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Real Madrid CF
Posted by Nicholas Rigg on 07/17/2012

The European Championships soaked up a lot of the summer and it gave me the time to sit back, take a deep breath, and relax - at least on the Madrid front.

The impending transfer madness that always greets a Real Madrid pre-season, the hectic summer friendly and tour schedule (when it is ever anything else when Los Blancos are concerned?) and the release of the summer fixtures made that 'rest and relaxation' a much-needed one. A calm before the inevitable white storm that will come my, *our*, way.

I must admit, I'm not a massive fan of the summer; I guess nobody is. Just get on with the football already, the real stuff, not the pre-season preparations or the exhibition matches that many clubs, especially Madrid, find themselves playing over the summer. Pure team preparation, or money in the bank and a marketing job well done? I'm sure Jose doesn't have the final say in his side's pre-season whereabouts, but at least the sun will probably be shining.

I used to enjoy the transfer speculation. Who's coming in? A Galactico? Who's going out? What's happening at Barca? Who are the big movers and shakers in La Liga? Since the mass use of social network sites such as Twitter and Facebook, the speculation has spun wildly out of control and I take every rumour with a pinch of salt - you have to.

But with the fixtures for the new season now out and Madrid returning to training, we can at least start to look forward to the new campaign - Madrid's defence of La Liga and their quest for that next, relatively long-awaited Champions League triumph.

We can also talk about transfers, and how they'll impact the team, with a degree of certainty. Luka Modric in from Tottenham? Maicon from Inter? Lass, Kaka, Carvalho, Gago all out? What about Jese Rodriguez, Madrid's young Castilla player who shone for Spain U19s as they claimed their respective European Championship. And Alvaro Morata? The young Madridista keen to make his mark on the first team after a couple of years impressing with Castilla. The changes aren't going to be huge, but they're going to be crucial.

Let's start with Modric. As close to a certainty as we're probably going to get this summer. Spurs are listening to offers, albeit it requiring the right one, and Madrid look set to complete the capture. A couple of million pounds short in add-ons is the latest 'stumbling block', but that should be smoothed out in the coming days and Modric is set to become a Blanco. Spurs are set for a trip abroad for pre-season, starting this weekend. If he's not on that plane you can bet he'll be on a plane for the Spanish capital.

So what of the Croatian? A key cog in Tottenham's recent campaigns, Carlo Ancelotti admitted he wanted him at big-spending PSG, Manchester United and Chelsea both wanted him last season - quite a list of suitors for the midfield maestro. He won't look out of place at the Bernabeu. But where will he fit in? With the talent available in Madrid's midfield and attack it'll be a tight squeeze - but at upwards of £30 million you'd think Mou will be signing him to play a regular, key role.

Mourinho has already praised Mesut Ozil as the best number ten in the world, and rightly so. CR7 isn't worth a mention of being dropped to fit Modric in, while Xabi Alonso is another definite name on the starting list week-in, week-out. The positions most likely would be out wide, complementing Ozil and Ronaldo in the three just behind a lone attacker - this presuming Mou will opt for the same line-up but just tinker with the personnel - and in the holding role alongside Alonso.

The most likely is alongside Ronaldo and Ozil. While Modric could play deep, linking the play between Alonso and the forwards, Mou will undoubtedly go for the solid, and superb Sami Khedira alongside Alonso, a tried, tested and extremely successful double act in the middle of the park. Angel di Maria, as superb as he was in the first half of last season (he was up there as one of my players of the year until that point), drifted away in the second half of the campaign, not helped by injuries, granted. Modric and Ozil could comfortably inter-link, playing down the middle and out wide, while di Maria was stuck to the wing.

It's well known that Ozil rarely finishes games. Playing Modric in his role, rotating them both as successfully as Mou has with Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain last season, could well be a master-stroke. Keeping them both fit for what's undoubtedly going to be a long, hard season with Madrid going for every trophy they can possibly win.

This is also, of course, going on the fact that Kaka will be leaving the club. The Brazilian has a big fan club, and it's easy to see why on his career so far, but he's failed to live up to the standards set at Milan and before while at the Bernabeu. As nice as it would be for him to stay, the depth of the squad should Modric come in, and the wage bill, could make his stay problematic. But who would take him? PSG are throwing money about - maybe them. Manchester City? Probably not now. A return to Milan? With their cost-cutting, I'm not so sure; although recent high-profile departures could allow them the funds to do so.

