Real Madrid 2023/24 La Liga Season Preview | The Hard Tackle

In a few day’s time, the 2023/24 La Liga season kicks off and it’s time The Hard Tackle assesses the prospects of Real Madrid.

Real Madrid have a rich history in both Spain as well as Europe. They have won La Liga a record 35 times and have the record for most UEFA Champions League titles as well. Over the years, Los Blancos have always had a star-studded lineup with some of the best players from across Europe. They have been dominating the world of football alongside a few other big clubs.

While they have been the best team in Spain over the ages, the past decade has not been that great for them domestically as they won the league only three times. Real Madrid have not finished below third. But they have been the second-best team in Spain four times and the third-best on three occasions.

During the same period, they have dominated European football, winning the Champions League five times. But, they surely need to get their act together in La Liga after having lost the league title to Barcelona last time out.

Carlo Ancelotti needs his team to step up next season, (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

The Prelude

After winning the UEFA Champions League and La Liga in the 2021/22 season, Carlo Ancelotti’s team headed into the 2022/23 campaign high on confidence and with a lot of expectations. But things did not go according to plan.

They were expected to retain either the UCL or La Liga but ended up winning just the Copa del Rey in the 2022/23 season. While Real Madrid  did win a trophy, it was not the kind of season Los Blancos hoped to have.

As far as La Liga is concerned, they were second-best throughout. The Merengues were behind Barcelona in the race to the league title. While they had a few opportunities to close the gap and give the Catalan giants a run for their money, Real Madrid dropped points at crucial junctures, and it was an easy win for Barcelona at the end of the day.

Los Blancos won 24 matches last season. They dropped points on 14 occasions, eight of which were defeats. Despite being the highest-scoring team in the league with 75 goals, they had nothing to show for and ended up accumulating 78 points. They finished ten points behind league leaders Barcelona.

Things did not go well for Real Madrid in the league, but they did manage to reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League. But, they were humiliated by Manchester City in the second leg and ended up getting knocked out by an aggregate score line of 5-1.

Squad Update

Real Madrid were not expected to do much business in the summer because they had a squad full of quality players. They expected to add a quality backup striker for Karim Benzema and sign Jude Bellingham alongside a few other additions.

But, those plans changed when Benzema and Marco Asensio decided to leave the club. Even Eden Hazard left the club along with a few other players. Those departures left a major void in their attack. And, they were forced to make quite a few signings.

Major Departures

Karim Benzema
Eden Hazard
Marco Asensio

Benzema’s departure meant a new striker was now a must and they needed more options on the flanks because of the departure of Hazard and Asensio. As a result, they decided to sign their former youth product Joselu and bring back Brahim Diaz to the club.

They even bought back Fran Garcia in an attempt to bolster their defence and went big to land England international Jude Bellingham. While Florentino Perez said he won’t be doing any more business, they still ended up singing Arda Guler, the Turkish gem.

Major Arrivals

Jude Bellingham
Arda Güler
Brahim Díaz
Fran García

Real Madrid’s signings in the ongoing transfer window will give them enough options out wide, and it will surely bolster their midfield which already has some of the best players in world football. The midfield seems sorted for years to come but the attack is still a major concern.

While Joselu is a decent option to have up top, he cannot fill the void left by Benzema. The French international is amongst the best in the world and they will surely miss him given that he guaranteed a lot of goals and was a leader in that dressing room.

Key Fixtures

Real Madrid are expected to be right there at the top challenging for the title, and there are not really many fixtures that will challenge Los Blancos given the quality of their squad.

However, the opening fixture of a season is always crucial. Real Madrid will hit the road to square up against Athletic Club in the opening fixture of the season. Athletic have a decent squad, and they surely prove to be a challenge first up.

On Matchday Six, Real Madrid will prepare to face local rivals and title contenders Atletico Madrid away from home. The Madrid derby tends to have a lot at stake and it is one of the biggest challenges for Los Blancos in La Liga.

Matchdays 10 and 11 will also be tough challenges for Carlo Ancelotti’s men as they will first square up against Sevilla and then eternal rivals Barcelona, with both matches being away from home. As far as Barcelona are concerned, they recently got better of Madrid in a friendly fixture and will be looking to recreate something similar.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid will look to bounce back. The return fixture against Atletico Madrid is scheduled for Matchday 23 in February, and the second instalment of El Clasico is scheduled for April next year.

Key Players

Federico Valverde

While Valverde might not make it to the headlines because of the names that he plays alongside, the 25-year-old is one of the most important players in the current Real Madrid squad. Carlo Ancelotti is a huge admirer of the Uruguayan international and has managed to use him effectively over the past two seasons.

The 25-year-old is a utility man who has been used in different positions on the pitch. He can play out wide on the right flank as well as in a central or defensive role in the midfield. Last season, Valverde was involved in 56 matches and racked up over 4,400 minutes. He was involved in a total of 19 goals.

Given his performances last season and the importance of the player under Ancelotti, he is expected to have a huge say on how Madrid ended up performing in the 2022/23 season.

Vinicius Junior

Vinicius Junior was expected to be the next big thing when he arrived at Real Madrid back in the day. He has since gone from strength to strength and is currently the leader of their attack. The 23-year-old winger has been on fire over the last few seasons.

And, he is all set to don the iconic number ‘7’ jersey next season. The Brazilian international was involved in a total of 55 matches last season. He managed to find the back of the net on 23 occasions and also had 21 assists to his name.

The 23-year-old was on the pitch for close to 4,800 minutes and is expected to get even better in the 2023/24 season. With Benzema no longer at the club, the Brazilian forward is expected to lead by example and there will be a lot of expectations from him.

Season Expectations

Real Madrid are expected to win every trophy they compete for. They have a squad full of superstars that is capable enough to guide them to glory this out as well.

However, there are a few major concerns this time out. Carlo Ancelotti could make a big tactical change in the 2023/24 season. He could shift to a 4-4-2 with a diamond in the midfield as it will allow him to make the best use of the midfielders that he has in his ranks.

If he manages to pull it off, they might end up being a force to reckon with, if the 4-4-2 fails, they will be forced to return to the tried and tested 4-3-3. While it has given them a lot of success in the past, this time out it could prove to be a major challenge. And, that is because they do not have a world-class striker with Benzema leaving the club.

However, the presence of Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo Goes will ensure they have enough firepower in attack. Federico Valverde can also chip in with goals and the arrival of Bellingham will also make them a bit more attacking in nature.

Real Madrid have a midfield that is second to none on paper. Some of the best young talents from across the globe are present in their midfield. And on top of that, they have the experience of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.

It seems to be a deadly squad with a few concerns. With the transfer window still open they could end up signing a star forward and that might help them push for all titles. The Hard Tackle predicts Real Madrid will end up winning the La Liga in the 2023/24 season.

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