REAL MADRID

Real Madrid's candidates for a leader in the post-Ramos era

Without Sergio Ramos, Madrid need a new leader. Casemiro and Carvajal are best placed to take over. Marcelo and Modric would have a different role.

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Real Madrid have lost the man who was the team's spiritual leader for the best part of the past decade. Sergio Ramos, apart from being the captain, headed a side which won, among other things, four Champions League titles since 2014. He played an important role both on and off the pitch, motivating the others and instilling self-confidence and belief in a group of natural-born winners.

Without Ramos, Madrid must find a new figure of reference. Casemiro and Dani Carvajal look like the most able candidates to take on the role. The Brazilian is a strong character, who has earned respect for his sacrifices for the team out on the pitch and his admiration for the club and its values. As for Carvajal, whenever he speaks, the others listen. He understands exactly what it means to be a Real Madrid player and how demanding the fans are. It is also worth remembering that he was chosen to lay the first stone at the club's new training ground in Valdebebas back in 2004.

Marcelo and Modric, Madrid's experienced veterans

The veteran players also carry weight within the squad, but they are likely to have a different role. Marcelo, who inherited the captain's armband from Ramos, has been thinking of leaving; his place in the side has been taken by Mendy so he will be less visible out on the pitch. His role will be more focused on giving advice to the younger players and helping them, something he is especially good at. It will be similar for Modric who, at 35, is another of the most respected players in the squad. The club and coaching staff have total faith in him.

Other players will act as leaders but in other ways. Benzema (pending Mbappé's possible arrival)  will still be Madrid's reference in attack. He's not the kind of player who can rally the rest  but he carries them in his own way with his style of play and goals. The same can be said about Courtois, who gives the team security. In just three years, the Belgian keeper has won the respect of his team mates and now is one of the most prominent member of the side.