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Real Madrid Season Preview 2017/18: Attackers

What’s Asensio really capable of?

Deportivo de La Coruna v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

If Real Madrid have a loaded midfield line the same can be said about the attack. It’s hard to believe that a player like Marco Asensio will most likely be a reserve once Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema are all available and his role might even be a smaller one if Los Blancos manage to complete the signing of Kylian Mbappe.

The board could decide to change the way this attacking line is built if they sign Mbappe and sell Bale or if the French attacker joins the club and they decide to part ways with Borja Mayoral instead. It won’t be easy for coach Zinedine Zidane to manage the minutes of his squad but this is where he succeeded last season, so he should be capable of doing it again.

#7 Cristiano Ronaldo - The star

Age: 32

Cristiano Ronaldo just completed one of his best seasons as a pro by scoring crucial goals in almost every important game Real Madrid played during the final third of the season. He clearly paved the way for yet another Ballon D’Or after accepting Zidane’s rotation policy. Ronaldo wanted to play every single minute until Zidane arrived and told him he should be resting in order to be in better shape when the real fun begins. The rest is now history.

Juventus v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Final Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

However, Ronaldo somehow decided to make his presence on this year’s squad questionable after not making a statement when A Bola published that he wanted out of Madrid. Real Madrid’s fans are proud and Ronaldo will have work to do if he wants to earn the crowd’s unconditional support once again.

Season predictions:

Ronaldo will stay with Real Madrid and will clearly be a starter all season long, accepting Zidane’s policy once again. He will spend most of his time on the pitch in the center of Real’s attack alongside Karim Benzema.

#9 Karim Benzema - The silent assasin

Benzema survived the competition of Alvaro Morata, a fierce striker sold to Chelsea for €80 million after a brilliant season when he made the best out of the chances he was given. Morata never managed to earn a spot in the starting XI even though Benzema’s season wasn’t all that solid. Then why are Madrid keeping the French attacker, you might be asking?

Club Atletico de Madrid v Real Madrid CF - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Second Leg Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

It’s simple. Los Blancos play better when he’s on the pitch and that’s quite important. Benzema also delivered one of the most iconic moments of the season —decade?— when he dribbled past three Atletico defenders in a play which clinched Real’s presence in the Champions League Final.

Season predictions:

Benzema will also be a starter even though he might score less than 20 goals this season. He will face the criticism of the Spanish press all year long and yet his contribution to the team will be appreciated by those who actually understand he’s not expected to score goals as a pure number 9.

#11 Gareth Bale - The glass bullet

Gareth Bale might be facing the most important summer of his life. The Welshman is rumored to be on his way out of Madrid if Los Blancos sign Mbappe and he will also have to perform well enough to beat Isco and Asensio for a spot in the starting lineup even if he stays.

His pre-season has been quite poor but it’s fair to say that the whole team was mediocre during all four games played. Bale will have a good chance to prove his worth as the leader of the offensive line next Tuesday against Manchester United. He should also be starting against Barcelona in the Spanish Supercup. It’s go time for him.

2017 MLS All-Star Game: Real Madrid v MLS All-Stars Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Season predictions:

Bale will be given a starting role in the team and then his whole season will depend on whether he can stay healthy or not. Zidane will need to give him rest quite often so that he can have the fresh legs he needs to be productive for Madrid.

#20 Marco Asensio - The prodigy

Nobody expected Marco Asensio to be as productive as he was last season. It’s true that his first couple of performances for the club were great but he also found himself on the bench most of the time during the first two thirds of the campaign. However, Zidane suddenly decided to give him minutes and Asensio delivered in spectacular fashion.

He is so good that he will most likely compete with Isco and Bale for a spot in the starting XI. That’s just how deep Zidane’s roster is right now. Asensio has a bright future ahead of him but his present might be just as good. He is ready for the spotlight.

Real Madrid CF v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: Second Leg Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Season predictions:

Asensio will be crucial in both Supercups against United and Barcelona and then he will be a key man off the bench. If he’s given chances to make an impact, he will earn a spot in the starting lineup.

#17 Lucas Vázquez - The blue collar player

Lucas Vázquez’s importance within the team decreased quite a lot when Asensio blossomed into the player he is today. It might be hard for Vázquez to actually have meaningful minutes as an attacker considering how this roster is built but he could be a good backup right-back if Zidane’s coaching staff teaches him a thing or two on the defensive end.

Remember Real Madrid sold Danilo and let Pepe go as a free agent. Assuming Nacho is now Real’s third option in the center of the defensive line, there’s an opening to be Carvajal’s backup.

Granada CF v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

Season predictions:

Vázquez will be used when Real Madrid need a defensive presence on the flanks if Zidane is not willing to use him as a right-back. If the French coach gives him that chance, Vázquez’s speed and work-rate will be useful when Carvajal isn’t available.

#21 Borja Mayoral - This year’s Mariano

Mayoral has always been considered one of Real Madrid’s most intriguing prospects and yet he barely played with Wolfsburg last season. The young attacker might be too green to be Benzema’s backup and that role could actually be given to Ronaldo —promoting Asensio or Isco to a starting spot on the left flank— if the French striker isn’t available.

Season predictions:

It will be very hard for him to play, although Zidane found some meaningful minutes for Mariano last season when nobody expected it.

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