Following Real Madrid‘s disappointing 2020/21 season, in which the club did not lift a trophy for the first time since 2009/10, it became clear that significant change was required.
As Carlo Ancelotti replaced Zinedine Zidane in the dugout, the Italian coach was given, amongst others, one specific key task: to utilise the squad’s talented young players.
Last season, Zidane relied heavily on a specific group of experienced players that he felt he could trust, instead of sharing out minutes amongst the rest of the squad.
As a result, the campaign was plagued by injuries to key players and, when the key players did play, they were often exhausted.
Ancelotti has returned to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu with the firm commitment of giving the likes of Fede Valverde, Vinicius Junior, Eder Militao and Martin Odegaard a key role in the side.
Militao is the clearest example of a talented young player who needed the chance to show his capabilities to shine at Real Madrid.
Before April 3 last campaign, the Brazilian had not played three consecutive games at Real Madrid and watched most of the season unfold from the bench.
With Sergio Ramos injured and Raphael Varane out after testing positive for COVID-19, the 23-year-old was presented with an opportunity he did not pass up, as he enjoyed a stunning end to the season.
In fact, Militao has gone from being on the transfer list to the obvious replacement should Ramos and Varane leave this summer.
The Odegaard conflict
Odegaard is another case of a young star needing the trust of his coach to get the best out of him at Real Madrid.
After being promised a pivotal role at the club by Zidane at the start of last season, he slowly disappeared out of the starting XI before asking to go out on loan in January.
Meanwhile, Los Blancos ended the season with three exhausted central midfielders: Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro.
After the mistakes of last season, Real Madrid will look to turn it around in the coming campaign under Ancelotti.