Everything is relative.
Most fan bases wouldn’t wave handkerchiefs and yell ‘crisis’ from the rooftops with their team fourth in the league and having qualified for the Champions League knockout stages.
Real Madrid, however, are no ordinary team.
The 13-time European Cup winners are perhaps the biggest club in the world and, because of this status, hold themselves to a different standard.
Los Blancos are ten points adrift of rivals Barcelona in the league, and with Santiago Solari failing to stop the rot of Julen Lopetegui’s brief reign, something needs to change in the Spanish capital.
Mauricio Pochettino and Jose Mourinho are short odds to be the key figure in the Bernabeu dugout next season, but what about the players?
Here’s how we think Real should line up come the start of 2018/19…
No major changes needed at the back, each of Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo can claim to be top three in their position over the last two or three years.
Chelsea fans have enjoyed Thibaut Courtois’ unconvincing start to his Real career but history tells us he’s a decent keeper — let him settle.
Now for the first our new Galacticos — Christian Eriksen.
Removing the current Ballon d’Or holder from any side’s optimum starting line-up feels counter-intuitive but Luka Modric is as susceptible to the harsh passing of time as the rest of us.
The Croatian midfielder is keen on a transfer away from Spain, if rumours are to be believed, and so who better to take up the role of creator-in-chief than Eriksen?
The Danish playmaker could play in a midfield three or as a No10 in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Toni Kroos more than capable of playing in a double pivot alongside enforcer Casemiro.
More abstractly, Eriksen just feels like a Real player, doesn’t he?
We can picture him performing some sub-par keepy-ups amidst a lightning storm of camera flashes so easily.
Maybe that’s because Modric and Gareth Bale have established a pathway from north London to Madrid.
More accustomed to the left wing, we believe Vinicius Junior could be successfully converted to the opposite flank.
The 18-year-old Brazilian is an exciting prospect and could develop rapidly if he was given license to take on defenders at every opportunity.
As a teenager it would be unfair to place too much burden on him, and so he should share duties with Marco Asensio, Brahim Diaz and, oh yeah… Gareth Bale.
Eden Hazard has long been linked with a move to Real Madrid.
A big-money transfer would raise his profile further, instantly making him one of the world’s top five most marketable players.
A breathtaking talent, the Belgian would undoubtedly improve any side in world football.
In Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence, the club are in need a superstar and Hazard fits the bill.
Now it’s just a matter of who will score the goals…
Mauro Icardi is perhaps the best poacher in European football.
The Argentine fox-in-the-box plays on the shoulder of the last defender and his predatory instincts rarely fail to kick in when the ball is played into the box.
Karim Benzema has always offered so much more than just an impressive goal return, but his sharpness in front of goal has dulled in the last two years.
A team containing Kroos, Eriksen and Hazard should create enough chances for a striker like Icardi — 25 goals per season would be the minimum target.
By nature, Real Madrid will always have deep squads and so several other players would fulfil significant roles over the course of the season.
But we think this XI is a good starting point if they wish to be a force to be reckoned with once more.
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