Former Real Madrid forward Fernando Morientes admitted it’s difficult to predict how the club will do this season, not only based off their disappointing 2018/19 campaign, but as a result of so many new faces to the side for 2019/20.
The Spanish giants finished in a distant third place in LaLiga last campaign; champions FC Barcelona had 93 points, while Los Blancos had 76. Real Madrid was bounced from the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 by Ajax and ousted in the Copa del Rey semifinals by Barcelona.
After rehiring Zinedine Zidane as manager, Real Madrid has spent $348.27 million in offseason transfers so far, highlighted by Eden Hazard’s $112 million move from Chelsea.
“Real Madrid really needed to sign big names after a disappointing year,” Morientes said. “With every new signing at Real Madrid no matter what year it is, the club always has the mentality to win.”
Madrid’s spending, which may continue up until the transfer window closes on September 2 according to Morientes, is the third-highest by any team in a given season. FC Barcelona spent a record $378 million in 2017/18, while Manchester City spent $355 million that same season.
Real Madrid also brought in Luka Jović ($67M), Éder Militão ($56M), Ferland Mendy ($54M) and Rodrygo ($51M) this transfer window. Needless to say, it will take some time for the new faces to mesh on the field.
The club had two losses—including a 7-3 drubbing by rivals Atlético Madrid—and one penalty kick victory as part of the 2019 International Champions Cup, with a tournament-worst minus-6 goal differential (12 goals allowed). Real Madrid, which finished third in the 2019 Audi Cup, concluded its preseason with a penalty shootout loss to AS Roma on August 11.
Real Madrid opens its 2019/20 LaLiga campaign against Celta Vigo on August 17 amid rumors surrounding current players Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez as well as links to Brazilian superstar Neymar.
Morientes said it’s only a matter of time before the players gel and find success.
“Soccer is global, it’s international,” he said. “Because of all the player movement between leagues recently, there’s less and less difference between leagues. When I used to play, LaLiga was much more technical while the Premier League was more physical.
“I believe nowadays everything is more similar, so for me it’s the same to be playing at Real Madrid or at Liverpool.”