3 things Real Madrid need to do to consider 2020 a successful year
Real Madrid had a standout decade during the 2010s particularly away from the domestic scene, winning 4 Champions League titles, as many FIFA Club World Cup titles, and 3 UEFA Super Cups.
Madrid are the only team after AC Milan (1993-95) to reach 3 consecutive finals in the Champions League Era. Where Milan (94-95), Ajax (95-96), and Manchester United (2008-09) all failed, Real Madrid (2016-18) succeded.
In other words, out of 5 instances when the reigning Champions League winner returned to the final of the competition the next year, Madrid is the only team to have successfully defended their title, doing so on 2 occasions (2017-18).
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Despite their success on the European stage, the record 33-time Liga winners have only two top-flight titles in the 2010s adorning their trophy cabinet. Thrice Madrid racked up over 90 points in a Liga season during the past decade, only to fall short against their arch rivals Barcelona in epic title races.
Following a tumultous run of three successive home defeats in February' 2019 which ended Madrid's contention in as many competitions, Zinedine Zidane returned to the helm of the top team after leaving the team at the end of the 2018-19 season when Madrid became the first team since Ajax (1974-76) to win 3 successive European Cup/Champions League titles.
The impact was almost immediate as Madrid recovered to qualify for the Champions League for the 23rd consecutive season and went top of La Liga for the first time in 2 years after winning at Celta Vigo on Matchday 1 of the ongoing 2019-20 season. As Madrid prepare to resume their competitive commitments following the winter break, two points adrift of defending champions Barcelona, here are the 3 things the Bernabeu club must do in 2020 to consider the calendar year a successful one.
#1 Win La Liga
After winning 31 games in the 2009-10 season, a tally good enough to win the Liga title, or most league titles in a 20-team league, Madrid had to contend for second place as Barcelona pipped them to the finish line by three points. A season later, Madrid again racked up more than 90 points only to be thwarted by the Catalan team once again.
In 2011-12, Madrid scripted Liga history, sealing their record-extending 32nd title by becoming the first team to breach the 100-point barrier and the most goals in a Liga season (121). It would be another five seasons when Madrid would lay their hands on the domestic title again, winning their 33rd top-flight title by dethroning two-time defending champions Barcelona.
Although Zidane only has one Liga title to show during his 2 and a half seasons with the first team, the Frenchman would dearly like to win the first Liga title of the 2020s decade and break Barcelona's domestic stranglehold of 4 titles in the last 5 seasons.
Madrid do have the personnel and the wherewhithal to go all the way this season, as Karim Benzema seems to have stepped out of the shadows of Cristiano Ronaldo by being a consistent source of goals up front. The Spanish capital club have been stingy at the other end of the pitch as captain Sergio Ramos and Rafael Varane has formed an effective central defensive pair to complement the efforts of Thibaut Courtois in goal.