REAL MADRID

Haaland, Ramos, Mbappé: potential protagonists in Madrid's revolving doors

It's generally felt that Champions League defeat to Chelsea spelt the end of an era at Real Madrid with many calling for a changing of the guard.

Luka Modric, Sergio Ramos, Kylian Mbappé, Eriling Haaland y Paul Pogba.
J. Gandul / J. Á. Orihuela / C. Steenkeste / P. Ellis / M. Rickett AS / AS / Getty / AFP / Reuters

Over the years, the Champions League has served as a barometer for Real Madrid. Chelsea's comprehensive win in this year's semi-final where the English side outclassed 'Los Blancos' in both games has served as a wake-up call for the executives at the LaLiga side with calls for a generational overhaul as Madrid failed to qualify for a major European final for the third successive year.

The line of approach from the Bernebéu side seems set to focus on a slow gradual changing of the guard rather than a drastic squad culling exercise with the likes of Ramos, Modric, Kroos, Marcelo and Benzema expected to (over time) make way for the likes of Mbappé, Haaland, Alaba, Camavinga and even Manchester United's Paul Pogba.

Sin tituloReal Madrid's Spanish defender Sergio Ramos reacts after conceding a second goal during the UEFA Champions League second leg semi-final football match between Chelsea and Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge in London on May 5, 2021. - Chelsea won the match 2-0. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

Exit the old guard?

There was a two year gap between Madrid's Champions League win in Lisbon and then in Milan with seven players playing in both finals. At Stamford Bridge, some three years later, five players were involved in Real Madrid's last final wins in Milan, Kiev and Cardiff (Ramos, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric and Karim Benzema) with the list potentially having risen to seven had Carvajal and Varane not been injured. Four of Zidane's key players are now in their 30s (Modric and Ramos on 35; Benzema, 33 and Kroos is 31 with Casemiro aged 29).

This season all of the above have been hugely instrumental in taking Madrid to the semi-final of the Champions League and with four games outstanding in LaLiga, Real Madrid lie in second place and are serious title contenders. Ramos has been troubled by injury but the central players and especially Benzema with his 21 league goals have pushed Zidane's men forward during the difficult 2020/21 campaign.

La Liga Santander - Real Madrid v OsasunaSoccer Football - La Liga Santander - Real Madrid v Osasuna - Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, Madrid, Spain - May 1, 2021 Real Madrid's Karim Benzema during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Susana Vera

Fresh blood

Real Madrid fans are hoping that the summer of 2021 is the year that Mbappé finally makes the switch from PSG with the possible of arrival of Haaland looking like being put on hold temporary with the player posed to remain with Dortmund for another season. The French striker has yet to renew his current deal with PSG and as things stand his contract with the Ligue 1 side expires on 2022.

FILE PHOTO: Champions League - Semi Final First Leg - Paris St Germain v Manchester CityFILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Semi Final First Leg - Paris St Germain v Manchester City - Parc des Princes, Paris, France - April 28, 2021 Paris St Germain's Kylian Mbappe with coach Mauricio Pochettino REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

Bayern Munich's Austrian international Alaba appears set to arrive at the Spanish capital this summer and should Zidane stay on, then the campaign to sign Pogba could gather pace once again with the French central player also out of contract with Manchester United in the summer of 2022.

Financing the transition

Real Madrid are currently struggling financially with the club embarking on a 500 million euro overhaul project on renovating the Santiago Bernabéu with the lack of match-day revenue impacting on the club's finances caused by the pandemic. To offset the possible Mbappé signing, the club will need to sell with the likes of Varane, Odriozola, Isco, Mariano, Marcelo, Jovic or Ceballos all candidates to leave the club this summer.

The club will also look to offload high earners over the next two years with Gareth Bale, Ramos or Modric's wages alone contributing to an outlay of 40 million euro per season.