The return of Zinedine Zidane as Real manager has no doubt been a welcome relief to many Madridistas. It solves the succession question and installs a winner with a proven track record.
The Frenchman is also someone who understands the club inside out, but more importantly knows how to maneuver the political machinery that so often sees other managers come unstuck.
As yet it’s still unclear precisely what lay behind the reasoning for Zidane’s departure, or in fact his turnaround in deciding to return. By many it’s thought to be that Florentino Perez has promised Zidane the necessary funds he needs to rebuild a Real squad that is nearing the end of its cycle.
What is also unclear is how Perez’s grandiose plans to renovate the Bernabéu, a deal which was announced just last week, will impinge on how Real can operate in the transfer market this summer.
Domestic form has been questionable for some time, but has been offset by recurring success in the Champions League.
The problem isn’t in the age of the squad itself, which throughout its ranks boasts some amazing talent at all ages. The first problem for Zidane to solve is how to manage the fact that many of Real’s senior players on the pitch are on the wrong side of 30.
In every area of the pitch there is a key starting player who is coming to the end of his career. Luka Modric, who has been the engine of this latest successful Real team is 33. Further forward, long time serving Karim Benzema isn’t getting any younger at 31.
Vice captain Marcelo who operates a position where you arguably have to be the fittest on the pitch as a wing back, is also turning 31 next month. Even more worryingly captain Sergio Ramos, the beating heart on the pitch, is on his way into his mid-30s.
It will be interesting to see how many of these core players are present as regulars on the team sheet next season. If you fancy Real to take a trophy in the next campaign and you’re looking for the market’s most attractive deposit bonus visit betting experts BetBlazers.com.
Trusting in youth
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Real have amassed a considerable array of young talent in their squad. Sourced from both within the academy and externally over the last season, Zidane has youngsters he should seek to blood in over the coming months.
Perhaps the most high profile of the young arrivals was Brazilian winger Vinicius Junior, who arrived from Flamengo for a hefty €45 million last season. Then there’s central midfielder Brahim Diaz, the Spaniard was swiped from under the nose of Pep Guardiola and Manchester City in January.
Defensive operators 23 year old Alvaro Odriozola and Sergio Reguilon at 22 look to be the wing backs of the future, and have shown promise over Santiago Solari’s ill-fated reign.
All these players show promise but are perhaps not quite ready to cement themselves into the core of the team just yet.
Tried and test
The responsibility then falls to those in between these two groups of players. The likes of Isco, Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez, Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal are all experienced members of the Real Madrid setup, having won Champions Leagues and Club World Cups since their arrival in the Spanish capital.
It is these players that will form the backbone of Zidane’s new look Real Madrid machine. They will be vital if Zidane is to phase out key, but ageing players in all areas of the pitch, while at the same time, hoping to transfer experience to Madrid’s youth.
However Real decide to spend the funds they have available Zidane knows that you can’t buy a full team in one transfer window, even two or three. Zidane will have to manage the age gap well and he’ll rely on younger but experienced players to do it.