Of course, the Modric deal could also include a player moving the other way, Nuri Sahin being the main name mentioned so far, while Lass has also been thrown in with his future in doubt. It'd be a shame to see Sahin go without being given a chance. The injuries, of course, didn't help and they hampered his fitness for the rest of the campaign. Hamit Altintop has left, freeing up a bit of space in the midfield and heightening Sahin's chances of more game time, but just how much game time will he get? I'd like to see him stay and really battle for a place this season.

Maicon is the other name being thrown around with a bit of certainly that he'll be reunited with Mourinho at Madrid next season. He's made no secret of his desire to bolster his defence, and bolster his defence with big, strong players. Maicon fits the bills, he has plenty of experience and he's worked with Mou in Milan, winning the Champions League with him. His arrival at the Bernabeu would certainly be welcomed by me. I've been keen to see two new full-backs come in this summer and the Brazilian would certainly strengthen Madrid's back-line. The only problem is Chelsea also hot on the chase for the full-back.

Ricardo Carvalho and Fernando Gago are both expected to leave - both didn't feature in the evening session in Madrid's first pre-season training session. Their time has been and gone. For Carvalho, his injury, as harsh as this sounds, may have been one of the best things to happen for Madrid as a team. Bringing Sergio Ramos into the centre alongside Pepe worked a treat. With Raphael Varane also waiting in the wings for his chance, the time has come for Carvalho to move on to pastures new.

The rumours are probably going to heighten now, but maybe, just maybe we'll have some confirmed transfers to talk about in the coming days and weeks. The players who featured in Euro 2012 will return to training next week before the club jets off to the USA - Marcelo will be the only one absent as he plays for Brazil in the Olympics.

Two of Madrid's youngsters, Jese Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata, are also surely going to get some newspaper inches as the season edges nearer, no doubt being touted as potential first team players next season. They'll both be players I'll be looking at more over the close season as the blog updates get thicker and faster.

On a slightly side note, I enjoyed a week in Bilbao and San Sebastian last week - enjoying visiting both Anoeta (Real Sociedad) and San Mames (Athletic) stadiums. Both interesting in their own way. I had my picture taken with the Pichichi bust in the main stand at San Mames. Of course, I knew the Basques weren't very fond of anything Madrid, so decided against wearing the new Blancos shirt. I did bring up Athletic's rivals, and knew what to expect as a response from the tour guide. "We hate Real Madrid" was his response. Fine, expected, I guess. But the response was milliseconds.

Bring on the new season!

Follow me on Twitter @nicholasrigg

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Posted by l30nar60 on 07/16/2012

wow, great blog, it perfectly summarized Real Madrid's public interests (the most known of them). It was really nice. (Maybe i had some mistakes in english 'cause is not my normal lenguage, i'm from latinoamerica)

Posted by Johnny on 07/17/2012

Welcome back Nicholas and I, like you, enjoy the summer but cannot wait for the season proper to start.
I am a big fan of Mourinho and what he brings to Real Madrid. Take all the silly media stuff about transfers and how he keeps them in the dark. He also pays reasonable money for the players he wants and that is what brings stability to clubs. I must say I am a fan of Modric (at the right price)and agree with your assessment of his worth. I see our midfield attacking prowess greatly enhanced with Modrid and Sahin playing alongside Xabi and Khedira etc. Maicon would be great as well as he is a beast under Mourinho and can score goals if pressed forward. Slow tweaking is what is making this side formidable again.

Posted by TN on 07/17/2012

Great Article..You have covered almost every point..good read for someone who doesnt have the time to follow RM day in day out

Posted by Luka Modric on 07/17/2012

Real Madrid have a really great team, we just need a couple of maestros and will be better than UEFALONA.

Posted by mendez on 07/17/2012

'i am, real madrid fan, my opinion on modric, he is a strong midf madrid need players like that in the midf since kaka wil be off and gago, lass should also join off to creat space for the star.

Posted by yuz on 07/17/2012

I support the offer of modric to madrid, bcos he is the strong and fastest midfilder.

Posted by ezfulus on 07/17/2012

What of Pedro Leon though?

Posted by Abbas Alasan on 07/17/2012

I was very happy to see modric,ozil,alonso and khedira playing in first half of the mach.

Posted by real madrid on 07/17/2012

maicon and modric will definitely improve the squad but it breaks my heart to see kaka leave. he's a player i admire very much. also, diarra and most possibly, sahin should be allowed to leave.

