Carlo Ancelotti will finally have his definite Real Madrid team for this season when the international break ends.
After Eduardo Camavinga’s arrival from Rennes, the Italian now knows the 25 players he’ll have at his disposal when he takes over as Real Madrid coach for the second time.
When you compare this current group to the one Ancelotti had in 2013, you’ll notice both similarities and contrasts.
This is a young squad, which was also the case in his first spell. New signing Camavinga is just 18 years old and will join up with Eder Militao (23), Fede Valverde (23), Vinicius Junior (21) and Rodrygo Goes (20), as well as several players who have come up from Castilla, including Antonio Blanco (21) and Miguel Gutierrez (20).
In 2013, Ancelotti had a young Dani Carvajal, as well as two signings under the age of 21 in Asier Illarramendi and Isco, while Nacho Fernandez, Alvaro Morata and Jese Rodriguez were promoted to the first team.
In his first term there was a selection headache in the goalkeeping position. Iker Casillas had just come off a turbulent season under Jose Mourinho and Ancelotti decided to play him in the Champions League and Copa del Rey, with Diego Lopez playing in LaLiga Santander. It worked well and Los Blancos won both competitions Casillas played in.
This season, however, he won’t have such a problem, with Thibaut Courtois the undisputed No.1 ahead of Andriy Lunin.
Sergio Ramos, Pepe and Raphael Varane were the options in central defence in 2013, with Nacho supplementing that position. It’s a similar situation this time around with David Alaba, Militao and Nacho available, while Jesus Vallejo is also an option. It remains to be seen if he will alternate who plays in the full-back positions, as he did that season.
There was plenty of competition in midfield in his first season, with Xabi Alonso, Casemiro, Sami Khedira, Illaramendi, Angel Di Maria, Luka Modric and Isco all trying to fight for a spot in Ancelotti’s XI. It’s a similar story this time around, with the habitual trio of Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Modric accompanied by Camavinga, Valverde, Isco, Dani Ceballos and Marco Asensio, who Ancelotti is testing out as a central midfielder.
And finally, we look at the forward line. Eight years ago, he had the luxury of the famous BBC trident of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo. Two of those three are still at the club, with the third position the only one up for debate. Many believe Eden Hazard will start in the third slot up top, but after some impressive performances, we could see Vinicius take his place.