Is it time for a rebuild at Real Madrid?
Charlie Dear | 10 January 2019
2019 could be a new Galactico era
Real Madrid have won the Champions League for the last three years on the spin.
But take a look at La Liga and it’s clear to see the post-Cristiano Ronaldo era isn’t going smoothly for the Spanish giants.
Gareth Bale was supposed to slip into Ronaldo’s boots, but the Welshman’s time in Spain has been disrupted by injury.
The signings of Vinicius Jr and most recently Brahim Diaz hint at a new era – where youth and potential are the buzzwords.
But you need more than just promise to play for Los Blancos, so we take a look at how Real could reign in Spain yet again.
As Luka Modric’s career at Madrid inevitably draws to a close, it’ll be time to look for another man who can dictate the midfield.
Matteo Kovacic could return from his loan at Chelsea a different player. But it may be worth looking in a familiar place for Modric’s successor.
Christian Eriksen has become one of the most efficient playmakers in Europe whilst at Tottenham Hotspur. He’s now arguably as important to the club as star striker Harry Kane.
Eriksen’s current contract expires at the end of the next season and he’s waiting on an improved offer from Spurs.
If the right offer doesn’t come, then Madrid could do a lot worse than swoop for the Great Dane.
It may be impossible to replace Ronaldo like-for-like but Eden Hazard may well be as close as it comes in 2019.
The Belgian forward has taken on the brunt of the goal-scoring responsibility at Chelsea this year.
But the Blues are a far cry from the Champions League winners they were when he joined the club in 2012.
Hazard would herald a new Galactico era and will relish playing with the likes of Toni Kroos, Bale and Vinicius Jr.
The Spanish national team is so rife with players from Barcelona or the Madrid sides (Atletico or Real) that your eye tends to be drawn to those from outside the big three.
One of those is Villarreal’s Pablo Fornals. The 22-year-old has really come of age in the last two seasons and bagged his second international cap against Bosnia-Herzegovina in November 2018.
He’s been able to take advantage of Spain’s post-Andres Iniesta and David Silva flux, which could put him in the shop window of the La Liga giants.
Madrid have a young, up and coming midfield of Dani Ceballos, Federico Valverde and Marco Asensio.
Fornals could join a new, hungry squad of players who are destined for big things.
Defensively Real Madrid have conceded a whopping 23 goals in 18 games, with a +3 goal difference this campaign.
Compare that to their last league-winning side in 2016-17, they offset 41 goals conceded by hitting the net 106 times.
Sergio Ramos and Rafael Varane are a fearsome defensive partnership – but they need support.
Koulibaly has become one of the most sought-after defenders in world football and won’t come cheap.
But that was the case with Liverpool’s move for Virgil van Dijk and that didn’t work out too badly.
Click here for more La Liga odds
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication