Real Madrid: The 3 biggest concerns heading into 2021

Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappe (Photo by PASCAL GUYOT/AFP via Getty Images) /

The future of Real Madrid’s attack

As it stands right now, Real Madrid’s best starting front three is Eden Hazard on the left, Karim Benzema in the middle, and Lucas Vazquez on the right. Yes, Vazquez has earned the right to start every game, as he’s been exceptional this season as a right back or right winger, working his tail off and providing excellent crosses. He even scored a late goal at Eibar. Of course, Marco Asensio has more overall ability and could displace him if he can build off a strong performance against Granada, but, as a whole, Vazquez’s body of work in 2020-2021 has been better.

The thing is, neither Asensio nor Vazquez look like long-term options on the right-hand side. They are great squad players, but refer to Real Madrid’s Champions League-winning sides. Are they really on the level of an Angel Di Maria or Gareth Bale? Absolutely not. Rodrygo Goes is a nice player on the right, but, referring to the matches against Granada and Eibar as examples, we all know his future is on the left.

Real Madrid still don’t have a top-scoring wide forward. Maybe Rodrygo can become that player, and his assist total this season is impressive. Vinicius Junior has promise, but maybe his best role is something other than a primary or secondary scorer. Goal-scoring might not be his main asset to a team, and, well, that’s OK.

But Real NEED that 30 goal-scorer for their team success and, yes, brand of football. Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe can be that kind of player, and, for an older option, Mohamed Salah could be on the radar if he and Liverpool are open to a transfer.

Mbappe is the dream target, of course. He is young, proven, and capable of scoring goals from the right-hand side. But can Real Madrid afford him in the current economic climate? How hard have they truly been hit? Is it to the point where Mbappe is no longer feasible? And if so, is Salah a possible alternative? Would Jadon Sancho make sense if not?

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There are so many questions Los Blancos have to answer when it comes to the long-term success of their attack. Hazard’s health is one of them, but with how well Rodrygo has played and how much promise Vinicius has, I’m not as concerned about him as I am about the issue that has riddled Real for years now. Who will replace Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale’s peak scoring production on the flanks?