Sergio Ramos leaves Real Madrid: who will take over as captain?
The criteria at Real Madrid has always been that of longevity, meaning Carlo Ancelotti will install Marcelo as the new club captain with Benzema as vice-captain.
Sergio Ramos’ decision to leave Real Madrid after 16 years at the Bernabéu will not stop the club from moving forward as it has always done even if it will be strange for many fans to see a side not featuring the defender when Carlo Ancelotti names his first starting XI for the 2021-22 season. The departure of the club’s longest-serving player will also mean a reshuffle of the hierarchy among the squad, which Ramos has presided over after being named captain in 2015 following the departure of Iker Casillas.
Unlike many clubs, the captaincy at Real Madrid is based on the amount of time a player has been on the books, which assuming Ancelotti intends to honour the tradition means that Marcelo will be installed as the new club captain. The defender joined Madrid back in 2007 for a fee of €5.5 million from Fluminense and has chalked up 528 appearances over 14 and a half seasons at the Bernabéu. However, there is some doubt over whether Marcelo, who has one year remaining on his contract, will remain at the club beyond the summer as he is expected to be third-choice under Ancelotti behind Ferland Mendy and Miguel Gutiérrez.
Benzema to be elevated to vice-captain
If Marcelo remains at Real Madrid then Karim Benzema will serve as vice-captain alongside the Brazilian. However, given that Marcelo is unlikely to start a huge number of games across 2021-22, the France forward will in essence be the team’s on-pitch leader. Benzema arrived at the Bernabéu in 2009 after moving from Lyon for a fee of €35m.
There are also question marks over whether Benzema’s international teammate, Raphaël Varane, will extend his stay in the Spanish capital but if the defender remains at Real Madrid he will become the third captain in the hierarchy of four traditionally established at the club. Varane was signed from Lens in 2011 at the request of Zinedine Zidane for €10m.
Nacho to fly the flag for La Fábrica
Madrid’s fourth captain will be the most celebrated promotion among staunch supporters as it will represent one of the club’s own youth products taking a place at the top table. Nacho has been one of Madrid’s most loyal servants during his career, often playing the role of utility man under several managers but doing so with good grace and even better performances in a variety of positions.