REAL MADRID

Real Madrid: Zidane has 12 players who are surplus to requirements

Apart from deciding which players are needed, Zidane and Madrid need to determine which players won't form part of his project. Right now, 37 players are under contract.

Real Madrid: Zidane has 12 players who are surplus to requirements
JOAQUIN CORCHERO ARCOS

The uncertainty about how the  current season will play out has put the onus on Real Madrid to develop a strategy to determine which players will continue next season and which ones won't. At the moment, the club has 37 players under contract - 26 who are currently in the first team squad and a further 11 who are out on loan which means at some point, Zidane will need to whittle the number down. As it stands he has 12 players above the maximum quota of 25.

Zizou has continued working from home during quarantine and now while all non-essential outdoor work has been prohibited in Spain. He has been busy studying videos of the team's next rivals (among them, Manchester City), as well as making the most of the time when he doesn't have to be in Valdebebas to look at how all the players who are out on loan have been performing. The coach is in permanent contact with the club, because decisions need to be made before the end of June...

Loanees who will be returning this summer

Martin Ødegaard and Achraf Hakimi have excelled during their loan respective stints at Real Sociedad and Borussia Dortmund, but their return would mean someone else would have to leave. Achraf started out at right-back but can also play on the opposite wing where Zidane already has Marcelo and Ferland Mendy, plus Sergio Reguilón who is out on loan. Some players definitely won't continue - for example Borja Mayoral; and others who face another season out on loan - Kubo, Óscar Rodríguez and recent arrival Reinier... Other promises such as Vinicius and Rodrygo have settled in and won't be going anywhere in the near future.

El club tiene que tomar una decisión con James.

Players in a delicate situation...

When it comes down to filling positions in the team, Zidane also has a budget to work within  and that affects two players who are among the squad's highest earners - Gareth Bale and James. The coach must decide whether either or both fit into his plans. Then there are players whose contracts will expire in 2021 (Lucas Vázquez and Luka Modric). For other players, like Dani Ceballos and Jesús Vallejo, it's looks very unlikely that they will have a place when they return from loan... Both were ken to leave last summer to gain playing time and to boost their chances of being at Euro 2020 or, in Vallejo's case, the Olympic Games - both of which have been moved to 2021. 

Jovic and Mariano

Zidane also has to work his way around situations that he didn't foresee. Especially regarding the centre-forward position. Luka Jovic has not lived up to expectations and his decision to fly home to Serbia when the squad was under quarantine didn't go down well at the club. Zidane knows he has plenty of work to do with Jovic. As for Mariano, who isn't in the coach's plans, partly because he is not an out-and-out centre-forward, he is determined to stay. The club hope to find an outlet for his this summer but whether the player accepts or not is another matter.

Real Madrid's youth players who are out on loan

On top of the 37 first team players, then there are the homegrown players coming through the academy, some of whom are currently out on loan at Second Division clubs. They include Jorge de Frutos who is on loan at Rayo Vallecano (his loan spell at Valladolid didn't work out), central defenders Manu Hernando (at Racing de Santander with Luca Zidane) and Alberto Soro (Zaragoza). There are also players who have a chance of returning, such as Álvaro Tejero who has been doing well at Eibar.

Plenty to think about for Zidane and Real Madrid once the coronavirus pandemic is over.