Real Madrid: A very early prediction for the team’s starting XI in 2021-2022

Kylian Mbappe (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Kylian Mbappe (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Ferland Mendy
Real Madrid, Ferland Mendy (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images) /

LB Ferland Mendy

Former Lyon left back Ferland Mendy has been worth every penny of the 50 million euros Real Madrid spent to sign him in 2019. Zinedine Zidane certainly made the right decision to prioritize signing Mendy and start him over Marcelo or even Sergio Reguilon.

Mendy has been among La Liga’s leaders in dribbles allowed per game these past two seasons. He is a wall defensively and is a talented attacking player. According to, the French star has completed three dribbles per game in 2020-2021, meaning only Lionel Messi has been a more prolific dribbler in La Liga.

When examining the quality of his defending and the intelligence he shows in the attacking third with his decision-making on the ball, you really have to say that Mendy has a case to be the absolute best fullback in the world.

CB Sergio Ramos

Forget the noise and rumors of PSG, Juventus, or anyone else. Sergio Ramos is not leaving Real Madrid, and Los Blancos need him more than anyone else. If they are able to sign Kylian Mbappe and/or Erling Haaland, Ramos will become the clear most important player on the team. Because while Karim Benzema’s goal-scoring will be relied upon less, Ramos’ leadership will still be absolutely crucial to Los Merengues.

Look at what happened this year when Real Madrid lost to Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League without him. Or even last year in September when they were embarrassed by PSG at the Parc des Princes.

Ramos is, statistically speaking, the best ball-playing center back in the world. And he has the goals to back that up. He is starting for as long as he can possibly play. Ramos means that much to Real.

CB Raphael Varane

Even if Real Madrid sign Jules Kounde, Dayot Upamecano, Benoit Badiashile, or another impressive young center back in 2021, Raphael Varane will still be the starter alongside Sergio Ramos. He hasn’t been at his absolute best to start the 2020-2021 season, but it is very easy to be overly critical of Varane.

Remember, Varane is still the team’s leader in interceptions and aerial duels won per game, with a pass completion percentage of 89.4. Varane is a world-class center back who was arguably the world’s best at the position in the 2019-2020 season.

RB Dani Carvajal

Dani Carvajal’s importance to Real Madrid has been magnified during his absence due to injury. The long-time starting right back has owned the Santiago Bernabeu with his all-around ability. A tenacious defender who excels in one-on-one situations, Carvajal can lose out to quicker players, but his experience and technical quality in the tackle more than make up for it.

Offensively, Carvajal is the most accurate crosser on the team behind Marcelo and always supports the attack as much as possible. Few right backs are as adept at dribbling and keeping possession as Carvajal. He is a fixture at right back and is very easy to underappreciate.