Real Madrid’s squad is in need of some renewal. Although Los Blancos claimed a double of La Liga and the Champions League last season, they have struggled to keep up that intensity this season and changes lie ahead at the end of the current campaign.
Last summer, Madrid’s squad was the envy of everyone else in Europe, but the players brought in have hardly featured, while James Rodriguez, Pepe and Alvaro Morata were not really replaced, leaving important gaps in the roster for coach Zinedine Zidane.
Madrid went on to add the UEFA Super Cup and the Spanish Supercopa at the beginning of the season, as well as the Club World Cup in December, but their disappointing campaign in La Liga has highlighted the need for reinforcements this summer.
Here, Goal takes a look at the men who should stay and leave come the end of the season, as well as those fighting for their futures at the Santiago Bernabeu…
Players who should go
Kiko Casilla – It is common knowledge that Real Madrid are searching for a new goalkeeper and there are two possible plans at Santiago Bernabeu. One is to bring in an established star like Manchester United’s David de Gea, while the other is to recruit a younger man such as Athletic Club’s Kepa Arrizabalaga who can gain experience and become a starter further down the line. Whatever does happen, current second choice shot-stopper Kiko Casilla is set to be the one to depart this summer.
Dani Ceballos – Spain’s talented Under-21 midfielder was wanted by half of Europe last summer, but opted to sign for Real Madrid. However, opportunities have been few and far between and a loan move now looks likely in the summer – possibly to former club Betis. Ceballos had wanted to go out on loan in December, but was unable to leave so soon after his summer transfer.
Achraf Hakimi – The 19-year-old right-back has provided back-up this season to Dani Carvajal and has featured more than he would have expected after the Spain defender was sidelined earlier on in the campaign. The Morocco international is an exciting talent who is highly thought of at the Bernabeu, but is considered somewhat raw for the first team and is likely to leave – probably for a spell on loan – this summer as Madrid look to bring in a more experienced player as back-up for Carvajal.
Marcos Llorente – The defensive midfielder has followed in the footsteps of father Paco and great uncle Francisco Gento at Real Madrid, but he is beginning to become frustrated at his lack of playing time for Los Blancos. The 23-year-old is some way down the pecking order at Santiago Bernabeu, particularly after the recent re-emergence of Mateo Kovacic, and is set to leave this summer. He and the club must now decide whether the transfer is a loan option or a permanent deal.
Borja Mayoral – The young striker was kept at Madrid as Morata and Mariano both left in the summer, but he has not really grabbed his chance to be back-up for Karim Benzema and the 20-year-old is set to be surplus to requirements this summer. The Spanish Under-21 striker, who has hit five goals in 26 appearances, could be sent out again on loan (having played for Wolfsburg in 2016-17), but may leave on a permanent deal.
Jesus Vallejo – Signed by Real Madrid in 2015, the Spanish Under-21 defender has had successful spells on loan at former club Zaragoza and at Eintracht Frankfurt. Brought back last summer following the departure of Pepe, he has had problems through injury and has made only a handful of appearances. Still only 21 and with plenty of promise, he looks likely to be shipped out for another spell on loan this summer.
Players who should stay
Marco Asensio – Although Real Madrid will be looking to overhaul their attack this summer, the former Mallorca winger is considered a key player for the future at the Santiago Bernabeu. The 22-year-old, who has impressed in recent weeks and was fundamental in the Champions League victory over Paris Saint-Germain, will be expected to feature even more in 2018-19, in what will be his third full season at the club.
Dani Carvajal – A popular player with fans, his team-mates and the coaching staff, Dani Carvajal is Real Madrid’s first-choice right-back and the club are very happy with the progress of their homegrown talent. The 26-year-old, who will be at the World Cup with Spain this summer, should stay at Santiago Bernabeu for many more years to come.
Casemiro – Still only 26, the Brazilian has established himself as one of the world’s best defensive midfielders and is a big part of Real Madrid’s plans for next season and beyond. Casemiro is going nowhere this summer.
Theo Hernandez – The young left-back has not quite come on as hoped since signing from city rivals Atletico in the summer, but Real Madrid still believe he will improve and are happy to have him as back-up for Marcelo, while they are also grateful for his efforts in pushing for a complicated move from the Rojiblancos.
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Mateo Kovacic – The Croatia midfielder is still only 23 and although he has been on the fringes for much of this season, he has re-emerged in recent weeks and was a starter in Paris in the Champions League. He is still rated highly in Madrid and the club have no plans to sell.
Toni Kroos – The Germany midfielder is just back from a short spell on the sidelines and completed 98 of his 101 passes in the 6-3 win over Girona on Sunday. The former Bayern Munich man also gave two assists in that game and is a key asset for Real Madrid. The club will not consider a transfer this summer – even if a big offer comes in for Kroos.
Marcelo – The Brazilian is the world’s best left-back and also now one of the finest in the history of football. Real Madrid are thrilled with the 29-year-old, who has been at the club since 2007, and would not consider his sale at any price.
Luka Modric – Like Kroos, the Croatia midfielder remains a big part of Real Madrid’s midfield plans and even though he will be 33 this September, Los Blancos have no intention of dispensing with one of the world’s best playmakers.
Nacho – A homegrown talent who can operate anywhere across the back line and a personality who never complains when he is left out of the team, Nacho is a popular player with fans and also the coaching staff at Real Madrid. He is happy and the club are happy with him too.
Keylor Navas – Real Madrid will definitely sigh a goalkeeper this summer, but even if a top shot-stopper like De Gea arrives, Keylor Navas has said he will stay and fight for his place. The Costa Rica international is highly thought of by Zidane and his team-mates and should start next season as the club’s first-choice goalkeeper.
Sergio Ramos – The Spain defender is club captain and an inspirational leader at the back for Los Blancos. Ramos came close to leaving in the summer of 2015, but is settled at the club now and will be one of the most important players in the team next season at Real Madrid.
Cristiano Ronaldo – The Portuguese forward was unhappy last summer and again later in the year, with widespread reports that he wanted to leave Real Madrid. However, he is much more content following a recent upturn in form and believes he is better off staying where he is after eight and a half successful years at Santiago Bernabeu. Despite concerns over his form in the lead-up to Christmas, the club are also keen to count on their star player for next season and beyond.
Raphael Varane – The France defender may not have hit the heights of his early years at Real Madrid recently, but he remains an excellent centre-back and his partnership with Ramos is one of the best around. Still only 24, Varane is set to stay at the Spanish side for many more years to come.
Lucas Vazquez – Previously a fringe player, Lucas has grabbed his chance over the past few weeks and is in fantastic form for Los Blancos. The Galician winger came off the bench against PSG to help his side win the first leg and is now starting the important games for Zidane’s side. He deserves it and will be rewarded with an extended stay at the Bernabeu when it had looked earlier in the season that he may move on this summer.
Playing for Real Madrid future
Gareth Bale – The Welsh winger was perhaps Real Madrid’s best player early on in the season, but things are not quite happening for the former Tottenham midfielder at the moment and he has been overtaken by both Asensio and Lucas in the pecking order. Zidane has continued to stress that the 28-year-old remains happy and also important at Real, but with changes to the forward line expected this summer, he is the player most likely to make way.
Isco – This time last year, everybody was raving about Isco. This season, however, has been much more disappointing for the Spain midfielder and although he recently signed a new contract, he could reassess his situation in the summer. As things stand, he is keen to stay at Real, but that could change if he fails to feature much at the end of this season. His potential sale would also bring in good money to fund new signings for Madrid’s forward line this summer and an exit cannot be entirely ruled out.