An ageing squad
It was clear that selling Ronaldo was an attempt to move towards a younger squad, but given the lack of changes that have been made over recent years, Real have left themselves with too many problem positions to address in one go.
Ronaldo and Pepe aside, everyone who started the 2016 Champions League final is still at the club, and at least six remain first choice. Bale, Marcelo and Keylor Navas are still very much part of the first team, too.
The replacements have had mixed success. Raphael Varane is an outstanding centre-back, but Vazquez has failed to convince and Thibaut Courtois has had little positive impact since signing. Navas was replaced because he wasn’t a big enough name in goal, when there were other positions that president Florentino Perez should have prioritsed.
Luka Modric is now 33 and though he will be impossible to replace, Real shouldn’t be relying on him to play every game. That he leads the team for assists this season in La Liga – with just four – suggests a distinct lack of creativity in the team. Up front, Karim Benzema is the wrong side of 30 and with just 11 goals in 26 league games this season is showing signs of his age.