Where do Real Madrid go from here after Champions League semi exit?
Following Real Madrid’s surprising exit from the Champions League, Coral take a look at what they need to do next year to go all the way once more.
Despite delivering a landmark ‘La Decima’ last season, there are already rumours that Carlo Ancelotti’s job is on the line, with the Italian 5/2 to join Manchester City and odds-on at 1/3 to leave the Bernabeu before the start of next season.
Los Blancos, though, by anyone’s standards have still done considerably well, though not if you look at their outlay last summer. To end the season trophy-less compared to last campaign when they won the Copa del Rey and Europe’s elite club competition, it shows that the difference between success and failure is actually as narrow as a razor’s edge.
Real’s hopes of winning La Liga have faded, being four points adrift of bitter El Clasico rivals Barcelona with two games to play. There is a slim possibility of securing it, if they win both of their games and the Catalan club lose theirs.
The head-to-head record between the two clubs this term reads one victory each; however, because Los Blancos have scored four over two matches, and Barca just three, with both clubs conceding once, Real would nick it, in what is an unlikely event.
With James Rodriguez, Toni Kroos and Keylor Navas arriving last summer, plus Javier Hernandez on loan, it was thought that the Bernabeu boys had done enough to add more silverware to their trophy cupboard.
One big difference this campaign is the fact that Ancelotti let holding midfielder Xabi Alonso move on, while ball-retainer and playmaker Luka Modric has been out injured. The duo were instrumental in keeping the shape in Real’s Champions League campaign last term, and Juventus exploited this, with dynamic midfielders Arturo Vidal, Claudio Marchisio and Paul Pogba (in the second leg) causing problems.
Kroos has been utilised at times as a holding player in an imbalanced three-man engine room alongside the tucked-in Rodriguez and Isco. He is more suited, however, to playing with a genuine anchorman in a 4-2-3-1 formation used by former club Bayern Munich, and country Germany en route to winning the World Cup.
With the future of Gareth Bale uncertain, club president Florentino Perez could ring the changes in the summer, though will want to recoup at least £60m of the world-record £85m transfer fee Los Blancos paid for him. He is odds-on at 4/5 for a move to Manchester United and 7/1 for a switch to Bayern, which could be an interesting destination with the German giants’ current wingers approaching the end of their peaks.
Should Ancelotti go, it could signal the start of an overhaul. With Sami Khedira having already confirmed he is leaving, further fringe players could be deemed surplus to requirements in what could be a lucrative, high-profile Bernabeu bidding war.
Alvaro Arbeloa, Pepe, Fabio Coentrao, Asier Illarramendi, Isco and potentially Bale could well be sold off, as Perez puts together a new squad for another manager.
Jurgen Klopp is the obvious candidate and, if Bale does move, it could signal the start of negotiations for Marco Reus, the German manager’s former star forward from Borussia Dortmund. While the club will also need a defensive midfielder, Portuguese anchorman William Carvallho could be on the radar, while an obvious choice for a centre back is Mats Hummels, which should give the team more structure.