The reigning Spanish champions will commence their title defense in less than a month, but before that, they have a pre-season tour in the United States to take care of. Apart from Benzema, Carlo Ancelotti has the full squad adhering to Antonio Pintus’ orders under the scorching Madrid sun. As they brace for an exciting US tour, we look at three things that will challenge our intrigue this pre-season.
Hazard’s first Clasico
As astonishing as it sounds, despite signing for Real Madrid in the summer of 2019, Eden Hazard is yet to play in a single Clasico in his Real Madrid career. He was injured for most of the games Madrid played against Barcelona in this time here and he was overlooked for the ones where he was available.
Carlo Ancelotti recently declared that Eden Hazard can be an option for the false-nine position. With a late arrival to pre-season, Karim Benzema will definitely miss the Clasico in Las Vegas. So the Hazard false-nine experiment might see the light of day ahead of time, that too in the biggest fixture during pre-season.
Eden Hazard for RM in 2021-22:— Mehedi Hassan (@MHassanFootball) July 15, 2022
In the list for Mins played - 17th
List for prog passes received - 6th ‼️
He played only 909 mins in all comps but found a way to be the target of his teammates. He is Carlo's best option for a Benz-back-up within the roster. pic.twitter.com/HE06FgvfKK
Debuts for Rüdiger and Tchouaméni
It’s been a quiet summer for Real Madrid in the transfer market but ‘Los Blancos’ have already acquired the services of two magnificent players in Antonio Rudiger and Aurelien Tchouameni. The Real Madrid faithful are eagerly waiting to see them in action. Both players have already started training with the team. Rudiger already had old friends at the club in Toni Kroos, Eden Hazard, and Thibaut Courtois. Ancelotti has already expressed his delight over the arrival of these two stars. Tchouameni has reportedly blown away Real Madrid’s staff with his impeccable physical condition.
Aurelien Tchouameni, Ball Recoveries vs. the other six clubs in Ligue 1's top seven last season.— Mehedi Hassan (@MHassanFootball) June 14, 2022
- Most of his recoveries are just outside the zone 14 he was defending.
- Not intimidated to go even higher and wider to win the ball back.
Baller. Our baller now. pic.twitter.com/LCqi2ciClz
The tactical adaptability and the respective roles of Rudiger and Tchouameni will be defined during the pre-season matches vs. Barcelona, Club America, and Juventus before Real Madrid face Eintracht Frankfurt in the UEFA Super Cup Final.
The futures of Ceballos, Asensio, Mayoral, Odriozola & Mariano
Real Madrid are not done with departures this summer. The club is still waiting for suitable offers for many players although these offers seemed to have dried up. We have seen contrasting reports from Spain regarding the futures of the following first-team players: Dani Ceballos, Marco Asensio, Borja Mayoral, Alvaro Odriozola & Mariano Diaz.
Mayoral was originally sought as the backup striker as Luka Jovic got sold to Fiorentina. But even Mayoral has been reported to have offers from a couple of LaLiga clubs and the player is apparently assessing his options. Dani Ceballos to Real Betis seemed like a done deal at the end of last season but later it was revealed that Real Betis are unable to reach Real Madrid's valuation of the Spanish midfielder.
The murmurs regarding Asensio’s move away from Real Madrid have cooled off during the last few weeks and for now, it looks like he will finish his existing contract at Real Madrid. Mariano Diaz’s exit path from Real Madrid remains as complicated as it has been for the last two summers. The club’s position on Odriozola is not completely clear and the player doesn’t seem to have any suitors outside of Real Madrid either.
The roles these players will play during the pre-season, the amount of game time and the confidence they get from the team management will be interesting to observe in the pre-season.