At the start of last season, Real Madrid lost the two most important figures in the team – Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane. Ronaldo was their all-time top scorer with 450 goals in his nine seasons at Real while Zidane was the mind who led them to three consecutive European titles. Thus, it was no coincidence when things started to fall apart last season when these two departed.
Madrid burned through two managers, got knocked out of the Copa del Rey and Champion’s League within a week, and essentially dropped out of the title race after recording a 12-point deficit to the eventual La Liga winners, Barcelona. They hit rock bottom and it marked the end of an era of the second Galacticos.
But with every ending comes a new beginning. Real Madrid have begun to assemble a new team of champions in an attempt to return to the pinnacle of football once again. They started by bringing back Zidane, who had a win percentage of 69% prior to his exodus last year.
With the right man at the helm, they now needed to fill the void that was left by Ronaldo after his transfer to Juventus. As usual, club President, Florentino Perez, was not afraid to break the bank to get back to the top.
For €50 million, Eder Militao, 21, was the first recruit at the Santiago Bernabéu almost immediately following the Frenchman’s return in March. The Brazilian defender was named Primeira Liga Defender of the Month for five months in a row for Porto last season and earned his first call up to Brazil as well.
With time on his side, Real Madrid have made an investment for the future in the versatile Militao as he can learn and eventually take over from the veteran, Sergio Ramos, or Dani Carjaval, the first choice right back.
At the end of last season, they quickly resumed business and announced the €65 million capture of Europe’s hottest attacking prospect – Luka Jovic. The Serbian, also 21, rose through the ranks at Eintracht Frankfurt to become their starting forward last season scoring 27 goals in all competitions.
Real Madrid only recorded 63 goals last season which pales in comparison to the 106 goals they averaged in the nine seasons when Ronaldo was at the club. Real knew they were in trouble if they didn’t find someone to replace their goal-machine and Jovic’s performances in the Bundesliga was more than enough for them to splash the cash.
However, Jovic’s place in the starting eleven might come into scrutiny as Zidane still used Karim Benzema on opening night against Celta Vigo.
Their next transfer was probably their biggest. Back in 2010 when Zidane was still in charge of Real’s youth squad, he foreshadowed the eventual transfer of Eden Hazard by saying, “I would take Eden Hazard with my eyes closed.” After nine years of waiting, Perez proudly proclaimed, “We have been trying to make Hazard a Madrid player for quite a few years, but we haven’t managed to until now.”
His arrival was warmly received by 50,000 fans at his unveiling in the Bernabéu. Their new galactico cost them €100 million and it is likely that he will be next in line to don the coveted No.7 jersey at Madrid. With two Premier League titles, one FA Cup, one League Cup, and two Europa League trophies, the 28-year-old Belgian would be perfect to get them back to winning ways.
There is no greater love story than Real Madrid and talented left backs. Roberto Carlos and Marcelo have been hailed as some of the best in the world and after joining Real Madrid for €48 million, Ferland Mendy is hoping to emulate his predecessors.
His journey could be a drama of its own. At 15, he was diagnosed with arthritis in his hip which threatened to leave him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. However, he overcame all of that to become a professional footballer. He progressed from France’s second division with Le Havre to the top division with Lyon where his performances garnered him a national team call up. Eventually, the 24-year-old got the call from Real and without any hesitation, agreed to become their latest major signing.
The young, exciting Frenchman has been called “the Kylian Mbappe of left backs” due to his the flair and attacking prowess that allows him to dazzle on the left wing. With Mendy’s arrival, Marcelo’s departure is imminent.
After Mendy, Real Madrid have also brought in two 18-year-old wonderkids; Brazil’s Rodrygo for €45 million and Japan’s Takefusa Kubo for €2 million. While they may not regularly feature for the first team in the near future, they will be useful when Madrid’s current stars begin to wane.
By spending just over €300 million (a figure that could rise considerably with add-ons and even more transfers), Real Madrid hope to usher in a new era of greatness. Hopefully, the winning edge that they were missing last season has been restored with these new signings.
A 3-1 win over Celta Vigo on opening day even with a red carded Modric in the 56th minute, it spells trouble for Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.Leave a comment