Are Real Madrid poised to pull the plug on the BBC?
Since news broke that the Spanish champions are intensifying their pursuit of Monaco frontman Kylian Mbappe, speculation has been rife that Karim Benzema or Gareth Bale will be sold to make way for the teenager.
It makes a fair amount of sense. A football team can only contain so many players, and Los Blancos aren’t intending to break the world transfer record merely to leave their new recruit on the bench.
Something, you would think, will have to give.
But that’s not necessarily the case due to manager Zinedine Zidane’s fierce commitment to a rotation policy which would ensure that Mbappe receives plenty of playing time even if the current stars stay.
In the long-term, Mbappe will inherit Benzema’s position at the spearhead of the attack, but that move won’t happen immediately.
No manager would expect a teenager to play 50 games in his first season at one of the most demanding clubs in the world, and that’s especially the case with Zidane, who was even prepared to consistently chop and change his team in the latter stages of last season when the league title was in sight.
Mbappe’s impending arrival did indeed mean that Alvaro Morata had to go, but Zidane wants two strikers in his squad – indeed, he wants two players for every position – and selling Benzema would just mean they have to sign someone else, which makes little sense.
Bale’s case is a little more complex.
Even at the end of last season, the Welshman suffered a downgrade in his status due to injury problems, a change to a winger-less formation and the superb form of Isco.
But Bale – who Manchester United are reportedly back in for – remains an important member of the squad because he offers qualities which nobody else possesses, especially his ability to play on both flanks, his aerial power and his pace on the break.
If anything, Bale’s future is threatened by Isco and rising star Marco Asensio, but the arrival of Mbappe, who fills a different position, doesn’t change anything.
Financial considerations are not significant, either, because Madrid have already raised funds for Mbappe by offloading Morata, Danilo and James Rodriguez.
So a big arrival doesn’t have to mean a big departure. If Madrid sell Bale or Benzema it will be because they want to, not because they have to.
Rafael Nadal says if he had to put his money on one footballer to flourish with Real Madrid, he’d put it on French teenager Kylian Mbappe.
Nadal, who is a Real Madrid fanatic, is hoping Los Blancos sign the Monaco striker with reports in Spain suggesting a €180million bid was accepted yesterday.
The 31-year-old is predicting a bright future for the France international and speaking to his friend, retired tennis player Juan Monaco, on the Argentinean’s TV show ‘Con Amigos Asi‘, Nadal said: “For me, I would like them to sign Mbappe. He’s a very young player who has a great track record so far, and he’d be a very solid bet.
“It’s true that he’s very young, and the investment is big, but if they’d make me bet on anyone, I’d bet on him.”
Mbappe is actually a Nadal fan, and attended the French Open earlier this summer.
Nadal, who played football alongside tennis growing up before choosing the latter, says Madrid have a “great squad” at the moment.
Madrid daily Marca reported on Tuesday that Real are set to smash the world record but first need to offload Gareth Bale to Manchester United to fund the move.
Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro has lauded Zinedine Zidane’s influence at the club over the last two seasons.
Zidane has had a hugely successful start to his managerial career, with two Champions League titles and a La Liga triumph already under his belt in less than two full seasons at the helm.
The two Champions League successes created history, as Madrid became the first team to win the Champions League in consecutive seasons.
“With Zidane at the helm, we’re a step ahead of the rest,” Casemiro said.
“He played the game himself and was a star. He’s now doing a great job as coach.”