- Fix the defense, especially set piece defense. With Raphael Varane set to come back (hopefully soon) from injury and Sergio Ramos really not able to play that much worse than he already is, the sky is the limit in the second half of the season. Pepe has been, for the most part, a breath of fresh air as he's corralled the back line and taken responsibility as the best defender this season (his performance against Osasuna shows that). Reinforcing the defense is a possibility in the transfer window, but I doubt anyone is coming so we'll have to bank on Varane's comeback and Sergio hopefully getting back on track to his past excellent levels.
- Speaking of Sergio, grow back the hair of days past. I don't like the short look, I feel that it's affecting his performance and I think his best days were with a longer ‘do. Yes, I'm that superstitious.
- Marcelo, never change. You may be a "passable" defender but you're the sunshine on this club. Keep doing stuff like this.
- Incorporate the youth more. Due to RM's stature and constant presence in a number of competitions, the season becomes a long, tedious, brutal affair which tests the endurance of every single player. Some guys have been playing a ton thanks to lack of depth/viable alternatives. However, Illarramendi, Casemiro, Morata and Jese could use some more time to keep the older guys fresh for a late Champion's League run as well as the challenge for the title.
- Please stop conceding goals at the start and end of matches. Three allowed in the first 15 minutes, four in the last 15. This club always seems to get off to slow starts in matches but there are only so many times you can come back to snatch a win after being down a goal. Opponents have scored first in seven out of 17 league matches, that's not something to be proud of. You can count on one hand the number of times Real came storming out of the games with a real sense of intensity so that's something to change and especially against the elite clubs in the CL. Grab a good lead early, rest guys, give the youngsters minutes, profit in the long-run.
- The BBC has got to track back more and help the guys behind them. The early season was littered with acres and acres of open space in between the midfield and the front three attackers, thus leading to the opposition exposing RM and using this freedom of space to their advantage. Gareth Bale has shown some effort in this sense and Karim Benzema does it every once in a while, but all three guys could show some more effort in tracking back to fight for lost balls and provide clear outlets for Xabi, Modric and co. Quality midfields will pick Real apart if they don't help out.
- Renew Xabi's contract. Goes without saying, this team just plays better with Red Beard in the starting lineup. Despite his age and injuries, clubs around the world are waiting to see what he'll do in order to line up for his signature, there just isn't a single club out there who couldn't use his skills other than maybe Bayern Munich. The fans have done a great job showing their love for Xabi and the front office needs to keep pushing to get him to re-sign.
- Xabi, please teach the other guys how to dress off the pitch. Look at this. Or this. Now compare it to this.
- Luka, shoot more. Please. You have a cannon and you shouldn't be afraid to unleash it. Isco, keep discoing and feel free to slide a through ball every now and then.
- Animo Sami. Animo Fabio. Can't say it enough.
- CR, you're a radiant blossoming flower no matter if you win the BDO or not. Ignore the critics. Just make sure to drop back on defense every once in a while (or at least once) and the rest will take care of itself.
- Strikers, we could use some more consistency from you. Yes it's hard to give a lights-out performance in every single match and yes, it's hard to set nets on fire with the likes of CR, Bale, ADM and Isco taking lots of shots, but imagine how much more dangerous this club would be if Big Benz and Morata consistently pestered defenders in the box. We'll get a wonderful scoring/chance creating/pressuring performance maybe every 45 minutes but I think it's safe to say that there have been one too many matches where it would seem that Real is playing a 10v11 match. These two are a very good strike unit but that's not to say that they have met their full potential.
- Benz, please keep the hair buzzed. You looked like a rooster who woke up on the wrong side of the bed to start the season and there was no way we could support that. No more of that nonsense.
- Carletto, no more 4-4-2/4-3-3. It wasn't good, it's archaic and we all know it. Also, feel free to be a little bit more reactionary with your substitutions and maybe don't experiment in the biggest game of the season to date, okay?
- Flo Bro, if you're going to partner with an outside party maybe try and keep the stadium name as El Estadio Santiago Bernabéu and not "Mountain Dew Code Red Real House of Pain" or something to that effect. Partnerships are a great way of raising funds, and with the way Real is spending $$$ on transfers I'd say that they could always use a little bit more pocket change, but ticking off a large chunk of the fanbase by changing the name of one of the cathedrals of football isn't the way to go.
- Diego, just say that you support the manager's decision and that you'll do what you can to make the club better. Iker, just say that you support the manager's decision and that you'll do what you can to make the club better. No fanning the media flames, please. If either of you want to move on or have beefs with someone then figure it out behind closed doors and try to keep the media in the dark.
- This font is hideous. Whatever the kit is next season, please stay away from this font as much as you can. Just burn it in a fire.
- Fans, realize that this is a game. A game in which grown men kick a ball back and forth. It's not life or death and raising your blood pressure to ridiculously absurd levels over it just isn't worth it in the long run. Be nice to each other and keep things in perspective.
Happy new year, everyone.
More from Managing Madrid