One of the surprise stories of this season has been the demise of Real Madrid. Los Blancos may have lost Cristiano Ronaldo last summer, but no one would have predicted for the three-time defending Champions League winners and reigning La Liga champions to be dumped out of all their domestic and European competitions by early March.
Real Madrid are on their third manager of the season after falling to third place in the league and 12 points off front runners Barcelona and being knocked out of the Champions League by Ajax in the round of 16. Now it’s your turn however, with this Madrid side in transition a fantastic choice to take charge of in Football Manager 2019.
RealSport gives you the blueprint to success at the Santiago Bernabeu.
You just have one philosophy to follow as Real Madrid boss: play attacking football. This shouldn’t be too difficult to follow with so much quality in midfield and attack at the club.
Expectations are unsurprisingly high at Real, with the Spanish First Division title demanded by the board. A trip to the semi-finals of the European Champions Cup is also expected, as well as an appearance in the final of the Spanish Cup. Targeting a European final will give you an extra £2.9 million to your transfer budget, whilst going for the win in the cup grants £1.1 million.
With an attacking philosophy to follow, there are various options you can go for your tactical style. With your personnel and two high class central midfielders, control possession looks to be your best bet, but you could switch this for a fluid counter attack against top level opposition.
Real Madrid are very fluid in the formation, often going for a 4-3-3 or even a version of a 4-4-2. A 4-2-3-1 should give you a nice balance between the two, with the only area of concern the amount of protection in midfield. You can also opt for a 4-4-2 diamond narrow or a conventional 4-3-3.
Thibaut Courtois just pips Keylor Navas in goal, with the back four made up by Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo.
Toni Kroos and Luka Modric are in central midfield, whilst Isco operates as the number 10. Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio take up their spots on the flanks with Karim Benzema up front on his own.
On the bench go for Keylor Navas, Nacho, Alvaro Odriozola, Casemiro, Dani Ceballos, Lucas Vazquez and Mariano. Against better opposition bring Casemiro into defensive midfield and go for a conventional 4-3-3.
Cristiano Ronaldo may have moved on, but there is still some sensational quality at Real Madrid. The concern you have is the amount of 30-somethings in your starting lineup, with four of your first teamers beyond 30. In a season’s time, the side will look very different.
Gareth Bale – CA 4.5 star (182), PA 4.5 star (186)
Gareth Bale himself is now 29, and despite winning four Champions League titles, he still has his critics at the Santiago Bernabeu. The Welsh international has been expected to fulfil the void left by Ronaldo, and with a long injury history, Bale struggles for consistency.
On FM, the winger has a 182 current ability score which can still improve to a 186 potential. Stats of 18 off the ball, 18 pace and 18 stamina see him valued at £81 million with a wage of £475,000 a week.
Luka Modric – CA 4 star (176), PA 4 star (180)
Luka Modric is the current holder of the Ballon d’Or after winning the Champions League and hauling Croatia to the World Cup final last season. Aged 32, his ability has dropped this term, and the difficulty you will find his balancing him and fellow deep lying playmaker Toni Kroos in the Real midfield.
Modric’s 19 first touch, 19 passing and 18 composure lift his CA to 176, which has only dropped by four from his 180 potential. A value of £59 million is supported by a wage of £325,000 a week.
Sergio Ramos – CA 4 star (174), PA 4 star (174)
Many regard Sergio Ramos as the best centre half in the world, but even the Spain captain is prone to a moment of madness. At 32, you should be able to get two seasons out of the defensive rock, but you will want to a younger defender to step in soon.
A 174 CA for Ramos is at its peak, with the skipper possessing stats of 20 heading, 20 determination and 19 leadership. He is valued at £58 million with a wage of £350,000 a week.
Real Madrid may be famous buying talent other than nurturing their own, but you still have names such as Raul, Iker Casillas and Guti who have come through the club’s academy. In this squad of transition, you will be relieved to see some high class youngsters on the books.
Vinicius Junior – CA 2.5 star (136), PA 4-5 star (160-190)
Vinicius Junior joined in the summer, with the left winger a long-term replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo. The 18-year-old started the season with the Real B side but was drafted into the first team by the end of September. A few months later and he has 12 assists for Los Blancos. On FM his 136 CA can rise to a PA between 160 and 190, so you should bring him into the first team fold straight away.
Brahim Diaz – CA 2 star (122), PA 2-3 star (140-170)
Brahim Diaz joined in January after failing to breakthrough in a stacked Manchester City squad. The 18-year-old has made three appearances since his switch, but is yet to start for Madrid, so you should consider sending him out on loan. Diaz’s 122 CA can rise to a potential between 140 and 170 which sees him valued at £1.5 million with a hefty salary of £110,000 a week.
Martin Calderon – CA 1.5 stars (90), PA 2.5-3.5 star (140-170)
You may not be familiar with Martin Calderon, who has progressed from the academy to the B team. The 19-year-old is a Spanish U19 international and with his 90 CA able to rise between 140 and 170, he will feature in the first team in the years to come.
|Midfield depth||Goalkeeper depth|
|Long shots||Defence depth|
|Star defenders (Marcelo, Sergio Ramos)|
Team Leaders – Sergio Ramos (C), Marcelo (VC), Luka Modric
Highly influential – Toni Kroos, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Keylor Navas, Nacho, Isco, Dani Carvajal, Lucas Vazquez, Raphael Varane, Casemiro, Marcos Llorente
The Transfer Market
Starting transfer budget: £54 million
Remaining wage budget: £10,000 a week
Players to sell
You don’t have a lot of options to sell at Real Madrid, with the squad well balanced. With a tiny wage budget, you will need to sell to buy however, with even adjusting the transfer and wage budgets not doing enough to bring in top class talent.
