Real Madrid have splashed the cash this summer and are expected to make changes to their regular starting XI when they travel to Balaídos to take on Celta Vigo in their first match of the 2019/20 season.
Los Blancos were thrashed 7-3 in their last match of pre-season by bitter rivals Atlético Madrid at the MetLife Stadium in New York.
Zinedine Zidane’s side will put this behind them and will be hoping for a successful campaign, as he looks to challenge FC Barcelona for the La Liga title. Los Blancos finished a huge 19 points behind the Catalan giants in third place last season and were knocked out of the Champions League in the last 16. The Madrid manager knows they must do a lot better in the upcoming campaign.
As a result, he has already spent close to a staggering £300m on acquiring Eden Hazard, Luka Jović, Éder Militão and young Brazilian Rodrygo Goes.
As of right now, without speculatively looking to future signings that may or not happen – here’s how Madrid should line up against Fran Escribá’s side next month.
Thibaut Courtois – GK
The Belgium international is expected to be the club’s number one and dislodge 32-year-old Keylor Navas next season. Courtois was the first choice between the sticks under both Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari, making 27 La Liga starts for Los Blancos last season.
The 27-year old has started two out of three of Real Madrid’s pre-season friendlies so far and will be expected to be named in goal when La Liga kicks off.
Dani Carvajal – RB
Carvajal has established himself as one Madrid’s key defenders since his arrival from Bayer Leverkusen in 2013.
Having been sidelined since sustaining a muscle injury in the humiliating 4-1 defeat to Ajax in the UEFA Champions League last season, he has featured in Madrid’s pre-season matches so far and will be looking to put injury behind him as he eyes a key role under Zinedine Zidane and keep Álvaro Odriozola out of the team.
Marcelo – LB
Marcelo will continue his role at left-back following injury to Madrid’s new signing Ferland Mendy, who is sidelined for four weeks following a muscular problem. The 31-year-old was expected to fall behind Mendy in the pecking order, but will now feature until the Frenchman returns to full fitness.
Sergio Ramos – CB
The 33-year-old will lead the line again next season, despite the arrival of €50m centre back Éder Militão from FC Porto on a six-year deal.
The Brazilian is seen as the long-term replacement for Ramos but may have to settle for game time in the domestic cup competitions.
Raphael Varane – CB
The Frenchman has been at Real since 2011, signing from Lens not long after his 18th birthday.
He added the World Cup to his collection of honours last summer and is expected to partner Ramos again next season, piping Nacho and new signing Militão to place in the starting XI.
Luka Modrić – CM
Ballon d’Or holder Luka Morič will no doubt form part of the midfield three. Fabián Ruiz of Napoli, Christian Eriksen and Ajax’s Donny van de Beek have all been touted to replace the long-serving 33-year-old Croatian international. However, he is expected to remain at the Bernabéu for the coming season.
Toni Kroos – CM
The 29-year-old made 43 appearances last season and will be keen to impress Zidane for up coming campaign. Kroos has been a mainstay in the Los Blancos engine room and the Germany international will continue where he left off next campaign.
Isco – AM
The Spanish playmaker could be drafted on the opening day as a replacement for Casemiro following the Brazilian’s participation in the Copa America.
Isco suffered a poor season under Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari, but during pre-season when the Spanish international is fit and in form, there are few players that can affect a game like the 27-year-old can.
Vinícius Júnior – RW
Vinicius could form part of the front three on the opening day of the season. The 18-year-old Brazilian has become a fan favourite since joining Madrid and has impressed under Zidane. He will look cause the Celta backline plenty of problems and will hope to be on the scoresheet on the opening day.
Eden Hazard – LW
It’s a no brainer that Hazard will start on the opening day of the season and Zidane will be hopeful the winger can fill the void left by Cristiano Ronaldo since his departure to Juventus. The Belgium international will want to hit the ground running right from the off and will play a key role throughout.
Karim Benzema – CF
Luka Jović hobbled out of Madrid’s 7-3 thrashing of bitter rivals Atlético in New York. It is unclear of how serious the injury is to the Serbian, but this could pave the way for Benzema to start on the opening day. The 31-year-old will have a huge battle on his hands following Jović’s €60m move from Eintracht Frankfurt.