On Sunday night, at a spectator-less Estadio da Luz, Bayern Munich beat Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in the Champions League final, concluding the 2019-20 campaign.
When COVID-19 struck in February, no-one expected such a satisfactory conclusion to the season. No one expected Liverpool, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Juventus to lift their respective league titles after surviving all the league encounters.
Now that the 2019-20 season’s in the history books, it’s time to reflect on the gruesome campaign, learn about the weaknesses and polish the strengths. Real Madrid, who beat Barcelona to the punch in La Liga, too, are in dire need of self-reflection.
They, too, need to figure out a way to stay on top, not surrender when Barcelona come knocking next season.
Real Madrid, of course, were thoroughly impressive in the league. However, the Round of 16 exit in the Champions League, for the second consecutive season, is bound to raise some eyebrows.
In the Copa del Rey, too, they were bested by a spirited Real Sociedad side in the quarter-finals, which marked their sixth successive exit from the domestic cup competition.
Los Blancos coach, Zinedine Zidane, has a capable, title-winning squad at his disposal, but the Frenchman still needs to pay attention to some areas — three of which need his immediate consideration.
Any team in the world would feel content to have Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Nacho, and Eder Militao at their disposal. Sadly, when push comes to shove, Real Madrid always seem to rely on one particular player — their 34-year-old captain fantastic, Sergio Ramos.
It’s true that the Spanish international is in the form of his life and is one of the best in the business. However, even the mighty Sergio Ramos cannot escape the punishment of time, which could push him to leave his favourite club sooner than later.
In Varane and Militao, Real Madrid have two capable central backs. However, none of them have the leadership qualities Ramos so effortlessly displays.
Every time Real Madrid have played without their captain, they have looked clueless and disjointed, and Zidane must find a way to make the problem disappear.
Ideal signings: Both Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt have shown commendable leadership qualities at the heart of their respective defences.
Van Dijk, of course, is the more experienced of the two and could settle in faster. However, the former Ajax man, who only turned 21 in August, is not a bad choice by any means.
Player(s) currently linked: As per sources, Real Madrid have set their eyes on Sevilla central defender, Jules Kounde, and want to sign him in the summer. It’s speculated that Real Madrid would have to pay around €50m to sign him.
While Sergio Ramos is the undisputed leader of Real Madrid, Casemiro is pretty much the heart and spirit of the men in white.
Under Zinedine Zidane, Casemiro has established himself as the most consistent defensive midfielder in Europe and always adds a new dimension to Real Madrid’s play every time he steps on to the pitch.
He’s the brick wall that breaks opposition attacks, the extra defender whenever Los Blancos are caught off-guard.
Given the shift he puts in and the quality he adds, Casemiro should be one of the most well-guarded players at Real Madrid. Surprisingly, the Brazilian happens to be the only player at Real Madrid who doesn’t have a natural replacement.
So, every time he’s suspended or injured, Real Madrid would be forced to play without a natural central defensive midfielder.
Ideal signing: Rennes’ 17-year-old French midfielder, Eduardo Camavinga, has the potential to be Casemiro’s worthy backup, and eventually, successor. Sadly, the teenager has a rather ludicrous price tag, which is too much for Real Madrid to consider.
Player(s) currently linked: Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi is reportedly on Real Madrid’s radar, and the English club isn’t wary of having an honest discussion with the 13-time European champions. Real Madrid reportedly consider him to be Eduardo Camavinga’s cheaper alternative.
Real Madrid’s biggest concern has been lack of goals, and they must find a way to rectify that before the new season resumes.
Karim Benzema has been a great goalscorer for the Madrid club, but he hasn’t had the support he needed. Eden Hazard spent the majority of the season nursing his injuries, while Luka Jovic never got the chance to make his mark.
Ideal recruit: Given how the Gareth Bale saga is turning out, it isn’t difficult to assess that Real Madrid need a potent right-winger. Marco Asensio and Rodrygo are capable options, of course.
However, they can’t hold a candle to the World Cup winner, Kylian Mbappe. The Frenchman has blistering pace, can dribble, has a killer right boot, and is only 21-years-old.
If Real Madrid manage to sign the Frenchman, they would be set for a decade, but Paris Saint-Germain aren’t willing to listen to offers as of yet.
Player(s) currently linked: Inter Milan striker, Romelu Lukaku has been linked with a move to Real Madrid, but it won’t fix their lack of quality on the right-wing. The Belgian is an asset, of course, but Luka Jovic is still bound to stay up the pecking order.