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Real Madrid: Football Manager predicts transfers, form and trophies after Zidane's return to the club

Giulio Prifti
ANALYST
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205   //    Timeless

Real Madrid CF v RC Celta de Vigo - La Liga
Real Madrid CF v RC Celta de Vigo - La Liga

The 2018/19 season has been horrible for Real Madrid. The Galacticos dropped out of the Champions League against Ajax Amsterdam in the Round of 16, after winning the competition 3 times in a row.

They will lose out on the La Liga title, as Barcelona are way ahead of them in the table. The major reasons for the current situation are the departures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane before the season started. Real Madrid cannot get back Ronaldo back but in March, the latter was appointed to lead Real back to top after the two brief disappointing managerial spells of Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari.

I decided to simulate the comeback season of Zidane, from the beginning of the 19/20 season, and report how this year will possibly turn out.

Having a budget of reported £330 million, the club definitely does not lack money and ambition to find the best solutions on every position during the summer. Some Galactico signings are needed, that could lead Real Madrid back to glory and fill the gaps.

Real Madrid CF v SD Huesca - La Liga
Real Madrid CF v SD Huesca - La Liga

Before the start of my FM save, Bale, Rodriguez, Modric, Kovacic, Bale, and Vazquez had already left the club.

I decided to go with the transfers that I have written about in another Article.

The squad list would look like this:

GK: Navas, Lunin, Roberto

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RB: Carvajal, Odriozola

CB: Ramos, Varane, Militao (NE), Nacho

LB: Marcelo, Reguilon

CM: Casemiro (NE), Kroos, Milinkovic-Savic, Llorente, Ceballos

CAM: Isco, Havertz

RW: Dybala, Asensio

ST: Icardi, De Tomas

LW: Hazard, Vinicius (NE)

Players in Bold: New transfers

Players in Cursive: Coming back from loan

(NE): Non-European


June 2019 - December 2019

LaLiga:

League table after 17 rounds in the 19/20 season
League table after 17 rounds in the 19/20 season

After a great start and an impressive win streak, Real Madrid are behind Barcelona and Atletico, who both have 43 points. With their 35 points, Real probably are not entirely happy, but having one game less, the team could, in case of a win, reduce the gap to 5 points.

Valencia CF v Real Madrid CF - La Liga
Valencia CF v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

Copa del Rey:

In the Copa del Rey, the journey of the Los Blancos is still continuing. They are in the 5th round, after a comeback against Mallorca, where the squad lost 2-1 in the first leg.


Champions League:

Group stage table after all 6 games
Group stage table after all 6 games

The Champions League might be the most important tournament for the team. After a very awkward performance in the last campaign, when Real were destroyed by a young Ajax side, Zidane tries to make up for the performance of his predecessors. Madrid easily won the group consisting of Porto, Roma, and Brügge. The Galacticos did not drop any point - an achievement that no other club was able to do.


Individual performances:

Real Madrid vs Melilla - Copa del Rey - Fourth Round
Real Madrid vs Melilla - Copa del Rey - Fourth Round

Eden Hazard might be Real’s player of the season so far. The Belgian was able to score 16 goals in every competition. He scored 9 league goals, just as Mauro Icardi, who is also having a very good start at Madrid.

Maybe the biggest surprise so far is Marco Asensio. The 23-year-old was able to contribute to 20 goals, which makes him the team’s top scorer so far. On the other hand, Isco and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic are both leading the assists table in the league. No other player was able to set up 8 goals. The Serbian seems to have a very good season in general. He already scored 5 goals and assisted in total 13 times, in all competitions.

Another interesting fact is that both, Marcelo and Carvajal, seem to have lost their first team spot. Reguilon and Odriozola both played the majority of the games so far.

In the center of the defense, the duo of Ramos and Varane is still set. Apart from that, Militao was also able to prove himself in seven games.

Club Atletico de Madrid v Real Madrid CF - La Liga
Club Atletico de Madrid v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

Some of the biggest disappointments so far have been Dybala and Havertz. While the German is still very young and possibly needs to find himself a place in such a big team, the Argentinian only played 6 games so far. In those, he did not contribute to any goal.


Big games:

Real Madrid won the first Classico under Zidane for over one year. In a thrilling 3-2 win, Hazard, Asensio, and Casemiro were able to outscore the Catalonians.

