A summer of evolution and not revolution is ahead at Real Madrid as Spain's craziest club looks to sense


Real Madrid did not take long after their thumping second half performance sealed a third Champions League in four years before turning their minds towards winning even more next season.

 Blancos coach Zinedine Zidane has easily the best squad in world football to choose from, but president Florentino Perez is not one to rest on his laurels, and improvements are already on the way.

“We will enjoy this,” Perez said on Spanish TV live from the celebrations in Cardiff. “But now we move onto the next one, Real Madrid is like that. We will now talk with Zizou, who directs this orchestra so well, about next season. And there will be no problems.”



Even with their recent successes, Florentino will likely to want to get some business done [as always], and some money will be spent for sure. But given how well things are going the aim will be evolution not revolution, especially as the current squad is actually quite young with the previous ‘Galacticos and bust’ model having been tweaked considerably during recent years.

Madrid’s planning towards 2017/18 has been pretty clear through recent months. Out of favour €80 million Colombian James Rodriguez said his goodbye to the Bernabeu last month, and being left out of the squad  in Cardiff is a quite fitting end to his three years at the club. Pepe was also not in the match squad, and has finally accepted that at 34 he is no longer in their plans. Fabio Coentrao did not even show up at the Bernabeu double part on Sunday night, as he is being sent back to Sporting Lisbon on loan assuming he can pass a medical.  

Despite all the nice talk about Keylor Navas, and the Costa Rican’s excellent save from Juve’s Miralem Pjanic early on Saturday evening, speculation that Florentino still really wants Manchester United's David De Gea has not gone away. It has long seemed that the Spain Number 1 was their ‘galactico goalkeeper’ target for the summer, and it looks very likely that the deal will eventually get done. Swap deals are very uncommon at the top level in football, but Jorge Mendes representing both De Gea and James could make it possible.

Elsewhere in the squad there are a few gaps to fill, with solutions apparently already in place. It looks like a deal is already in place to trigger Theo Hernandez’s €24 million release clause, and take the young left-back [who was great for Alaves in the campaign just finished] as long-term understudy for Marcelo at left-back. Outstanding young centre-back Jesus Vallejo, 20, is set to return after a fine season on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt, and should take Pepe’s place in the squad. Similarly, ex-Castilla holding midfielder Marcos Llorente was superb for Alaves during 2016/17, and looks likely to specialist provide cover for Casemiro from now on.

Further forward things are more open. The talk around Chelsea winger Eden Hazard had cooled recently, even before the Belgium international picked up an ankle injury which means he won’t make the start of next season. Gareth Bale said after the final in Cardiff that he was totally unaware of any possibility of returning to the Premier League, and Isco’s performances over recent months look sure to bring the Spanish playmaker a new improved contract.

Madrid appear to be looking more long-term for their attack, possibly not wanting to upset the delicate balance around Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and firm Florentino and Zidane favourite Karim Benzema. Marco Asensio is an excellent back-up option already at the club, as the 20-year-old showed in scoring off the bench against Juve. A huge €45 million plus deal is already in place with Flamengo to bring Brazilian starlet Vinicius Junior to the Bernabeu in 12 months' time.

Most excitement in the Spanish media now centres around a huge €135 million bid for Monaco’s emerging superstar Kylian Mbappe, and he has looked open to the possibility of playing for Los Blancos. It makes sense though for all parties for the 18-year-old on continue his development in Ligue 1 for the moment at least. Madrid are only likely to really move and blow everyone else [especially Arsenal] out of the water should they feel they are about to miss out on the world’s next potential superstar.



The big unknown now is what will happen with Alvaro Morata, linked again with Old Trafford this week. Morata, 24, said in Cardiff that his ideal future would be to stay at the Bernabeu, but added enigmatically that this “did not depend on me”.

If United or Chelsea stump up say €80 million for a player who scored 20 goals as a back-up striker [one every 93 minutes] last term, Madrid would surely accept. That might accelerate the interest in Mbappe, as they would need a third option behind Benzema and Ronaldo for number nine. Or maybe they would promote Borja Mayoral, a 20-year-old centre-forward who has had an underwhelming last 12 months at Wolfsburg, but still has the potential to be a star.

Generally speaking, Florentino and his advisors have things very well covered. Recent events have shown that Madrid’s days of splashing cash wildly are over. And whatever happens over the summer their intelligently assembled squad will again be favourites on all fronts come next season.