Posted by Special 1 on 07/17/2012

Dats a nice article. But i'll like lass to stay n if possible get more play time as he is able to regain possesion when we loose it. He is a great tackler.

Posted by jafar on 07/17/2012

pls try sahin he is great player.

Posted by Abdool umar on 07/17/2012

Madrds team work will improve beneath the greatness of ronaldo,ozil,alonso and modric's great perfomance

Posted by SOURAV BASAK on 07/17/2012

i dont want modric if kaka' leaves to make a room for him! kaka is one of the fan favourite! nuri sahin should have a chance! iwant to see carvalho leaving! i also want to see jese & morata in the 1st team! because thoese young stars deserve a chance! i want to see mou signing a young defender like varane instead of maicon!!!!

Posted by Musliu saliu on 07/17/2012

Great article, but u did not mension Granero.

Posted by Ben Cooper on 07/17/2012

Debuchy, Arbeloa needs back up for when he gets tired

Posted by Gaz on 07/18/2012

If Modric does join Real Madrid that now looks very likely he will be fantastic he will have a big impact his greatest assets above all his natural physical skills is his incredible vision and decision making he has one of the greatest football brains.

Posted by Prasun Choudhury on 07/18/2012

Modric should be great and Maicon is a good and tough defender but he is on the older side. I am assuming the players to leave are Altintop, Lass, Kaka & Gago. Its great to have a couple of players from the junior team/youth program. I think another seasoned striker would have made Madrid's lineup complete. Now, it will be Ronaldo and Benzema or Higuain for each game. One striker in the reserve will strengthen the lineup, especially if Ronaldo gets injured (or misses a game due to bookings, etc). Also, it will be a good option to give more exposure to Callejon and see how much he can fit into the senior team. Sahin should also be given more chance to see whether he is a fares at Bernabeu.

Posted by ushah on 07/18/2012

great article. Modrich will surely add creativity to madrid's midfield - please bring him in. Playing Jese and morata in first team will bring about future continuity - Mour should please give them a chance. Granero, Cavalho, Antintop, Gago and sadly Kaka should leave for their good and that of the club. Calijon was really special last term, more playing time will do madrid good. Arbeloa does well but lacks creativity when attacking, so mour needs give him competition by signing a player suitable. i have to say your article is a rich summary on madrid thus far.

Posted by Mike Larry on 07/18/2012

Sahin would replace Alonso end of this year he's going to run out off puff he was lethargic in euro modric will be a waste of money gonna take a year to settle in like every player that comes to Madrid sahin was a quality purchase needs minutes to prove himself after this pre season he should be able utilize Ronaldo and di maria more with him there he can extend Davis life at real Madrid until he retires

Posted by abubakar mukhtar on 07/18/2012

why madrid
not sigging martinez

Posted by IDOWU on 07/18/2012

wot a great article, modric would b a good signing nd also will improve the team nd trust mou he know how to get d best out of every player. allow sahin a playing time. from cr7,ozil, dmaria,bez,el-pipita, ramos,alonso,saint iker,khedira,coentrao,marcelo, sahin, modric,young varene,young jese nd morata etc they all gel nd improve grately. up madrid, up galacticos,up merengeus nd hala madrid.

Posted by KN on 07/18/2012

In my opinion we dont need Modric at all. A waste of 30 or 40 million that could have gone to get Thiago Silva. That is what we should have gone after, a back four of Marcelo/Pepe/Thiago Silva and Ramos back at right back. Dont get me wrong, he's superb as a center-back but even better at right-back for me. We have enough midfielders like granero and sahin who I believe can be better than Modric given the time....time to give the youth a chance I think. Its not like they dont have the quality, they just need the time...

Posted by ally sichilima on 07/18/2012

great article definately gonna follow u on #twitter.

Posted by Umar H. Abd. on 07/18/2012

Morinho need to have maicon in his, to assisting Alberloa.

Posted by Saminu mailada on 07/18/2012

I would like 2 see modric ozil alanso and khadera play for madrid

Posted by Ronald on 08/07/2012

Spurs will go trophiless if they dont allow modric to leave.levy is a wicked man.

Posted by samirkankara on 08/08/2012

Sahin need a chance in madrid,but it's a shameful thing to insist on sahin move.mourinho mark you ! Or else back to square A.

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