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Carlos Ancelotti. EFE
The quiet revolution at Real Madrid
A look at LaLiga

The quiet revolution at Real Madrid

Many didn't think that they could prosper without the goals of Karim Benzema but Ancelotti has found a way

Friday, 16 February 2024, 13:59

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With all eyes on the magnificence of Manchester City, Barcelona's financial catastrophe and Klopp leaving the Kop, the quiet revolution at Real Madrid has slipped beneath the radar.

The only person raising an eyebrow at the incredible transformation of Real is Carlos Ancelotti - and that's because his eyebrow is the only giveaway to his controlled emotions.

The fact that he's turned down the opportunity to manage the Brazilian national team to continue with the project at the Bernabéu speaks volumes of what has been achieved and can be achieved in the future.

The team has transitioned before our very eyes. Many didn't think that the Casemiro -Toni Kroos – Luka Modrić combination could ever be replaced. Now we have Aurélien Tchouaméni, Eduardo Camavinga and Fede Valverde. Kroos is still seeing plenty of game time as an alternative; Modric is around to pass on his wisdom and make cameo appearances.

Many didn't think that Real could prosper without the goals of Karim Benzema, but Ancelotti has found a way. The veteran coach has reinvented the wheel yet again. He's developed a role for Jude Bellingham that encapsulates his incredible talents and when the Englishman isn't around Brahim Díaz slips into the position perfectly.

This season has been a study of masterful management. He's without his world-class goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, but has been patient enough to see who grows into the role between Kepa and Andriy Lunin. Kepa was magnificent against RB Leipzig.

The maturing of Vinícius Júnior is another major factor. The Brazilian does like to antagonise the opposition and their supporters. A mark of his development was the way he destroyed Girona last week without incident. He wasn't goading the fans or teasing the players. It was just a case of "head down and do the damage". In fact, it was the first time in a game that a foul wasn't registered on him.

Real have taken control of La Liga with many of the key players missing for large parts of the season. They took an advantage against RB Leipzig with a makeshift defence that kept a clean sheet. If they can get through this period, they have Éder Militão and Antonio Rüdiger returning just in time for the crunch spring European games.

Next season, he'll have Courtois back in goal and, if reports are to be believed, Kylian Mbappé leading the team from the front. They've been creating a slush fund for when the move can eventually become a reality. With that fabulous Frenchman, Bellingham, Courtois, Viní Jr and the modern midfield we could be back to describing them as the Galácticos again.

That's the future. In the present they're doing the right things. Beating Girona should mean they have created an unassailable lead at the top of the league. It's right to say that their usual rivals, Barça and Atlético, aren't good enough this season.

Outside of Spain, I suspect that Real are being underestimated because of the domestic ease. It's not very often that the giants have gone into Champions League games as underdogs - that could be their greatest asset. Don't bet against them claiming their 15th elite European title come the end of the season.

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