Ramos out, Hazard in doubt: The Real Madrid players who could leave after Zidane departure
This week Real Madrid confirmed that head coach Zinedine Zidane would be leaving the club after his second successful spell in charge.
Over two periods with Los Blancos the Frenchman as won three Champions League titles, two La Liga titles, and two Club World Cup trophies.
The 2020/21 season ended it disappointment, though, as Madrid finished second in La Liga and were eliminated from the Champions League at the semi-final stage.
It was already going to be a summer of change at the Santiago Bernabeu, but now the club must find a new manager as well as a likely influx of new stars.
As for the players currently at the club, many are facing uncertain futures. So, who could leave?
Real Madrid currently have three senior goalkeepers on their books, first-choice Thibaut Courtois and his back-up Andriy Lunin, as well as 21-year-old Diego Altube, who is yet to make his first-team debut.
With both Courtois and Lunin’s contract not expiring until 2024, and Courtois, in particular, doing a solid job between the sticks, it seems fairly likely that no movement will be occurring at the club this summer in this position.
Onto defenders and it’s a different story. Zidane counted upon both Marcelo and Sergio Ramos during the club’s three successive Champions League wins, but both are now into their early-to-mid-30s and both are out of contract this summer.
Now, negotiations with Ramos have been ongoing for almost a year, and while a deal is yet to have been agreed, it’s likely that if the club gives their club captain whatever demands he has set, the Spaniard may well stay. He wants a two-year deal to remain with Real Madrid, with the club only willing to offer a one-year deal.
At the moment, though, those negotiations are at deadlock.
Marcelo, on the other hand, seems destined to leave. The Brazilian is now 32, and has been replaced by Ferland Mendy as the first choice left-back in the squad. He has amassed just 1052 minutes in La Liga this season, in comparison to Mendy’s 2,207, and so, after 14 years at the club, it seems his time at Los Blancos is coming to an end.
The club have Jesus Vallejo returning from his loan spell at Granada this summer, but after three consecutive seasons on loan, he may well be sold.
Nacho Fernandez’s contract expires in 2022 so the club will have to decide whether to renew his deal, sell this summer or let him leave for free next year.
The same applies to both Raphael Varane and Daniel Carvajal, so the club will have to make a decision fast on what lies ahead for their futures at the Bernabeu.
Manchester United and Liverpool are reportedly interested in the former.
In terms of incomings, Jules Kounde and Pau Torres have been mentioned.
Luka Modric was another player who might have left this summer due to a contract expiry, but the former Ballon d’Or winner has been granted a one-year extension to remain in the Spanish capital despite the fact he will turn 36 this September.
Rennes star Eduardo Camavinga is a wanted man, so Madrid may have to sell Isco and Martin Odegaard, who are both evidently not in Zidane’s plans. Isco has managed just 1123 minutes in all competitions for Los Blancos this season, and Odegaard was loaned out to Arsenal in January after making just three league starts in the first-half of the season, despite his impressive form at Real Sociedad last campaign.
Isco’s deal expires in 2022 so he needs to be sold this summer or the club risk losing him for free next year.
Fede Valverde, Casemiro, and Toni Kroos will all remain next season.
Real Madrid are absolutely desperate to land either Kylian Mbappe or Erling Haaland this summer, and in order to do so they will need to offload some of their other forwards. Even if a deal for either of these stars remains unlikely, especially in Mbappe’s case now that idol Zidane has left, they will put plenty of players up for sale.
Gareth Bale will return from his loan spell at Tottenham this summer, and with the Welshman not in Zidane’s plans, he will need to be sold as his wages will eat up their budget. There have been rumours recently that Bale was actually planning on retiring, but they were quickly shot down by his agent.
Furthermore, Luka Jovic will come back from his spell back at Eintracht Frankfurt, and he may be sold to make room for one of the aforementioned superstar strikers.
Brahim Diaz, Reinier, and Takefusa Kubo are all extremely young, and the club may look to loan them out again, rather than sell them on a permanent deal.
Lucas Vazquez has filled in at right-back recently, but he is primarily a right-winger and his contract expires this summer so the club need to quickly arrange a new deal or he will leave for absolutely nothing. He missed the latter part of the season due to injury.
Mariano Diaz has played just 506 La Liga minutes this term, scoring one goal, and while he could be sold, he may well be kept as a back-up option.
Eden Hazard is now one of the most unpopular players among Real Madrid fans. Not only has he barely played due to injury, but was ineffectual in one of his return matches against Chelsea in the Champions League – subsequently spotted laughing and joking with his former Chelsea team-mates after Madrid were eliminated.
Madrid are apparently open to the idea of selling the Belgian.
As for Karim Benzema, he remains one of the best number nines in the world but hasn’t hidden his frustration this season that the club are constantly linked with new super star strikers.
Now that Zidane, his biggest fan, has left, could Benzema really follow him out the door?