According to Zinedine Zidane and ESPN FC, while right-back Danilo is indeed headed to the Premier League as a result of a €30 million move to Manchester City, Real Madrid is still hoping for more firepower before the season starts.
The squad clearly has plenty of firepower, otherwise they wouldn’t have won both La Liga and the Champions League this past season, but the loss of five different senior squad members—Alvaro Morata, Danilo, Fabio Coentrao, James Rodriguez, and Pepe—have some questioning what punch they will pack this coming season.
Of course, this being Real Madrid, the reloading has already begun, courtesy of Dani Ceballos, Jesus Vallejo, Marcus Llorente, and Theo Hernandez.
“We are always considering the market,” Zidane told the press. “Danilo is gone now, Alvaro too. I am not saying we lack a forward. [But] we have one less than last season, but we will see how we manage that. We have to see what we can do.
“The players who have left are very good. And some other young players are coming in. But we always try and improve the squad.”
While Madrid have been rumored to be in the market for quite a few big names, including Monaco’s superb Kylian Mbappe, Zidane was careful with his phrasing as he addressed them.
“There are always debates, but we are here now with 28 players,” he said. “So that is what I am thinking about. Later anything can happen until the 31st of August. He is a good player, interests many clubs, but for me at the moment I am thinking about my players for tomorrow’s game, and preparing the season.”
There’s also the overhanging question of what Ronaldo’s fate with the team may be—not that the man himself said much to address any potential rumors after noting earlier in the summer that he wasn’t happy in Spain, particularly after he was called to court on charges of a €14.7 million tax fraud.
Zidane, though, remained optimistic earlier this week, saying he was confident Ronaldo would stay.
“There has been a lot of talk about Cristiano wanting to leave,” he told ESPN FC. “I just believe what he says himself. He is on holidays, is relaxing. I see everything, listen to everything, but I believe on August 5 he will be with us. When he arrives we will see when he is ready to play, but it will be soon enough.”
It appears the newest version of the squad will already see playing time, as Zidane suggested the players who have been training since July 11th in Los Angeles will get a chance to play against Manchester United on Sunday.
“We are happy to begin our work,” he said. “They have been now 10 days training and the players want to play. So this game comes at a good time for us, it is our first game, [United] have had four or five. All the players are going to get minutes.
“The first game I do not expect too much, I hope nobody gets injured, and we play a good game. The result for me is not so important.”
Regardless of what happens in Sunday’s match, it’s clear that this year’s Real Madrid squad will be a new one, and as always, all eyes will be on Zidane to see how he helms the ship.