As the summer transfer window nears its closing hours, Real Madrid find themselves on the verge of a historic change. For the first time in their illustrious history, the club may embark on a season without a player donning the iconic number ‘9’ jersey.
This significant shift comes in the wake of Karim Benzema’s departure from the club.
Benzema, who had been the custodian of the revered number ‘9’ for over a decade, left a void that the Real Madrid hierarchy chose not to immediately fill.
The departure of this legendary striker marked the end of an era and posed a unique challenge for the club’s leadership.
Joselu signed, but not given No. 9
There was a momentary possibility that Joselu, the newly-acquired player, could inherit the ‘9’ jersey. In all fairness, it was only obvious to think that way since he is, after all, a centre-forward.
However, circumstances unfolded differently, leaving the iconic number unclaimed.
The prospect of another French striker, namely Kylian Mbappe, joining Real Madrid added an intriguing twist to the situation.
If this blockbuster transfer were to materialize, it would provide a logical explanation for the vacant ‘9’ jersey, as Mbappe has the potential to fill the shoes of his illustrious compatriot, Benzema.
Yet, as the transfer window inches towards closure, uncertainty looms over whether this sensational move will come to fruition.
Historic turn of events
With the Real Madrid squad on the brink of finalization, it appears increasingly likely that the club will go through an entire season without assigning the revered number ‘9’ to any player.
This symbolic departure from tradition reflects the monumental changes taking place within the team and the immense challenge of replacing a legend like Benzema.
The Real Madrid faithful will undoubtedly be watching with bated breath as the transfer window draws to a close, wondering if a last-minute signing will defy expectations and restore the ‘9’ to its rightful place, or if they are poised to witness a historic season without the iconic jersey number.
Regardless of the outcome, the anticipation surrounding Real Madrid’s ‘9’ situation adds an extra layer of intrigue to the start of the new season
Real Madrid full-back never considered summer exit, would retire at club if given chance
Ferland Mendy finds himself in a difficult situation at Real Madrid. The Frenchman has struggled with injury and fitness woes for a large part of the past year, leading to doubts over his future at the club.
In fact, it had been reported that Los Blancos were considering selling Mendy during the summer transfer window earlier this year itself.
But, such a move did not materialise and the 28-year-old has stayed put at the Santiago Bernabeu although reports suggest that he is likely to be on the move next year.
Mendy would retire at Real Madrid if he could
Despite there having been numerous reports about his future in the summer, The Athletic reports that Mendy did not consider the possibility of an exit at any point.
In fact, the report adds that if given a chance, the 28-year-old defender would retire at Real Madrid.
Mendy’s contract with Los Merengues expires in 2025 and he is understood to be seeking a renewal for a while now, but there has been no move made by the club.
The injuries that the 28-year-old has picked up are understood to be a major deterrent for Real Madrid, which is why they are already looking to reinforce the left-back position with Alphonso Davies next year.
Mendy enjoys Ancelotti’s trust
Despite the non-stop speculations surrounding him, Mendy continues to enjoy the full trust of manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Indeed, as per the report, the Italian tactician has informed the Frenchman that he is the left-back that best fits the defensive requirements needed in the team.
Ancelotti’s decision to bench Fran Garcia in the UEFA Champions League game even though Mendy was unavailable and start David Alaba at left-back was taken as an indicator within the dressing room that the Frenchman remains the first-choice in the position.
So, it remains to be seen how the situation unfolds over the coming months, especially with Ancelotti’s future also uncertain as his contract expires in 2024.