How Real Madrid will line up in 2021-22

Hazard on Ancelotti’s Madrid return: We’ll do great things together

It's been a summer of change at Real Madrid, with legends Zinedine Zidane, Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane leaving the club.

Yet, Los Blancos remain favourites to win La Liga under the guidance of Carlo Ancelotti in his second stint at the Bernabeu.

The Italian had failed to win the title in his first tenure, but led Madrid to the famous 'La Decima' - their tenth Champions League triumph in 2013-14.

Though one could argue he has been dealt a bad hand this time round, given the departures of the two previous best central defenders - Ramos and Varane.

Ramos, in particular, offered immense leadership that will not be found in any other member of the current squad.

However, the signing of David Alaba could go down as the best in Europe this season.

The Austrian arrives as a world-class international, capable of playing in defence or in midfield, on a free transfer from Bayern Munich.

Elsewhere, the return of Gareth Bale will be interesting, and progression from the likes of Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior will be key to any major success.

And then you have Eden Hazard's injury status, which could be the difference between a La Liga title and third place.

Real Madrid XI for 2021-22

Real Madrid XI 2021/22

Real Madrid XI 2021/22

After a difficult start to life at the club, Thibaut Courtois has since shown why he is one of the best goalkeepers in world football, and will keep his place in the starting XI.

Dani Carvajal is the first-choice right-back, but his injury struggles mean Alvaro Odriozola or Lucas Vasquez will likely play more than Ancelotti would prefer.

New-signing Alaba should pair Eder Militao in the centre of defence, with the Brazilian showing signs of improvement towards the end of the last campaign, with Nacho also receiving plenty of game time.

At left-back, Ferland Mendy will keep 33-year-old Marcelo, who has declined significantly in recent years, on the bench.

Casemiro remains key to Los Blancos' midfield, with the experienced Luka Modric and Toni Kroos also expected to make Ancelotti's go-to line up.

That said, Fede Valverde will receive plenty of minutes in one of the three midfield roles over the course of the season.

Hazard's supreme talent keeps him in the team, for now, but he will have to show signs of returning to his best form sooner rather than later.

A surprise inclusion to many, Bale is set to start in the right-wing position, due to Italian bosses' faith in the Welshman from their last go-round in Madrid.

And up front, Karim Benzema, a player that has taken up incredible goalscoring responsibilities since the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Marco Asensio, Martin Odegaard, and Marco Asensio will be in reserve.