Carlo Ancelotti has a lot of homework to do as Real Madrid coach and only a month to do it according to Diario AS. Their season gets underway on August 14th against Alaves, but there’s still a lot of unanswered questions at Valdebebas. Decisions need to be taken on the likes of Marcelo, Isco, Luka Jovic, Mariano Diaz, Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale, Dani Ceballos and Brahim Diaz.
David Alaba has arrived on a free transfer to replace Sergio Ramos, who’s joined Paris Saint-Germain. The problem with the versatile Austrian is where to play him; at centre-back, at left-back or in the pivot? Marcelo and Isco both endured tough seasons last term; could Ancelotti get the best out of them both and help them reproduce the form they showed during his first stint at the club?
Isco can bring experience, but that isn’t lacking in midfield thanks to the veteran trident of Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos. Beyond them there’s Dani Ceballos, Fede Valverde and Martin Odegaard, three players at a point in their career where they need regular first-team football. Managing that will be tough for Ancelotti, unless he decides Madrid should lighten the load.
Brahim’s future is up in the air; he’ll speak with Ancelotti before deciding whether to fight for his place in the Spanish capital or return to Milan, where he spent a successful season on loan. Breaking into the team would be tough given Marco Asensio, Rodrygo, Lucas Vazquez and Bale all play there.
Until Kylian Mbappe or Erling Haaland arrive at the Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid are going to need its wide players to chip in and take the load off of Karim Benzema. Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo will need to step up to the plate and begin to do what they’re paid to do; contribute goals. Ancelotti will also need to decide whether Luka Jovic and Mariano Diaz are worthy of serving as Benzema’s substitute or should be sold.
Two of the biggest decisions Ancelotti has to make have to do with Hazard and Bale. The former didn’t score a single goal for Belgium at Euro 2020, and looks a shadow of his former self. Ancelotti is the expert at getting a tune out of players like him, however, so there could be hope.
Bale appears to be determined to fulfil the final year of his contract at Madrid. He and Ancelotti didn’t always get along during the Italian’s first spell in charge, but Bale has been open that he’ll welcome him with open arms. Should Ancelotti prove to be able to restore both Hazard and Bale to something approaching their best, he’d be doing quite the job.