With two fantastic goalkeepers at the club, you can afford to sell one, and Keylor Navas should be the man to move on. The Costa Rica man can collect you around £35 million and free up £150,000 a week in your wage budget.
Other than that, it’s just youngster Ayoub Abou who can go, with the 20-year-old only worth £200,000 and with wages of £2,000 a week.
New transfer budget: £89 million
New remaining wage budget: £162,000 a week
With a goalkeeper leaving, you can bring in a much cheaper back-up. You have two options, to go for a young understudy who can become our number one in the future, or go for an experienced stopper who can be brought in if there’s an injury to Thibaut Courtois.
Despite promising ‘keeper Andriy Lunin being out on loan, we’ve gone for Fiorentina 19-year-old Alban Lafont who can be snapped up for £18 million. The Frenchman has only just signed for the Italian club, but with stats of 17 jumping reach, 16 reflexes and 15 determination leading to a 135 CA and 170 potential, you can’t miss out on him. Lafont’s current wages are just £19,000 a week.
|Claudio Bravo||35||Man City||Chile||145/ 167||£8m||£115k|
|Willy Caballero||36||Chelsea||Argentina||140/ 151||£2m||£30k|
|Agustin Marchesin||30||America||Argentina||148/ 152||£5m||£20k|
|Franco Armani||31||River||Argentina||146/ 152||£2m||£7k|
|Ralf Fahrmann||29||Schalke||Germany||145/ 148||£8m||£52k|
You do have the budget for another signing, but it’s tricky to identify who to bring in. Marco Asensio is the weakest man in the starting lineup, but he has an incredibly bright future and you don’t have enough cash to bring in a replacement for Ronaldo. With some ageing members of the squad, it would be wise to hold on to the rest of the cash to spend in January or next summer.
No Real Madrid players have deals expiring this season, but bear in mind Luka Modric, Sergio Ramos, Keylor Navas and Sergio Reguilon’s contracts are up at the end of next year. There are 14 members of the B squad who’s deals will be up at the end of this term.
As things stand, Real Madrid’s finances are in a strong position. That may not continue however, with the club’s £158 million profit set to turn to loss at the start of 2021. Other than that, balance is on the rise, as is turnover and your transfer budget. Perhaps you just need another Galactico to pick the shirt sales back up.
More than a one-man team?
It is a bizarre situation at Real Madrid, with the club seemingly entering crisis with the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo and manager Zinedine Zidane. Looking at the squad, you can see why it has happened, but even still, there is enough quality here to go all the way in La Liga. Another Champions League title does appear a stretch, but as much as there is quality at the moment, it is a long-term project at Real
Your starting lineup is likely to be weaker next season, but you should be back at the top of Europe in 2020. Look to bring in two world superstars in the next two seasons, and you can rule Spain and the continent once again.
Full Real Madrid player ratings
|Player||Age||Pos||Role||Duty||Role Ability||CA/ PA|
|Thibaut Courtois||26||GK||GK SK||Defend||3.5 stars||165/ 183|
|Dani Carvajal||26||DR WBR||WB||Support Auto Defend||3 stars||159/ 162|
|Raphael Varane||25||DC||BPD NCB CD||Defend Cover||3 stars||159/ 172|
|Sergio Ramos||32||DC||BPD||Defend Stopper||4 stars||174/ 174|
|Marcelo||30||DL WBL||CWB WB FB||Support Attack||3.5 stars||162/ 166|
|Toni Kroos||28||MC||DLP AP||Support||4 stars||168/ 176|
|Luka Modric||32||MC||DLP AP||Support Defend||4 stars||176/ 180|
|Gareth Bale||29||AMR AML||IF Winger||Attack Support||4.5 stars||182/ 186|
|Isco||26||AMC MC||AM AP||Support Attack||4 stars||169/ 180|
|Marco Asensio||22||AMC AML||AM||Support Attack||3 stats||155/ 185|
|Karim Benzema||30||ST||DLF||Support Attack||3.5 stars||168/ 178|
|Keylor Navas||31||GK||SK||Defend||3.5 stars||165/ 167|
|Nacho||28||DL DC||FB IWB WB||Any||3 stars||155/ 168|
|Alvaro Odriozola||22||DR||WB CWB FB||Any||3 stars||152/ 163|
|Casemiro||26||DM MC||DM BWM SV HB DLP BBM||Support Defend||3 stars||160/ 167|
|Dani Ceballos||21||MC AMC||Mezzala DLP AP||Any||2.5 stars||145/ 168|
|Lucas Vazquez||27||MR AMR||Winger||Support Attack||2.5 stars||146/ 156|
|Mariano||25||ST||PF TM Poacher||Attack||2.5 stars||147/ 154|
|Marcos Llorente||23||DM MC||DLP DM CM||Defend Support Auto||2.5 stars||141/ 155|
|Vinicius Junior||18||AML||IF Winger||Support Attack||2.5 stars||136/ <160|
|Jesus Vallejo||21||DC||BPD Libero||Any||2 stars||131/ 160|
|Federico Valverde||20||DM MC||DLP||Support Defend||2 stars||130/ 155|
|Sergio Reguilon||21||DL||WB FB CWB||Any||2 stars||122/ 150|
|Brahim Diaz||18||AMC||SS Trequartista AM||Attack Support||2 stars||122/ <140|
|Ayoub Abou||20||AMC||AM Trequartista AP||Support Attack||1.5 stars||104/ <110|