What’s Real Madrid’s Best XI Under Zidane?
Casemiro is rumored to be the odd man out in Real Madrid’s starting lineup under Zinedine Zidane, and not because of any lack of quality or form. Zidane wants to play attacking football, and there reportedly is only room for Toni Kroos and Luka Modrić because James Rodríguez needs to start as well. The French coach said that he will always use the BBC (Bale, Benzema, Cristiano), so this makes Casemiro and James vying for one spot.
To play Devil’s advocate, Casemiro is a true defensive midfielder, and Zidane knows the great benefit that Claude Makelele brought to the teams that he played on. Perhaps Zidane will want to start Casemiro because of the similar role that Casemiro plays. There is also the fact that Casemiro has been playing some of the best football for Real Madrid this season. Casemiro allows Kroos and Modrić to display more of their creativity and attacking qualities.
Everyone knows that Zidane brought Raphaël Varane to Real Madrid, and the French center back is arguably among the best two or three center backs in the world. Varane is a phenomenon that brings lightning speed, the technical skill of an elite attacking player, and outstanding defensive qualities. There’s no debate whether Pepe or Varane is better. No contest. Varane wins.
So under Zidane, Real Madrid will likely start Keylor Navas in goal with Danilo or Dani Carvajal at right back and Varane and Sergio Ramos at center back. Marcelo will play left back, but the real toss ups are in the midfield. There are too many players for the available spots. Isco and James are in direct competition with one another to play as the attacking midfielder or out wide, and both affect Casemiro.
If Real Madrid uses a three-man midfield, then starting Modrić, Casemiro, and Kroos pushes James or Isco out of the starting XI.
There is also Mateo Kovačić to consider. He brings smooth passing and creativity, and he fills the same role that James or Isco bring. Positional battles like this are normal at a club like Real Madrid, and Zidane will have his hands full.
It will be interesting to see if Zidane proves to be an elite ex-player that coaches well or that coaches poorly. The reality could also be less black and white. Maybe Zidane will improve over time as a coach.
Possible Real Madrid XI under Zidane:
Goalkeeper- Keylor Navas
Right Back- Danilo
Center Back- Raphaël Varane
Center Back- Sergio Ramos
Left Back- Marcelo
Defensive Midfielder- Toni Kroos/Casemiro
Center Midfielder- Luka Modric/Toni Kroos
Right Wing- Gareth Bale
Attacking Midfielder- James Rodríguez
Left Wing- Cristiano Ronaldo
Striker- Karim Benzema