Pepe knows how to lead by example, with the Portuguese a key component of Real Madrid’s back four over the years. Therefore, it seems fitting that the centre-back will be leading the way, this summer, for Zinedine Zidane’s squad overhaul.
Despite guiding Real to their third Champions League trophy in four years – and Zidane’s second in 18 months of management – the French icon isn’t resting on his laurels, with no fewer than six more set to follow Pepe out the door.
“What he has done for Real Madrid is spectacular, but there are things I still do not understand.”
Pepe on Zidane
James Rodriguez has been – somewhat tediously – linked with Manchester United (but we all know that’s nothing more than a Sky Bet con), whilst Alvaro Morata’s umbilical cord looks to finally cut from the Bernabeu, with the Spaniard, somewhat surprisingly, unable to usurp Karim Benzema (not in Zizou’s eyes, anyway).
One of Keylor Navas or Kiko Casilla are likely to leave, too, as ‘Operation: David de Gea’ goes into overdrive for the third season running – surely they’ll finally get their man? – even if Navas kept Juventus from running riot in the opening 20 minutes in Cardiff.
Despite being highly-rated by the Real Madrid manager, Danilo, is set to push for a move away, having been unable make himself a mainstay in the starting XI, two years after joining from Porto.
Young striker Mariano is also wanting a taste of regular first-team football, however, this looks to be only a loan.
Zidane’s approach to this current Real Madrid squad and transfer window is refreshing, and very much what the Spanish giants have needed for years; calm, methodical and putting the football ahead of shirt sales.
Zidane has, somehow, united a squad – a club – that hasn’t had harmony for nearly two decades; a feat many deemed impossible, with the plethora of talented, yet egotistical, superstars. And for that reason, Florentino Pérez, for once in his Real Madrid presidential tenure, should trust the man in the dugout and let Zidane work.