It’s no secret that Real Madrid had an awful season this year. They suffered 12 defeats in La Liga, and 18 defeats in all competitions — leaving them with a loss percentage of 31.58%. The last time Real Madrid had a percentage that high was the 1998/1999 season which had a loss percentage of 31.48%. Saying this was a bad season is an understatement — it’s literally the worst Los Blancos has had in decades.
Even before the season started, fans were anxious. In the summer, Cristiano Ronaldo transferred to Juventus and Zinedine Zidane quit his managerial position. These moves seemed like bad omens, and eventually everyone’s worst fears were realized. By the time Zidane returned, the season could not be salvaged. After three managers and countless days of heartache, Real Madrid finished third in La Liga — dropping crucial points in very careless fashion. We were forced to watch our rivals lift the trophy yet again.
To make matters worse, Real Madrid was eliminated from UEFA Champions League in the round of 16, something we haven’t seen in a while, by a very ambitious Ajax team. This was especially hurtful because Real Madrid had won the Champions League three times in the last three years. The noise from a bad La Liga campaign could be drowned out by the fact that at least they were European champions. In addition to that, Los Blancos blanked in Copa del Rey. The only thing they have to show from this season was a Club World Cup win back in December but cannot and will not make up for the failures in the league and Europe.
Here are five Ways Real Madrid can avoid another season like the 2018/2019 season:
- Zidane has to find back his groove. Zidane took Real Madrid by storm in his first attempt at managing in 2016. By the time he left in 2018, Real Madrid had won three Champions Leagues, two SuperCups, and one league title. Real Madrid was experiencing long periods without losses. The players looked inspired and they were getting positive results. It was a great time to be a Real Madrid fan. Even when Real Madrid wasn’t doing so well in the first half, a quick half-time pep talk and a few key substitutions usually yielded either a positive result or better overall play. If Zidane can find back his winning tactics and inspire the players, then I think they can avoid another trophy-less season.
- Shed the fat. The players will have to take some amount of blame and responsibility for how the season went. With that said, some of them will have to go. While we appreciate everything Gareth Bale has done for the club, it might be time to leave the Bernabeu. He has been pretty lacklustre this season. Marcelo may also be on his way out and that might be for the better. There has also been rumours that Keylor Navas isn’t coming back (that one may turn out to be the wrong call — Zidane should find a way to incorporate Thibaut Courtois and Navas into the squad.).
- Make the right transfers. Some players I’d like to see at the Bernabeu in the upcoming season are Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic. David Neres also seems like a good buy, but rumour has it that he may feature in the Premier League. Paul Pogba is also linked to Los Blancos, but I think Florentino should save that money for someone else. I’m hoping Tottenham Hotspurs’ amazing UCL comeback hasn’t taken away from how great Matthijs de Ligt is defensively. Real Madrid could use a player like him and Alex Sandro. Their lack of big signings last summer is one of the reasons this one ended up being so bad. Hopefully, they don’t repeat that mistake.
- Fix the defense. Real Madrid were poor defensively all season. In the league, they conceded 46 goals, which is much more than the other top-five teams. Watching the defense this season was anxiety inducing. All the blame can’t be placed on the goalkeepers— although Courtois wasn’t exactly impressive this season. The Belgian only managed 10 clean sheets in all competitions for Real Madrid this season and he played most of the matches. The defenders themselves have also been disappointing. Zidane may want to bring in some defenders, like the ones mentioned above, to boost the team.
- Move on from the Ronaldo era. There is no doubt that Real Madrid suffered a great loss when Ronaldo left the Bernabeu. However, Real Madrid just has to adjust and move on. Ronaldo is practically irreplaceable, but they still need someone to step up and inspire the team in moments of turmoil. In addition, Real Madrid needs goals. In La Liga, Real Madrid scored only 63 goals. That’s the lowest it’s been in years. Credit has to be given to Karim Benzema for stepping up and being the top goal scorer for the team with 21 goals in the league and 30 overall. Benzema will have to be just as consistent next season. With Ronaldo no longer there to rescue Real Madrid when they’re on the brink of losing a match, other attacking players will have to step up and make it happen.
There are no doubts that the great Real Madrid will be back dominating and continuing their legacy of greatness. However, they have many issues that need addressing in order for the best version of Real Madrid to emerge again.