Hope springs eternal on July 5th, 2021. Real Madrid will return to training under new manager, Carlo Ancelotti. The return to training will bring that ever elusive preseason feeling of new beginnings back to the fore. With those feelings intact, here are three left field, but somewhat rational backed predictions for the new season:
- Isco Returns in his best physical shape for years
In the last 18 months of his professional career, Isco has seen his role diminish week over week. Once a key player for Real Madrid and Zidane, Isco played just over 1,000 minutes last season when in season’s prior he was amassing over 2,500 to 3,000 minutes a season. From a statistical perspective it was his worst season ever at Real Madrid — 0 goals and only 2 assists. Many pointed to a laissez-faire attitude from the former Malaga man. Along with an apparent indifferent attitude, Isco’s weight has always been a contentious issue.
In some subtle posts on social media, it looks like Isco has been putting in the work to return to peak physical condition. On multiple occasions, Isco has posted photos recording long distance runs over 7 miles or 12 kilometers. Isco was one of the most used players under Carlo Ancelotti and if he can return to his best physical condition, then a more prominent role in team is not out of the question.
With only Martin Odegaard and Isco returning as the two senior first team midfielders on July 5th, the now Real Madrid 8-year-veteran should have time to impress.
2. Plenty of opportunities for former “fringe” players
Real Madrid’s original intention was to start preseason on July 10th, but Carlo Ancelotti has pushed that date earlier in a bid to work with his squad as soon as possible. With many players still on holiday due to European Championship commitments, some currently playing in the Copa America, and others reporting for Olympic duty, Ancelotti will have a small squad to work with and will need to count on a number of youth team players. From an existing first team perspective, the following players will be available:
GK: Andriy Lunin
DEF: Dani Carvajal, Ferland Mendy, Marcelo, Nacho, Lucas Vazquez, Alvaro Odriozola
MID: Isco, Martin Odegaard
ATT: Rodrygo, Mariano, Luka Jovic, Brahim Diaz (*likely departing for AC Milan)
Players who barely had a look in with Zidane, like Luka Jovic and Martin Odegaard, should have the opportunity to impress the new boss and play most of the minutes in early preseason matches before the other internationals return.
3. Michel and Getafe come calling
Angel Torres, Getafe’s president, is a Real Madrid socio and fan. There has always been a connection between the two greater Madrid-based clubs and with Michel returning as coach the links grow stronger. Ruben De La Red, Esteban Granero, Roberto Soldado, Dani Parejo, Pablo Sarabia, and Kubo are among the loan deals completed in recent years. Michel, a Real Madrid legend, will likely have his eye on many of Real Madrid’s Castilla prospects. It would not be a surprise if Kubo, and a few Real Madrid Castilla products, worked under Michel’s tutelage for a year. In his first stint as coach of Getafe from 2009-2011, all of Roberto Soldado, Miguel Torres, Dani Parejo, Adrian Gonzalez, Jordi Codina, and Pedro Mosquera made the move from Real Madrid to Getafe.