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Three takeaways for Real Madrid from the US pre-season tour

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Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Real Madrid began their pre-season tour of the United States of America on a strong footing, as consecutive victories against AC Milan and Manchester United strengthened the team’s morale on an immediate basis.

However, performances began to derail and back-to-back losses versus Barcelona and Juventus saw them conclude the tour with a bitter after-taste.

Despite mixed sensations towards the end, the pre-season served its purpose as the ideal groundwork for the forthcoming campaign.

Carlo Ancelotti managed to tinker with his newly assembled squad, with the coach bound to grasp a better idea of his team’s dynamics before the actual season starts.

Here are three takeaways from Los Blancos’ US pre-season tour.

1. Bellingham is ready for the big stage

Real Madrid’s latest acquisition, Jude Bellingham, enjoyed a blissful start to life with the Merengues. The midfielder was at the receiving end of a few tough losses but provided innumerable glimpses of his exceptional talent.

After an impressive debut versus AC Milan, Bellingham instantly stamped his name on the scoreboard against Manchester United in merely the sixth minute with an audacious chip from the edge of the box.

Apart from showcasing deadly final-third instincts, he played with excellent panache in every game he participated in. Simplicity is often the glory of expression, and Bellingham encapsulated that with his tender touches on the ball.

Against Juventus, he was not involved on the scoresheet but was at the heart of many offensive plays constructed by Madrid. In addition to playing as a connector between the lines, his duel winning was on display. The 20-year-old’s ball-carrying from deep and swiftness to evade pressure allowed Madrid to generate advantages from very little.

2. Real Madrid need a top No. 9

Real Madrid need a top striker. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

With the conclusion of the pre-season, it has become clearer than ever that Real Madrid are struggling to score goals in the absence of Karim Benzema.

While Ancelotti tested out a two-man front line with various permutations and combinations involving Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr, and Joselu, a great deal of chances went down the drain, owing to the lack of finishers up front.

In the Clasico, Madrid outmatched Barcelona by a whopping 29 shots to 12, while the closing game versus Juventus entailed a similar script, with Los Blancos’ 34 shots trumping the Bianconeri’s 11.

The acquisition of Joselu has not instilled much hope too, due to the player’s inconsistencies in terms of finishing.

With Vinicius and Rodrygo players that prefer to play off a No. 9, it has become clear as daylight that Real Madrid must bolster that department. They have been linked heavily with Kylian Mbappe, and their pursuit of the World Cup winner may heat up following the pre-season.

3. Tchouameni recovering his form

An outstanding upside for Madrid this pre-season was recovering a version of Aurelien Tchouameni that resembled something close to his best after his decline in the second half of the last season.

The Frenchman’s display against Manchester United was simply outstanding, and he looked good every time he stepped out on the pitch.

The holding midfielder oozed excellence in the first phase as his tranquility while playing out from the back enabled Madrid to seamlessly bypass pressure. His ability to eat up ground and impose himself in duels rendered him a huge protection for the Madrid back-line as well.

The Frenchman, in most games, was cool as a cucumber recycling possession and provided a reliable presence in possession. Tchouameni even came close to scoring one of the goals of the pre-season against Barcelona, but ended up hitting the woodwork from range.

Positive signs for Real Madrid.

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MU Shorts

How can Euro 2024 stardom shape the future of Real Madrid’s teenage prodigy?

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Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Real Madrid and Turkey midfielder Arda Guler showcased his talent during Euro 2024, scoring a goal and assisting twice, firmly establishing himself as a key player for Turkey at just 19 years old. 

In the recent quarter-final match against the Netherlands, Guler’s exceptional skills were on full display when he provided a stunning assist to open the scoring. 

Demonstrating his technical prowess, Guler controlled the ball with his left foot and delivered a precise cross with his right, which, despite not being his dominant foot, highlighted his versatility.

Despite his strong efforts, though, the Dutch team managed to turn the game around within six minutes, dashing Turkey’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals. 

This outcome left Guler visibly dejected, but it also underscored his growing maturity. After the match, he took the time to console each of his teammates, showcasing leadership qualities beyond his years to emerge as one of the standout sensations of the Euros.

Real Madrid’s spot still in limbo?

With the tournament now behind him, questions arise about Guler’s future and what role he will play at Real Madrid in the upcoming 2024/2025 season. 

Arda Guler showcased leadership qualities beyond his age. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Last season, the young Turk struggled to secure significant playing time due to physical issues that plagued him for the first few months of the competition. 

However, his impressive performances towards the end of the season and at the European Championship may have changed his standing within the team.

As a result, Carlo Ancelotti, known for his ability to foster positive environments for his players, now faces the challenge of determining Guler’s role. 

His versatility allows him to play both in midfield and in attacking positions, but he will have to compete with established stars like Brahim Diaz, Rodrygo, Kylian Mbappe, and the young talent Endrick. The Italian coach must carefully consider how to integrate Guler into the squad effectively.

Ancelotti will be key to Guler’s future

The situation at Real Madrid appears challenging for Guler due to the fierce competition for limited spots, with many players deserving of a place in the team which is why Ancelotti’s decisions will be crucial in shaping Guler’s future at the club. 

Last season, his tenure was marred by injuries, and even when he was fit, Ancelotti often favoured more seasoned players. This preference was understandable, given that Guler’s return coincided with crucial matches in the latter half of the season.

Arda Guler scored a goal and assisted twice during Euro 2024. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

However, Guler has now proven his worth on the international stage, and his refusal to go out on loan indicates his determination to fight for a spot at Real Madrid. 

It will be fascinating to see how Ancelotti handles this situation and what opportunities he provides for Guler in the coming season.

Capping off a perfect journey

The young midfielder’s journey at the Euros has undoubtedly increased his profile, and his performance has likely caught the attention of many within the football world. 

As Guler continues to develop, his potential seems limitless. All this means that Real Madrid fans will now be eager to see how he fits into the team’s plans and whether he can secure a more prominent role. 

The upcoming season will be a crucial period for Guler, as he aims to build on his recent success and establish himself as a key player for both club and country.

In summary, Guler’s impressive showing at Euro 2024 has set the stage for an intriguing season ahead. His leadership and maturity, despite his young age, have marked him as a rising star in football. 

The challenge now lies with Carlo Ancelotti to harness Guler’s talent and integrate him effectively into a competitive Real Madrid squad. 

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