The good news? For now, Toni Kroos is the first arrival, but Real Madrid have more planned. The bad news? Angel di Maria is on the verge of leaving. Cristiano Ronaldo wants titles. Championships, repeating as Champions League winners. James Rodriguez, should Di Maria actually leave, will probably become a top priority.
Things are different with Carlo Ancelotti on the team, even though he isn’t the one making the decisions about transfers. There’s a sense of calm over the team unlike any other year, especially not when Jose Mourinho was in charge. It’s not just the Champions League trophy. Last year’s failure in the league, and every season with the La Liga title, not to mention losing twice to Barcelona, is some kind of failure.
So far they’ve seen Barcelona doing their thing. Signing players for an extraordinary amount of money, as Ivan Rakitic and Luis Suarez top the list, but also Claudio Bravo and Ter Stegen. Barcelona have made quite a lot from selling Alexis Sahcnez and Cesc Fabregas, and still it feels a little bit out of character. Maybe there’s some panic after the first year without a single title in a very long time. No one is counting the Supercoppa.
It’s still a bit soon to say how much Real Madrid will have changed by the time next season kicks off. Maybe Xabi Alonso will be demoted after his awful World Cup, but one summer doesn’t mean the end of his club form and career. Asier Illarramendi has plenty of time before he can completely take over for those duties. Sami Khedira has been linked to the Premier League, but right now isn’t going anywhere.
Ronaldo has some rebounding to do as well. It was a very rough World Cup for him. He didn’t just look like he’s aging in the Brazilian heat. He actually played badly, along with his team, knocked out of the tournament without leaving a single positive impression. He did claim a winner’s medal in the Champions League final last season, but he was awful in that match. His mocked celebration with an inconsequential goal didn’t make it any better.
As long as Barcelona don’t bring in new defenders and Atletico Madrid have been stripped bare by Chelsea, Real Madrid should be seen as the favorites in the La Liga, maybe even in Europe. Great clubs aim for legendary things. Teams don’t come any bigger than Real Madrid, and it fits to have them be the first to repeat as Champions League winners.