Real Madrid in Hunt to Reclaim La Liga Title

Aug 02, 2016 by Alex Baker

Of all the big clubs out there snapping up players, Real Madrid have been suspiciously quiet on the transfer market this summer. The reigning European champions have endured mixed results on a preseason tour of the United States, losing their International Champions Cup opener 1-3 to PSG and bouncing back with a 3-2 win over Chelsea.

Having guided Real to what seemed like an unlikely Champions League victory after taking over for Rafa Benitez midway through the season, Zinedine Zidane is currently in preparation for what will be his first season in charge of the club. While the club has been quiet on the market thus far, there are rumors in Spain that Zidane would like to sign a holding midfielder before the start of the season.

The club have been linked with a number of names including PSG’s Marco Verratti, Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic and Newcastle’s Moussa Sissoko.

Verratti has gone on record with his desire to remain in Paris for the time being. Matic meanwhile, may find his position at Chelsea under threat following the arrival of N’Golo Kante, while Sissoko is unlikely to remain at relegated Newcastle following his sensational showing at Euro 2016 last month.

Apart from a midfielder, there is little indication Real will be too active this summer. Star attackers Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale both had sensational campaigns at the Euros. Both are still on holiday following their excursions at the Euros – along with Toni Kroos, and Pepe, who also both had exhausting campaigns in France.

Karim Benzema, the third member of Real’s attacking ‘BBC’ trident, missed the Euros and has been traveling with the team in the United States. The French striker however, has yet to make an appearance as he looks to recover from a hip problem.

For a club like Real Madrid, the European Cup is an obsession. However, having won two out of the last three Champions Leagues, Zidane might place a greater emphasis on winning the Madrid outfit’s first La Liga title in nearly five years.

That title, won under Jose Mourinho in 2012, remains Real’s single La Liga triumph in this decade, which domestically has been dominated by Barcelona. With even city-rivals Atletico Madrid having won the title since then, Zidane will be eager to bring the La Liga crown back to the Bernabeu this season. However, based on his dealings, or rather lack thereof, in the transfer market, it seems the Frenchman feels his current squad is generally up to the task.

Real Madrid have one final outing in the ICC – a clash with German champions Bayern Munich on Wednesday – before they return home and prep for their UEFA Super Cup clash with Sevilla on August 9.

Zidane will be without several first team regulars for the Super Cup. He may also find himself without Ronaldo in the early part of the season as the Portugal attacker looks to recover from a knee injury sustained in the Euro 2016 final against France.

Watch Real Madrid’s final game in the International Champions Cup as they take on Bayern Munich this Wednesday, August 3 at 7:30pm ET on ESPN2.

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