The champion, with homework done

Carlo Ancelotti, during a Madrid training session in preseason. / and. laurent / ef


Real Madrid finishes solving the exit chapter with a squad that convinces in the offices and without the need to sign more

Jose Manuel Andres

Pleasant summer in the offices of Real Madrid. On the main floor of Concha Espina they were early risers and did their homework very quickly, with the signings of the German central defender Antonio Rüdiger, at zero cost after concluding his relationship with Chelsea, and the French midfielder Aurélien Tchouaméni, for whom they paid Monaco 80 million fixed euros plus another 20 in variables. That is why the Whites' sports directors look forward to the imminent start of the season with the tranquility of having achieved their goal and a champion squad.

The departures of Luka Jovic to Fiorentina and Borja Mayoral to Getafe leave the resolution of the future of Álvaro Odriozola and the Brazilian Reinier as the only pending tasks, beyond the doubts about the continuity of Ceballos or the runrún installed in the white environment on the need to incorporate a guarantee substitute for Benzema.

And it is that the sensations of the preseason have gone from less to more. He was slightly concerned about the defeat against Barça in Las Vegas in the first preparation match, since the absence of the French striker exposed all the white deficiencies in the goalscoring chapter when the watchword of Ancelotti's team is not there in attack. The first part of the match against América de México in San Francisco did not serve to clear up doubts either, although the improvement in the second 45 minutes at the hands of the less usual softened the conclusions of a match that ended in a tie at two.

Madrid did not finish convincing on their American tour, always from the distance with which preseason results should be assessed, but the match against Juventus in Los Angeles significantly changed the white balance of the preparation. With the gala team that won the Champions League and the League last season, Ancelotti's pupils won and convinced against the 'vecchia Signora', already showing credentials with the start of the competition on the horizon.

A defined eleven

On Wednesday comes the chance to lift the first official title of the season, the European Super Cup that Madrid will play against Eintracht Frankfurt in Helsinki. It will be before the league debut, on Sunday August 14 against Almería at the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos. For the moment, Rüdiger and Tchouaméni will have to continue making merits to earn a place in an eleven that seems clear after the duel against Juve. The pair of central defenders formed by Militao and Alaba continues to be the preferred option for Ancelotti, who was not convinced by the test with Rüdiger at left back, which gives Mendy more options.

In the center of the field, Madrid already has the future tied up with Camavinga and Tchouaméni, two midfielders with very different profiles - the first being more dynamic; of greater containment and tactical rigor the second-, which have left very good feelings in the preseason. However, at present the hierarchy is still marked by Casemiro, Kroos and Modric, beyond the fact that the course is long and there will be time and place for rotations. In attack, Benzema and Vinicius are indisputable, with Valverde as the first choice for the right flank due to his ability to also help in midfield. Hazard and Asensio remain on the lookout for their opportunity.

The Pintus method works in a preseason with an empty infirmary

Beyond Carlo Ancelotti's ability to manage a star-studded dressing room and the script of his second and son, Davide, Real Madrid's success last season had a lot to do with Antonio Pintus' physical preparation. Despite the many doubts raised by the low rotation of troops in the first half of the course, the performance of the white squad did not decline one iota in the decisive stretch, which unleashed a bunch of praise for the Pintus method.

The Italian returned to the white club at the hands of Carletto after a first stage between 2016 and 2019 and for now the decision has proven to be a success. Madrid has completed the preseason without any shock in terms of injuries, as it has its entire squad available for the first week of competition of the season. Despite the load of training and three games played on the US tour, with the corresponding accumulation of kilometers in the legs, the Madridista infirmary continues unprecedented in this period of preparation.

All this although Pintus has not cut a hair in these weeks of tuning, true to his style. The sessions of maximum physical demand and hard work in the gym have been common currency, giving way in the last week, after the return of the North American tour, to another type of training more focused on exercises with the ball and tactical training. The Turin coach thus intends to unload the players' legs so that they arrive in full condition for the first challenge of the season, the European Super Cup that will measure Madrid against Eintracht on Wednesday in Helsinki.

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