Play Fantasy Football manager with Real’s Pellegrini
Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema, Xabi Alonso, Raul Albiol, Alvaro Arbeloa, Esteban Granero and Ezequiel Garay have all been added to a squad that finished second in the league under Juande Ramos last year.
Pellegrini has made the most of pre-season friendlies to experiment with players and lineups, and they have lost only once in their eight warm up games, against Juventus in the Peace Cup. They have netted 22 goals, and conceded just six.
But with only a week to go until Deportivo Coruna visit the Bernabeu for their opening game of the new Primera Liga campaign, the Chilean has yet to make it clear what his best starting 11 will be, and what formation he will play.
There is no debate over the position of goalkeeper, so Iker Casillas is easy to put first on the team sheet.
In defence he can pick from Garay, Arbeloa, Albiol, Pepe, Christoph Metzelder, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo and Miguel Torres. Royston Drenthe has performed well at fullback in the last couple of matches.
Ronaldo, Kaka and Xabi Alonso will be guaranteed a place in midfield which leaves perhaps Lassana Diarra as the fourth component of a traditional 4-4-2. Arjen Robben and Granero have impressed in pre-season games while Fernando Gago, Guti, Wesley Sneijder, Rafael van der Vaart and Mahamadou Diarra wait in the wings.
And who to play in attack? Raul has topscored with four in the pre-season friendlies, so the evergreen captain and Benzema? Last season’s top scorer Gonzalo Higuain and the returning Ruud van Nistelrooy complete the choices up front.
Assuming everyone was available, the following 4-2-3-1 formation would be a tasty lineup in front of Casillas. Ramos, Pepe, Albiol and Drenthe at the back, Alonso and Lass Diarra holding the centre midfield, leaving Ronaldo, Kaka, and Robben to support Benzema up front.
Is Pellegrini tough enough to put Raul on the bench or does the fans’ favourite have to start? If you were in the hot seat, who would you play?