Ten loan players who could return to fold under Zidane
De Tomás and Achraf are in fine form and could be recalled by Zidane, who will also have to decide on eight other players currently on loan who are scheduled to return this summer.
One of the main decisions new-old Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane will have to make this summer is what to do with the 10 players currently on loan at other clubs in Spain, Germany, Holland and Brazil.
Achraf Hakimi and Raul De Tomás in particular have performed outstandingly for their respective clubs and could be brought back in to the Madrid setup as cover. But for the others, however, a possible place in Zidane’s squad is much a more complicated prospect. Here, AS takes a look at the respective situations of those ten players who could potentially be brought back into the fold.
Achraf Hakimi (Borussia Dortmund)
The Moroccan international’s first year on loan at Borussia Dortmund, where he has signed for two seasons, has been exceptional. Indispensable to Dortmund coach Lucien Favre, Achraf was given his first opportunity in professional football by Zidane last season when he was only 18 years old. With more experience under his belt, the 20-year-old full back could potentially cover two positions for Zidane: at right-back, or, should Marcelo leave, at left back, a position where he has gained notable experience with Dortmund despite being right-footed. If Zidane wants him to return, Madrid would have to negotiate some form of compensation with the German club in order to break the two-year loan agreement after just one season.
Raul De Tomás (Rayo Vallecano)
"I will return to Real Madrid in July," the striker confirmed two weeks ago. Zidane knows him well from his coaching days at Real Madrid Castilla and will be aware of the growth of De Tomás’ performance during his two seasons at Rayo Vallecano. The 24-year-old Dominican Spanish scored 24 goals in the Second Division in 2017-18, helping Rayo to ascend to the Primera, where he has so far netted 11 goals this season. His return in July could give him an opportunity in the first team as Benzema’s understudy. "We talked every week ... Zidane was always my idol and that put too much pressure on me; that's why things did not work out for me in Castilla,” the player told AS of his relationship with Zidane. This summer they will meet again in the preseason where RDT will have a chance once again to impress his idol.
Theo Hernandez (Real Sociedad)
Theo would be the other option to cover the hole left by Marcelo’s possible departure. His return would be simpler than that of Achraf, as he is only on loan for one season at Real Sociedad with no option to purchase. What plays against him is the fact that he has not been able to recover the performance levels he reached at Alavés before his arrival at the Bernabéu in summer of 2017.
Martin Ödegaard (Vitesse)
Ödegaard is currently on his second loan spell in Holland, this time with Vitesse, where he has impressed with seven goals and six assists in 26 games. Aside from Castilla, he only featured for the first team in one game for Zidane last season, against Cultural in the Copa del Rey. The 20-year-old has shown signs of improvement in Holland and Ajax are reportedly keen to sign him. Amsterdam could very well be where he will end up next season.
Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea)
Mateo Kovacic’s future will be at another club. Madrid were disappointed by his performances in the final stretch of last season and his relationship with Zidane is almost non-existent – all of which prompted him to look for a way out of the Bernabéu last summer. Madrid are waiting to see what will happen regarding Fifa’s sanctions on Chelsea, where he is currently on loan. If the sanctions are upheld and Chelsea are neither able to sign him nor extend the loan deal, Madrid will surely listen to offers from other clubs.
Borja Mayoral (Levante)
Mayoral has not shined this season during his loan spell at Levante and that will play against him in his competition with De Tomás to become Benzema’s understudy. However, the Madrid native is a player who is already known well to Zidane, for whom he scored seven goals in 29 appearances before the French coach’s departure last May. The 21-year-old striker will return to Real Madrid’s Valdebebas training ground in the pre-season with the goal of staying put.
Óscar Rodríguez (Leganés)
Leganés has given Rodríguez plenty of game time (1,860 minutes over 24 games) in his first season in the Primera, and the 20-year-old midfielder has responded well to the challenge, with three goals and four assists to his name. He is a player who has already been considered by Zidane, who took the then-19-year-old on the preseason tour of the US in 2017, where he scored a goal against Manchester City in Los Angeles.
Andrii Lunin (Leganés)
Madrid signed the 20-year-old keeper from Zorya Luganzak for 8.5 million euros last summer and immediately sent him on a loan assignment with Leganés. The idea was that he would gain some valuable game time in Primera with Los Pepineros before returning to become Madrid’s third-choice keeper. But the young Ukrainian has only played a total of 364 minutes for Leganés this season and of course there is one other player vying for that third-choice keeper spot who is well known to Zidane – his son, Luca.
James Rodriguez (Bayern Munich)
James' future is in the hands of Bayern Munich, who have the option to purchase him at the end of the season for 42 million euros. The Colombian is eager to return to Madrid, but he left the club precisely because he and Zidane did not see eye to eye.
Lucas Silva (Cruzeiro)
Madrid do not see Lucas Silva in their plans. The 26-year-old Brazilian returned to Cruzeiro, the club that raised him, to rebuild his career but unfortunately that has not transpired. He has played just two games out of five so far this season. He joined Madrid in 2015 for 14 million euros and has a contract until 2020. But it is extremely unlikely he will see out the rest of that contract at the Bernabéu.