Eden Hazard – £90m
Luka Jovic – £54m
Eder Militao – £45m
Ferland Mendy – £43m
Rodrygo – £41m
The signings Real Madrid have been able to make so far during this summer’s transfer window will be the envy of virtually every club in world football. Added to that, they’ve got their three-time Champions League-winning manager back at the helm for a second stint, aiming to steer the club back to their glory days.
Not necessarily, at least.
Los Blancos have not forked out £250m on squad players. Sure, Rodrygo may be one for the future, but the other four will all expect to start and will have to do so at the expense of Madrid’s existing superstars.
Granted, the Spanish giants had a pretty dismal season last year, but the likes of Karim Benzema, Marcelo, and Sergio Ramos will all need to sacrifice playing time next season to help bed in their new teammates. These are three influential members of the Madrid dressing room, who Zidane risks upsetting.
Furthermore, how often does a big signing from a foreign league hit the ground running at a new club? None of these five players have played in La Liga before.
During the 2009 transfer window, Real Madrid spent £230m on players including Ronaldo, Benzema, Alonso and Kaka.
Barcelona won 6 trophies that season. pic.twitter.com/sY9klEjLTy
— Epic Football (@TheEpicFootball) June 13, 2019
Take Real’s 2009 summer transfer window as an example. Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso all signed for a combined total of £200m, yet they didn’t lift any silverware until nearly two years later and didn’t win La Liga until their third season – the same season in which they won their first Clasico for the club.
This can largely be attributed to the dominance of Barcelona during this era and, whilst they are no longer the all-conquering force they once were, the league title has only left the Camp Nou twice in the last seven seasons.
Barca cruised to La Liga glory last season and despite a slight fall from grace in recent campaigns, they are still a title-winning machine and will take some stopping in 2019/20. Additionally, it looks as though they will have Antoine Griezmann among their ranks next season as the Frenchman is close to finalising a move from Atletico Madrid.
Speaking of which, Atleti, who have just made a major signing of their own, are another club Los Blancos will have to overcome. Finishing eight points behind their city rivals in the last campaign, Real have quite the gap to make up.
But it’s not all about the league. This is Madrid, the club obsessed with the Champions League. However, even on the European stage, Zidane may have his work cut out.
Liverpool coasted to European glory last season and are expected to be strong again. Barca will be desperate to atone for consecutive seasons of miraculous defeats, and Diego Simeone’s Atleti are always a threat. Perhaps the biggest threat of them all, though, is Manchester City.
The Premier League champions clearly have a talented squad, but have so far fallen flat in the Champions League, and Pep Guardiola will be more determined than ever to bring City their first taste of European glory.
It’s important not to forget that Zidane’s trio of Champions League triumphs came with a huge helping hand from one of the greatest players to ever grace the game.
Think back to the brace in the 2017 final against Juventus, the hat-trick against Atleti in the semis, *that* bicycle kick, three goals against Paris Saint-Germain, five against Bayern Munich. Madrid were, at times, dragged through the competition singlehandedly by Ronaldo.
Hazard is an incredibly gifted player, but he cannot repeat Ronaldo’s heroics. No one can. Madrid will need to find another way to win.
Perhaps the 2019/20 season will be one of transition, as opposed to a return to the top. Very few managers are capable of incorporating this many superstars into an already talented squad without a few bumps in the road along the way.
Change can take time, and Madrid fans may need to show the patience which they are not exactly renowned for if they want to see this new crop of players succeed at the club.