Champions League 2015/16 profiles: Real Madrid
After losing their Champions League crown last season to bitter El Clasico rivals Barcelona, under the new management of Rafa Benitez, Real Madrid will hope to storm through their group and recapture the European crown.
Alongside PSG, Malmo and Shakhtar Donetsk, though, Bentiez faces a tough test in his first season in charge of the most decorated side in Champions League history, and they are 5/1 with Coral to go all the way again.
Domestic league: La Liga
How they qualified: The Galacticos finished the domestic campaign second behind rivals Barcelona, who historically clinched the treble.
Best Champions League era performance: Madrid are the record 10-time winners of Europe’s elite club competition, but the 2013/14 campaign saw Cristiano Ronaldo help guide the Spanish giants to that historic La Decima, toppling city rivals Atletico Madrid to do so.
Coach: Former Liverpool and Chelsea boss Benitez has plenty of experience in European competition, with his crowning glory being that famous 2005 Champions League victory with the Reds. Now 55, the previous Real Madrid B coach also lifted the old UEFA Cup with Valencia in 2004 and the Europa League in 2013 with Chelsea.
Ins and outs: For the first summer for many years, Madrid failed to lure in a big-money star to add to their ever-growing list of ‘Galacticos’, having missed out on Manchester United’s Spanish stopper David de Gea.
Although, talented right back Danilo did arrive from Porto, while Mateo Kovavic was the other notable signing from Benitez’s former club Inter Milan.
Long-serving cub legend Iker Casillas was a high-profile departure from the Spanish capital, as he left for a new career chapter with Portuguese titans Porto.
Key player: Look no further than main man Ronaldo, as he nears the latter stages of his incredible career, the Portugal international skipper will be out to secure as many goals and silverware success as possible before the unimaginable happens and he hangs up his boots.
One to watch: Welsh wing wizard Gareth Bale has almost single-handedly dragged his country towards a place in Euro 2016 next summer and his international form should see a revival of fortunes with his club this season.
Emerging talent: Having spent last season on loan with Porto, Brazilian defensive midfielder Casmeiro is set to reignite his Real career, with the 23-year-old already being involved this season from the get-go.
CL group and fixtures:
V Shakhtar (Home), September 15th
V Malmo (Away), September 30th
V PSG (Away), October 21st
V PSG (Home), November 3rd
V Shakhtar (Away), November 25th
V Malmo (Home), December 8th