After completing the La Liga and Champions League double by beating Juventus on Jun. 3 in Cardiff, 13 of Real Madrid’s squad then had international duty to fulfill the following week before they could all take a well-deserved rest. But they will soon enough be back to work as they look to prepare for what is likely to be an extra challenging 2017-18 campaign for Zinedine Zidane’s side.
Almost the entire squad will get close to a month’s rest and relaxation before they are due back at Madrid’s Valdebebas training ground on July 10, with bags packed to immediately fly out to the U.S. where they’ll begin their preparations for the new season.
As in previous summers, Los Blancos will do the majority of their preseason work in Los Angeles. The plan is for eight straight days of intensive physical preparation organised by fitness coach Antonio Pintus at the UCLA sports campus. This will hopefully get them ready for a pretty tough International Champions Cup schedule which includes high-profile meetings with Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United (July 23), Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City (July 26) and Ernesto Valverde’s Barcelona (July 29), as well the MLS All-Star game Aug. 2.
Next it is back to Europe for another meeting with Mourinho’s United in the European Supercup in Skopje on Aug. 8, then two more Clasicos against Barcelona in the Supercopa doubleheader the week before the La Liga season is scheduled — but not yet confirmed — to start Aug. 19.
July 23: Real Madrid vs. Man United (Int. Champions Cup, Santa Clara, California)
July 26: Real Madrid vs. Man City (Int. Champions Cup, Los Angeles, California)
July 29: Real Madrid vs. Barcelona (Int. Champions Cup, Miami, Florida)
Aug. 2: Real Madrid vs. MLS All-Stars (MLS All-Star Game, Chicago, Illinois)
Aug. 8: Real Madrid vs. Manchester United (European Supercup, Skopje, Macedonia)
Aug. 13 (TBC): Real Madrid vs. Barcelona (Spanish Supercopa, Camp Nou)
Aug. 19 (TBC): Barcelona vs. Real Madrid (Spanish Supercopa, Bernabeu)
Total matches: Seven
Total miles travelled: 17,548 (estimated)
– Madrid to Los Angeles 5,986 miles
– Los Angeles to San Francisco round-trip: 634 miles
– Los Angeles to Miami: 2,330 miles
– Miami to Chicago: 1,188 miles
– Chicago to Madrid: 4,191 miles
– Madrid to Skopje round-trip: 2,622 miles
– Madrid to Barcelona round-trip, date TBC: 597 miles
Spain’s slow-moving football authorities have yet to confirm the dates for either the 2017 Supercopa games against Barcelona or the weekend that the 2017-18 La Liga campaign will kick off. The current expectation is for the Primera Division to begin the weekend of Aug. 17, with the Supercopa games fitted into the week before.
This summer’s planning will also have to take Madrid’s participation in the 2017 Club World Cup into account: this year’s tournament is in the United Arab Emirates from Dec. 6 to 16.
Ins and outs
Given all their recent successes, Bernabeu chief Florentino Perez is unlikely to shake up his squad too much in the summer, although Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea remains a long-term target. Planning for the future has also seen moves put in place for 16-year-old Brazilian starlet Vinicius Junior and Atletico Madrid left-back Theo Hernandez, 19.
Any other arrivals will probably depend on potential player sales. If one or both of expensive backups James Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata are sold, then coach Zidane will want at least one big-name attacker to supplement his BBC strike force.
– Vinicius Junior, FW: Flamengo, €45 million, remaining 12 months further on loan
Major players linked with arrival:
– Theo Hernandez, DF: Atletico Madrid, €24m
– David De Gea, GK: Manchester United, €75m
– Kylian Mbappe, FW: Monaco, €135m
– Eden Hazard, FW: Chelsea, €115m
– Pepe, DF: contract ended
– Fabio Coentrao, DF: Sporting Lisbon: loan
– James Rodriguez, MF: Manchester United: €75m
– Alvaro Morata, FW: Chelsea, €80m
– Mariano Diaz, FW: Malaga, loan
Zidane will also use preseason to decide whether youngsters returning from loan are ready to step up to the first team. Last summer, Marco Asensio took his opportunity with both hands, and this summer, Marcos Llorente and Jesus Vallejo are among the kids who will be aiming to make an impression.
Returning from loan:
– Marcos Llorente, MF: Alaves
– Jesus Vallejo, DF: Eintracht Frankfurt
– Borja Mayoral, FW: Wolfsburg
– Burgui, MF: Sporting Gijon
– Diego Llorente, DF: Malaga
Zidane brought along 11 youngsters from Madrid’s Castilla reserve side, including his sons Enzo and Luca, to last summer’s camp at UCLA. That was mostly due to most of the first team having extended breaks after Euro 2016, however, and the only squad member at the 2017 Confederations Cup is Cristiano Ronaldo. A smaller group of kids will likely make the trip this time around, although those who do get the call will no doubt be eager to impress.
Possible youth-teamers to travel to US:
– Luca Zidane, GK, 19 years old
– Alvaro Tejero, DF, 20
– Achraf Hakimi, DF, 18
– Aleix Febas, MF, 21
– Enzo Zidane, MF, 22
– Federico Valverde, MF, 18
– Sergio Diaz, FW 19