When Carlo Ancelotti entered the fray as Real Madrid‘s head coach last season, it was clear that there was one objective in mind: to win the 10th Champions League title that had so often eluded his Galaticos.
Now, 12 months later, with the European and domestic cup double in the bag, Ancelotti can boast of a side which, arguably, is stronger than that of last season. But all may not be as rosy as it seems.
Indeed, part of last season’s success story came down to the enviable fact that Ancelotti had inherited—and improved upon for that matter—a Madrid side that had strength in depth.
So much so that the departures of Mesut Ozil (to Arsenal to £42.5m as per The Guardian) and Gonzalo Higuain (to Napoli as per BBC Sport)—two of the club’s most integral players who had played crucial roles under Jose Mourinho—were quickly forgotten.
Up stepped Angel Di Maria who showed why he is one of the world’s most underrated attackers. A winger by trade, the arrival of Gareth Bale for a world-record of €100m (per The Guardian) seemed to have forced the Argentine to make do with a spot on the bench.
In a twist of fortune, however, Di Maria became arguably the side’s most important player.
As Isco struggled with Ancelotti’s style of play, the 26-year-old exhibited versatility which saw him coolly slot in as a central midfielder.
Furthermore, the Italian mastermind was able to rely heavily on the firm foundations laid down by his predecessor.