Real Madrid to begin title defence with no new signings / Martin Odegaard is ready

Familiar faces only

Real Madrid are set to begin their quest to clinch back-to-back La Liga titles for the first time in over a decade later today.

Zinedine Zidane’s squad is almost identical to the one which won the league just a couple months ago. The club is so far yet to make any summer signings ahead of their opening fixture away to Real Sociedad.

Real’s squad has some returning faces – the most notable of which comes in the form of Martin Odegaard. The Norwegian international spent last season on loan with Los Blancos’ opening La Liga opponents.

Whilst at the Anoeta, Odegaard proved that he is now ready to contribute at the highest level.

Martin Odegaard during the match between FC Barcelona and Real Sociedad, corresponding to the week 27 of the Liga Santander, played at the Camp Nou Stadium, on 07th March 2020, in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Joan Valls/Urbanandsport /NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Ahead of Sunday’s outing, Zidane had the following to say regarding his squad: “I know that I have the best players here, that’s always been the case, right throughout the club’s history.”

“The important thing for the players is that they’re ready and I think that Martin is, just like the rest of them. He’s a quality player and can bring something to the team. Only the best players play for Madrid.”

‘120%’

Eden Hazard endured a rough start to life at the Bernabeu. During a season plagued by injury, the Belgian international managed just 16 La Liga appearances, scoring a single goal.

Looked upon as the figure to replace Cristiano Ronaldo, Hazard has not been able to recapture his previous Chelsea form.

VALENCIA, SPAIN – FEBRUARY 22: Eden Hazard of Real Madrid reacts during the Liga match between Levante UD and Real Madrid CF at Ciutat de Valencia on February 22, 2020 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Pablo Morano/MB Media/Getty Images)

Zidane also laid out the expectations that he has for Hazard: “The important thing is that he’s at 100%,” the Frenchman remarked.

“We’re now starting a new season and what he needs is to be at 100% or 120%, that’s all there is to it. We’re going to prepare to ensure that the players are prepared to be at 100%.”

Now 28 years old, Hazard is entering the stretch generally regarded as the prime years of a player’s short career. This fact, added to his hefty price-tag, will only increase the pressure on his shoulders to perform.

A youthful future

Whilst Barcelona’s La Masia academy and, in turn, introduction of quality young talent into the club’s first-team may be faltering, Los Blancos’ is anything but.

Real Madrid have a roster packed with exciting young talent. The aforementioned Odegaard returns to a squad which features several players under 24 years of age, who are considered Real quality.

Brazilian wingers Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo are an exciting young pair. The latter even received a recent call up to the national side.

BARCELONA, SPAIN – FEBRUARY 06: Vinicius Jr of Real Madrid gestures during the Copa del Rey Semi Final match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid at Nou Camp on February 06, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

Uruguayan midfielder Federico Valverde and Brazilian defender Eder Militao are both also considered major first team assets. Marco Asensio is aiming to return for his first full season since an ACL injury at the start of the 2019/20 campaign.

President Florentino Perez and Zinedine Zidane are sculpting a squad which can dominate the Spanish football landscape for seasons to come. And, with Barcelona in turmoil, this could prove an even easier task than expected.

See also: Eden Hazard’s Real Madrid nightmare continues: Belgian to miss La Liga opener

Man United to miss out: Tottenham ‘close’ to Sergio Reguilon deal following Mourinho phone call


This article was edited by Conor Laird.