In the other big match against Atletico Madrid, the white side of Madrid lost 2-3. Goals of Icardi and Hazard were not enough to secure a victory.

The other two losses in this fall came against Valencia and Real San Sebastian.

Dynamo Kyiv v Chelsea - UEFA Europa League Round of 16: Second Leg
Dynamo Kyiv v Chelsea - UEFA Europa League Round of 16: Second Leg

Summary:

So far, the season has not been perfect for the Los Blancos as they are only third in the league. Despite that, big positives are a very good Champions League run so far, as well as the Hazard, Icardi, and Asensio, who could be the new “BBC”.


January 2020 - May 2020

In the winter transfer window, Real Madrid secured the signing of Samir Handanovic from Inter. In the same time, they loaned out Havertz, Valverde, and Militao.

LaLiga:

League table after 17 rounds in the 19/20 season
League table after 17 rounds in the 19/20 season

Apart from a few games in spring, Real Madrid were not able to catch on some form. Every 2 or 3 wins, there was at least one loss or tie. In the first half of the year, the team managed to average 2.19 points a game, whereas, in the second half, the average was only on 1.95 points. It could be worse than 3rd place, however, the distance to Atletico and Barca is quite embarrassing for a team like Madrid.


Copa del Rey:

Club Atletico de Madrid v Girona FC - La Liga
Club Atletico de Madrid v Girona FC - La Liga

In the round of 16, the team faced Espanyol, who they were able to beat easily. In the next round, the other Madrid side was waiting for them. In a thrilling battle, where both games ended 3:2, Saul was able to score the 3:3 in extra time, which was enough for Atletico to go further and win the competition later on.


Champions League:

In the first round of the knockout stage, Liverpool faced Real in a rematch of the 17/18 final. Surprisingly the Spaniards went through quite easily and won 7-1 on aggregate. In the next round, one of the worst possible opponents was awaiting FC Barcelona. After Messi & co managed to win 3-2 in the Camp Nou, Zidane had to go all out in the rematch. In a thrilling game, where Madrid managed to come back from being 0-1 down, the Galacticos won 4-3, which was not enough to go through on aggregate.


Individual performances:

A very good sign is, that “HIA” (Hazard, Icardi, and Asensio) were able to maintain their form from the first part of the campaign. Hazard and Asensio actually both finished on 26 goals and 11 assists in all competitions. Icardi even managed to score 27 times in his 43 games.

Genoa CFC v FC Internazionale - Serie A
Genoa CFC v FC Internazionale - Serie A

From the midfield, Isco was able to contribute 21 assists to his teammates, which is the best figure of the team. Behind him, Casemiro and Milinkovic-Savic were both undisputed starters that managed to get double figures in both, goals and assists to the team.

Odriozola and Reguilon maintained their new starting spot; especially the right-back was able to shine in his new role. In the center, Nacho surprisingly replaced the out of form Varane. In this position, he even played more games than Ramos, which makes him irreplaceable for the defense.

Kroos and Dybala were the letdowns of the season. While the German played 19 games on an average level, the latter failed completely. Dybala only played 11 times, in which he was not able to contribute to a goal.

Two other players that will look back at a disappointing season are probably Ceballos and Vinicius. Neither of them played more than 9 games, nor were they able to really make an impact in those. It is sad to see such talents wasted on the bench.


Big games:

Real Madrid CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga
Real Madrid CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga

Besides the Champions League games against Barca, the big occasions were more or less a success.

In the second Classico of the league season, Real managed to get a draw at the Camp Nou. Icardi and Asensio scored in the 90 minutes, to win the team a point.

The Madrid derby also ended better than expected. In the 4:2 victory, Hazard scored twice at the start of the game, before Icardi and De Tomas were able to finish Simeone’s side.


Summary:

The time span from January to June was not as successful as the Galacticos probably hoped it would be. They were very unlucky in the Copa and Champions League and simply failed to be consistent in the league. Despite that, it was a good season for a squad which had a big rebuild in the summer and first had to find itself together. Another good sign is the amazing attack of “HIA”, which can hopefully lead Real Madrid to titles in the following years.

Real Madrid Celebrate After Victory In The Champions League Final Against Liverpool
Real Madrid Celebrate After Victory In The Champions League Final Against Liverpool
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