It took him more than 6 months, but Zinedine Zidane has finally found his starting eleven. The manager arrived after the defeats in the Champions League against Ajax and Copa del Rey against Barcelona as the Messiah to save the club, but the following weeks were a nightmare. In the pre-season there were only bad results and La Liga didn’t start well for Los Blancos. The worst thing was that Zidane looked completely lost, not knowing how he wanted to play or the players he wanted to use. However, everything has changed in the last days.
Zidane has repeated starting eleven in the last games and the team works perfectly, not conceding goals and being more reliable. Courtois, Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Varane, Marcelo, Casemiro, Valverde, Toni Kroos, Rodrygo, Hazard and Benzema. This is the starting eleven right now that won’t change unless there is any injury or the manager wants to give some rest to any of the players.
Courtois is Zidane’s goalkeeper. After Keylor Navas departure and his many mistakes, the supporters booed Courtois, who even left the pitch at Bernabéu for Areola. However, the Belgian goalkeeper is more solid than even, keeping four clean sheets in the last four games.
The defensive line is exactly the same as in the previous era. Mendy or Militao are not ready yet to replace any of the four players if they are fit and healthy. Marcelo is showing better level than last year, whereas Carvajal has no competition because Odriozola is not keeping up his level. Nacho is still very poor, so only Militao could replace any of the full-backs.
In the midfield we see the main surprise. ‘El Pajarito’ Fede Valverde is one of the best news of the last months. The Uruguayan midfielder gives stability, pace and stamina to the midfield, helping in the pressure and playing the ball with quality. Luka Modric has only space in the second half, as his age punishes him. In addition, the best Toni Kroos is showing up again, with Casemiro as a reliable figure. James Rodríguez, who showed good level in the first weeks but with physical injuries, and Isco, who is completely out of the team, are no competence now for the trio.
Finally, we have to highlight the attacking line. Rodrygo Goes has impressed everybody with his facility to find the net. Gareth Bale’s injuries and Lucas Vázquez or Vinicius Junior poor level, gave space to try the Brazilian youngster and he’s now a rising star in the club. Together with him, Hazard has a fixed spot, although he should improve his performance. The ‘9’ is for Karim Benzema, looking sharp and scoring easily. Jovic is still lost, whereas Mariano Díaz doesn’t count for Zidane.