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Five Things Madridistas Should Look Out For During Copa America And Euro 2016

Real Madrid has ten players in this summer's tournaments

Stu Forster/Getty Images

One of the greatest fruits that comes out of years that end with an even number is that football seems perpetual. Just when you think you've called it a season, the high from the Club campaign morphs into excitement at the international level. Just 24 hours after the Champions League final, the players commence their preparation for the Euros or World Cup. This season, there's even more to keep an eye on with Copa America and the ever-interesting Olympics -- a tournament to keep an eye out for young prospects -- on the horizon. It doesn't end - not for you, and not for us. You watch, we write.

In these coming months, Real Madrid has a combined ten players involved in Copa America and Euro 2016. It's not a huge number considering the amount of talent this squad has, but you have to also consider that Keylor Navas, Raphael Varane, and Dani Carvajal's respective injuries are keeping them out of their squads; while Marcelo and Danilo were not selected by Dunga for this year's Copa America. Then there is the most obvious omission - the infamous Karim Benzema who's been vilified enough not to be considered for the French National Team despite having a tremendous season with Real Madrid.

Isco, a key rotational player under Zidane this season, should probably have been there too. He can do what Pedro does, but better. That's a total of 17 players who should be represented internationally, if everyone is healthy and sane. But so long as these omitted players have a healthy off-season and recover to come back stronger for the '16-'17 campaign, the fans will be happy.

Here are five things to keep an eye out for this summer as a Madridista:

Gareth Bale arrives

Well this is exciting. For all us Gareth Bale junkies out there, we get to watch him on a major international stage for the first time. Throughout the qualifying campaign, Bale put Wales on his back in order to get them here with some tremendous performances.

If you enjoyed watching Bale this season -- his best with the Club -- then you'll be balls-to-the-walls excited to see him perform with Wales this summer. We don't know how the Welsh National Team will react to such a big stage, but we do know it'll be exciting, and with two of the three other teams in their group being Slovakia and Russia, Wales has a legitimate opportunity to leap into the round of 16. Even their match against England will be fascinating.

With Wales, Bales is almost a mirror-image of his Real Madrid self, but with more of the ball at his feet. Bale is a fun player to watch, so the more he has the ball, the better it is for all of us on-looking observers.

Wales manager Chris Coleman likes to deploy Gareth Bale high up the pitch, typically just in behind the striker(s). There, Bale roams and wreaks havoc with his pace and behemoth-like presence. When Aaron Ramsey is available, Coleman tends to give them both freedom to roam without the ball, keeping defenders guessing and providing tasty aesthetics for fans.

England, the favorites of the group, are rightfully concerned about how they will deal with Bale when the time comes, and interestingly enough, their scheduled friendly with Portugal was intentional in the sense that manager Roy Hodgson wanted to test his team against Cristiano Ronaldo, who is Bale's parallel in Real Madrid's scheme.

"We were thinking about Gareth Bale," Hodgson said when he explained why Portugal had been chosen as opponents.

"When we thought Portugal, we were thinking not only about their technical qualities and the fact they are a very good football team, but they also have a special individual."

James at his best

"His national team is based almost entirely around him," former Colombia head coach Francisco Maturana said, "something that isn't the case when he plays for Real Madrid."

The 'Colombia' version of James Rodriguez is more dynamic than the one that plays in Real Madrid, particularly this season. Same player, different scheme, different usage. In Colombia, everything runs through James, and his ability to link-up with striker Carlos Bacca is all kinds of fun, and that's something you should be looking out for in the Copa America opener against USA tomorrow night.

In Monaco, James made his name on the right wing - a position he has often played with Real Madrid too. Under Jose Pekerman, James spends the bulk of his time either centrally or hovering to the left wing.

For those of you who have followed my work in the past year, you know that I strongly feel there is a big role to play for James in Real Madrid, though it's not particularly easy to breakthrough in a BBC-led team. James is talented and, he is, theoretically, talented enough to play for Real Madrid, but he would need to be at the very least one of the first players off the bench.

He is not though, and it's almost impossible to see things changing next season with the emergence of Lucas Vasquez, and Zidane's love for Jese's flair in general. James Rodriguez may have already played his last match in a Real Madrid shirt - it's a reality we have to face. If he has an other-worldly Copa America tournament, things may change; but they may also not, and Real Madrid could use his performance as leverage to swing a deal that jettisons the Colombian to another team.

Nevertheless, as he often does with Colombia, James should provide a spark over the next couple months, and it's something to keep an eye out for. We'll also be tracking James throughout the Copa America campaign on Managing Madrid.

Casemiro's international break-out

Now that the Brazilian has been actively involved, and hugely important for Real Madrid's Undécima run, Brazil head coach Dunga has taken notice, calling up Casemiro to the Copa America squad. This is something Real Madrid fans should be really encouraged about - not only because it's great for Casemiro's development, but it's also now an excuse for fans to tune in to Brazil's games, given that both Marcelo and Danilo were both omitted from the squad.

And before you completely write Casemiro off from breaking into Dunga's starting XI -- he is currently fighting for a place with Corinthians' Elias and Wolfsburg's Luis Gustavo -- there is chatter that Dunga now actually prefers Casemiro as the starting midfield anchor, and in Brazil's latest training session, Casemiro lined-up alongside the usual starters for the scrimmage.

The usual suspects

Real Madrid's usual international contingent will be omnipresent. Toni Kroos will look to help Germany dethrone Spain's crown, while Sergio Ramos will look to defend it. As always, we'll enjoy Luka Modric slinging balls with the outside of his foot alongside Mateo Kovacic (more features to come on this subject). One of the more interesting stories could be Cristiano Ronaldo's very last chance to win the European Championship. He's yet to win a major international tournament, and considering this is one of the weaker Portuguese sides that Ronaldo has been a part of, things are looking bleak. Don't count Cristiano out as he tries to restructure his international DNA and add to his legacy.

The sleeper

Lucas Vazquez emerged this season under both Rafa Benitez and Zinedine Zidane, proving an important and productive piece of Real Madrid's team. As a result, he's now deservedly a part of the Spanish National Team. Though he probably should be ahead of Pedro in the depth chart, it will be hard to see him break out and get playing time under Vicente Del Bosque who has so many weapons already at his disposal in that position.

Look for two (hopefully more) scenarios where Del Bosque might introduce Vazquez: 1) Spain overruns their group, ensures a first place finish, and rests its key players in their third match against Croatia; and 2) Del Bosque needs to preserve a lead and inserts Vazquez to stabilize the game with his tremendous diligence and ability to track back.

There will be plenty of battles for Real Madrid's player in the coming months, and we'll be covering all of it.

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