Luka Modric has renewed his contract, Toni Kroos has made it clear he wants to retire at the Santiago Bernabeu and Casemiro is in his prime. Forcing your way into that Real Madrid midfield three is going to be quite the task, but Marca have taken it upon themselves to identify the players best suited to do it this year.
Martin Odegaard is the great hope. Last season seemed to be his time to break through, but he fell out of favour and left on loan for Arsenal in the winter market. Dani Ceballos was also on loan at Arsenal, for 18 months longer than Odegaard. He’s currently with La Roja at the Olympic Games, and will hope to return and be given the chance to convince Carlo Ancelotti he can contribute.
Isco is also hoping to convince the Italian coach. He had an irregular season under Zinedine Zidane last year, but played his best football under Ancelotti during his first stint at the club. The Andalusian is determined to win his place back in Luis Enrique’s Spain squad ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Fede Valverde has been the fourth midfielder during the Zidane era, and it will be interesting to see how Ancelotti uses him. It’s a similar story with youngster Antonio Blanco, the Castilla product who deputised for Casemiro often last season and didn’t put a foot wrong. Given Madrid’s financial restrictions, it’s thought he’ll continue to serve as the Brazilian’s reserve at the pivot.