Following the news that Real Madrid will be banned from signing players in the next two transfer windows, we examine five possible consequences of the Spanish giants breaching FIFA regulations.
Ronaldo’s Real dream to continue
It would not be a transfer window without talking about a possible switch for Madrid’s leading goalscorer, Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 31-year-old scored 51 times in all competitions last season, and finished with the European Championship trophy in his hands.
Ronaldo, who for the sixth consecutive campaign scored more than 50 goals, is sure to be offered a new contract with his current deal set to expire in June 2018.
Madrid are still permitted to sell players, but their transfer ban means they cannot add to their squad and club president Florentino Perez is unlikely to sell his prize asset before they can spend the money to replace him.
Will the lack of off-season activity come back to haunt them?
In an unusually quiet window for Madrid, head coach Zinedine Zidane only made one major signing in bringing back Alvaro Morata from Juventus.
More often than not, Madrid are sniffing around in the transfer market but they may struggle to keep up with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, both of whom made significant moves during the recent window.
Although city rivals Atletico have been slapped with the same transfer ban, Diego Simeone was quick to get to work during the off-season and with the quality incomings of Kevin Gameiro and Nicolas Gaitan, the charismatic head coach is certainly pushing for further success, especially after more heartache in the Champions League final to Real.
Meanwhile despite arguably having the best strike force in the world, Barcelona still added Paco Alcacer, while the likes of Samuel Umtiti and Lucas Digne arrived to bolster their defensive options as Luis Enrique ensures he has sufficient back-up ahead of the long season.
Good news for Navas
If it wasn’t for the ‘late paperwork’ on deadline day a year ago, Madrid would be lining up with David de Gea as their number one.
However, they’ve been left with Keylor Navas, who was said to be “devastated” about his failed move to Manchester United.
Despite the hiccup from someone behind the scenes, Navas remained in Madrid and clocked up 45 appearances last season as well as collecting a Champions League winners medal.
It was just the season that Navas needed, while De Gea reminded everyone of his consistent quality in an ailing United side. The news of the ban will no doubt bring a sigh of relief from United and Navas, who both know that Madrid will not be negotiating any sort of deal for the Spain number one before January 2018.
It is the perfect opportunity to allow Navas to cement another season in goal for Madrid as well as gaining the trust of his manager and his defence.
Time for James and Isco to come to the party
The likes of James Rodriguez and Isco will also be relieved that they should get another chance to impress Zidane.
The embargo means it is highly unlikely the pair will be departing the capital anytime soon, after a number of European giants were reportedly keeping tabs on the two.
James, who was brought in after shining at the 2014 World Cup for Colombia, has struggled to live up to his price tag and suffered from a lack of opportunities under previous managers Rafael Benitez and Carlo Ancelotti.
Isco was brought in from Malaga in 2013 but like James has failed to hold down a regular first-team slot. With a move away now seeming a distant prospect, can these two talented schemers establish themselves as first-choice regulars?
Can Zidane maintain the late-season momentum?
Zidane is embarking on his first full season in charge and has a contract until the end of 2017-18.
Having taken over from Benitez in January this year, Zidane galvanised the same players the Spaniard had struggled to motivate, guiding the club to an 11th European Cup triumph and pushing Barca all the way in the title race.
Despite a quiet window in the off-season Madrid boast a squad to the envy of many but as with any group, injuries could leave Zidane’s resources looking thin.
Patience is in short supply at the Santiago Bernabeu – Benitez can attest to that – and a dip in results could see Zidane’s days numbered well before his contract expires.
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