Varane, Isco, Asensio and Morata...
The importance of strength in depth in a squad is usually most apparent when the season is coming to an end and a long, hard campaign is taking its toll. But Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane will certainly not need reminding that, when it comes to handing out league titles, points won at the start of the term count the same as those earned at the end.
Real squad has solutions to absences
Against that backdrop, it's worth focusing not on the problems brought by the absences of Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, Pepe, four key regulars, but on the solutions that this Madrid squad is able to offer right from the off.
Anoeta is an extremely tough test - but a great chance for players to step in and stake their claim for future game time. The depth of a squad as fantastic as Real's ought to play a crucial role in propelling a challenge to win LaLiga, a competition in which Zidane is desperate to regain the club's lost domestic supremacy.
Try this line-up for size...
And the Real team that takes to the field in San Sebastián doesn't have a bad ring to it at all if you have Raphael Varane lining up alongside Sergio Ramos, Isco with Casemiro and Toni Kroos in the engine room, and Marco Asensio and Álvaro Morata accompanying an attacking juggernaut in Gareth Bale, combining a 4-3-3 going forward with a 4-4-2 when defending.
I'd also be disinclined to pooh-pooh those who feel the likes of Nacho Fernández and Lucas Vázquez deserve to come in for their summer displays. I'm sure Spain coach Julen Lopetegui would be grateful for that when it comes to naming his first squad, which could well have a distinct Real Madrid flavour to it...
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