Kylian Mbappe’s status remains ‘It’s Complicated, But For Now With PSG’. And Real Madrid haven’t yet succeeded in reaching a deal with the French superstar. They might have to wait for his contract to end when this season concludes before they can reel him in.
But that means Real begin this season with no fearsome striker in their ranks, which is uncharacteristic for a franchise that has boasted scorers of the class of Alfredo Di Stéfano, Raúl González, Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo and most recently, Karim Benzema.
Benzema, last year’s Ballon D’Or winner, followed the money to Saudi, after which Madrid haven’t been able to find a suitable replacement for the Frenchman.
Eden Hazard, Marco Asensio and Mariano Díaz have also left.
It was speculated that Harry Kane might replace Benzema. But increasingly, the Englishman is linked with Bayern Munich.
There’s less than a week to go for Real’s season opener against Athletic Bilbao next Saturday, and they only have four strikers on paper. Joselu has come in, on loan from Espanyol. The 33-year-old is a late bloomer but is now a fixture in the Spanish national team. Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti must hope that he can combine well with Vinícius Júnior and Rodrygo.
Vinícius went through a difficult time last season due to repeated, severe racist treatment from fans. It led to club management as well as government officials joining the mission to eliminate racism. Real will be hoping that he feels welcome and secure again at the club to be at his best.
Brahim Diaz is the only other attacking player Madrid have. The 24-year-old has the ability to play as a pure striker as well as an attacking midfielder.
In defence and midfield, things look much better for Madrid, who won three titles last year - the UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup and Copa del Rey – but left empty-handed from the La Liga and Champions League. Thibaut Courtois is in goal, and the arrival of Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund has strengthened the midfield. Waiting for him there will be warhorses Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, likely playing their farewell seasons.