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Dublin: 17 °C Monday 20 August, 2018

Real Madrid's potential starting XI for this season is scarily good

And there may be more to come.

Iker Casillas

Source: Nick Potts/PA Archive/Press Association Images

THE 33-YEAR old shot-stopper could soon be replaced in goal by Costa Rican Keylor Navas but Casillas – after captaining them in the Champions League final – remains the incumbent.

Daniel Carvajal

Source: Daniel Ochoa de Olza

Caravjal was born in Madrid and has been with the club since the age of 10, bar one season with Bayer Leverkusen. Indeed, Real rate the right back highly enough to have used their buy-back clause after just one year.

Raphaël Varane

Source: John Walton/EMPICS Sport

French centre-half Varane joined from Lens in 2011 and looks to be the natural – and far less likely to be shown a red card – replacement for Pepe. Reported interest from Chelsea may see the French international depart this summer though.

Sergio Ramos

Source: Andrew Matthews/EMPICS Sport

Despite being seemingly around forever, Ramos is still just 28 and has matured as a footballer. His attacking threat – as demonstrated in last season’s Champions League semi-finals and final – is not to be underestimated but, defensively, questions still remain.


Source: Andrew Matthews/EMPICS Sport

Potentially the weakest link the starting XI, Marcelo has a nasty habit of affording the wingers he is supposed to be marking acres of space, usually after one of his trademark runs forward comes to nothing.

Gareth Bale

Source: Nick Potts/PA Wire/Press Association Images

There may still be some confusion over just how much he cost Real – a lot of which has to do with keeping a certain number seven happy – but, given they won both the Copa Del Rey and Champions League finals with the former full-back scoring vital goals, you imagine Madrid feel it was worth every cent.

Toni Kroos

Source: Gregorio Lopez/CORDON/Press Association Images

Compared to some of Los Merengues’ signings over the past few seasons, Madrid picked up Kroos for the bargain basement price of ‘just’ €30 milllion. A goal-scoring midfielder, it remains to be seen just how much defensive work he’s capable of.

Luka Modric

Source: Nick Potts/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Though Madrid signed Isco for €30m just last year, it could well be that Modric is the man Carlo Ancelotti sees partnering Kroos in midfield. The Croatian’s ability to pick out a killer pass remains his biggest asset.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Source: Paulo Duarte/AP/Press Association Images

Still just 29. Still easily in the top two players in world football

James Rodríguez

Source: Lionel Cironneau/AP/Press Association Images

The newest member of this Galácticos era, Rodriguez’ brilliant World Cup – goal of the tournament as well as finishing as leading scorer – helped cement a reputation he built with Porto and, last season, Monaco.

Karim Benzema

Source: Andres Kudacki/AP/Press Association Images

Perhaps the only out and out forward in the XI – though Real won’t want for goals – Benzema has come on in leaps and bounds since struggling to establish himself in his first season with the club.

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