Real Madrid start preseason in fine fettle, having come off the back of a La Liga and Champions League double. In the transfer market, they have added Antonio Rudiger and Aurelien Tchouameni to their ranks.
Yet the hardest part of success is repeating it. Manager Carlo Ancelotti has several tasks to take care of in preseason. That starts with ensuring that Tchouameni and Rudiger are integrated into the side. The former will be making his first move outside of his native France, but will have Eduardo Camavinga, Ferland Mendy and Karim Benzema for company. Rudiger on the other hand is older and having played in Italy, Germany and England, should be more adaptable.
Takefusa Kubo and Reinier Jesus have also returned to the club from their loan deals, but both are aware they will not be part of the first team next season. Ancelotti’s job is to motivate them to return even better and ensure they feel valued by the club.
As per Mundo Deportivo, another returning loan player has a shot at staying this summer. Borja Mayoral was at both Getafe and Roma last season, but following Luka Jovic’s move to Fiorentina, if Mayoral can impress in preseason he has a chance to back up Benzema. He has a year left on his contract and this might be his final shot at doing so.
Diario AS also ran their front page with Ancelotti’s key tasks for the coming months, top of the list being Marco Asensio. He has been linked with an exit and if he is sold, Ancelotti must decide whether another forward should be signed to replace him.
Rudiger’s addition also gives Ancelotti plenty of depth to work with in defence, but it will mean a change from the one that won the Champions League. Unless Ancelotti changes formation, one of Ferland Mendy, David Alaba or Eder Militao will lose their place, with the former seemingly the most likely to do so.
Equally, with the addition of Tchouameni, Ancelotti must work out when and if Camavinga, Fede Valverde or his new signing should transition into the starting team ahead of legendary trio Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro.
Following their success last season, perhaps Ancelotti’s trickiest job will be ensuring that Real Madrid are hungry for titles again. Last time Los Blancos won the Champions League with Ancelotti, they only managed one of the six available titles the following season, the Club World Cup. It’s worth bearing in mind the last time Real Madrid retained a league title was in 2008 too.