be his best and also a Ballon d’Or winning one.
When he bags a new contract (which should be soon), Ronaldo will feel that the club values him as he should be and his gratitude will surely be delivered in bags of goals and maybe even assists.
How badly will Madrid miss Gonzalo Higuain?
But as time progresses, Madrid may miss him more than they thought, and it will be interesting to see whether Ancelotti places more faith in the Madrid youth than Mourinho did, especially when under the intense pressure of delivering results week in, week out.
With the inclusion of Neymar, Barca have strengthened their firepower and the lack of a good defence may not prove to be much of an issue in the two-horse race of La Liga.
To reclaim the Liga throne from them will be no easy task, but Real will feel that they have a very good chance of doing just that with the infusion of fresh young talent in the form of Isco and Co. - plus the experience of proven stars like Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil, Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso.
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