The current reigning Spanish Champions are tipped to have another outstanding season. The men from Madrid have not started the season quite as perfectly as they would have preferred, but their draw with Valencia is nothing to be ashamed of.
I will now be running down the possible/probable Real Madrid first XI for the 2012/13 season. I will also discuss the fringe players and the tactics that they will adopt in most matches.
The Real Madrid probable starting XI:
GK: Iker Casillas
Casillas is one of the few players in world football that is always assured a place in the starting XI. Casillas is also not just there to fill the position, he is the best Goalkeeper in the world. For anyone to take his place he would have to be an extremely great player.
Marcelo might miss a couple more matches because of his involvement in the 2012 Olympics, but before long Marcelo will be back in the Madrid first XI and busy exciting fans with his amazing link up play with Cristiano on the left wing.
CB: Kepler Lima “Pepe”
Pepe was the best defender in the EUROs and will definitely project that success onto his club performances. He is very physical and a solid player that any manager would love to have at the back.
CB: Sergio Ramos
Sergio Ramos is almost as certain as Casillas to be included in the starting XI for each match. The current 2nd captain has great performance after great performance. Ramos is very fast for a defender and can keep up with any striker, he is also dangerous in the air and always a danger at corners.
RB: Alvaro Arbeloa
The Spanish defender has been criticized a lot regarding his performances, but Mourinho has proven his trust in him by not buying Maicon from Inter and a regular position on the team this season will surely grant him the chance to prove himself as a world-class right-back.
CM: Xabi Alonso
No player in world football can control a match like Xabi Alonso. Every match he makes passes that causes a persons jaw to drop immediately. He works harder than any other CM when it comes to defence. He has also gotten more involved in the attacking part of the game and has a long shot that any keeper would think twice about saving.
CM: Luka Modric
Although Luka Modric has not signed for RM yet, the transfer seems to just be a matter of time. When the deal is finalised Modric will be a permanent fixture in the team and will line up next to Xabi Alonso in the midfield. He was Tottenhams best player last season and will only get better playing along the best players in the world.
CAM: Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil is an artist. He organizes the most deadly attack in world football. Three players with more than 20 goals in one season and this man created most of them. Ozil has the type of vision that cannot be taught, he is blessed with the natural ability, to not just see space, but to play the perfect pass into it time after time. The only “problem” with Ozil is that he plays only 80 minutes almost every match.
RW: Angel Di Maria
Angel Di Maria missed most of last season through injury, but since his return he has looked 5 times the better player. He seems to be more confident, skillful and enthusiastic than he has ever been. He has developed a great eye for goal and has seen a couple of screamers end in the back of the net in the past couple of weeks.
ST: Karim Benzema
Higuain and Callejon are threatening, but neither will take the place of the 24 year old Frenchman. Karim Benzema plays his absolute best when he and Cristiano drift in and out of each others positions. Benzema might not always look it, but he is very fast. He is a proven goalscorer and at just 24 he still has time on his side.
LW: Cristiano Ronaldo
I left the most dangerous player for last. Cristiano Ronaldo was the second top scorer in La Liga last season and was equal top scorer in the EUROs. He did not score in the season opener against Valencia, but expect him to open up his account very soon. CR7 doesnâ€™t go long without scoring and will probably continue to exceed all expectations and shatter a lot more records this season.
Most of these players will most probably feature sometime this season, but might not make the starting XI very often.
The 19-year old CB is regarded very highly by Mourinho, but because of his age he will be a second backup (After Raul Albiol) and might not get a lot of playing time. He might be loaned out for game time.
The German international had his best season for Real Madrid last season and was almost a guaranteed starter at the end of last season, but with the imminent arrival of Luka Modric at the Bernabeu Khedira will be spending a lot of time on the bench.
Callejon was RM top goalscorer in preseason, but unfortunately he will still be regarded as a third choice striker for the biggest part of the season. He can score a lot of goals and seems to never crack under pressure. He is an excellent player to have in an emergency.
With these players and those I left out (Higuain, Coentrao, Albiol and Diarra to name a few) Real Madrid will definitely be a huge force to reckon with and are surely favorites to retain their La Liga title.
Written by Deon Beauzec
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