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‘They’re in a predicament with these old players’ – McManaman believes ‘struggling’ Real Madrid need major changes

Former winger believes the club need to bring in new stars to replace Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric

Steve McManaman says he would not back Real Madrid to win the Champions League, and feels an overhaul of the squad is needed if they are to compete with the top English sides and Bayern Munich.

Real lifted the Liga title last term, which went some way to offsetting the disappointment of a last-16 exit in the Champions League for a second season in a row.

In the current campaign, Real are fourth in La Liga and look set to advance to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

However, they have won just one of their last four games in all competitions – and suffered a shock home loss to Alaves in La Liga at the weekend.

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McManaman feels it is fortunate for the players that there are no fans allowed in grounds at the moment, as he is convinced they would be expressing their disgust with Real’s current form.

“They are struggling,” he said. “They’ve struggled in the Champions League and La Liga. The performance against Shakhtar [Donetsk, in the Champions League] was appalling. 

“They lost to Alaves at home and it is good the fans aren’t there. If they were there then they would be getting all kinds of abuse and the white handkerchiefs would be out.”

Former Real man McManaman feels the club need to invest in a squad overhaul, but is concerned that the money may not be in place to make the kind of changes manager Zinedine Zidane requires.

“The pandemic affected them badly like all Spanish teams without the same broadcast deal we have in England so the finances are not as good as they would like to be to bring players in,” McManaman said. “They have an ageing squad, [Eden] Hazard can’t get fit and when he does he gets injured. They are in a predicament with these old players and they are struggling. 

“I wouldn’t back Real Madrid to win it (Champions League) when I look at them. Anything can happen in January but in their current form, against Gladbach and Shakhtar, they are nowhere near the English teams and Bayern Munich. 

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“If they want to be successful, where they once were, they need to do something in the transfer market. [Luka] Modric is 35, Sergio Ramos is 34 nearly 35, [Karim] Benzema and Toni Kroos are getting to the age where they will not improve and if anything will get worse. 

“They are all incredible footballers who made history at Real Madrid but your body tells you when you can’t get to the same heights. If they want to get to the same heights they were at they need new players. 

“Rodrigo, Vinicius and Reiner, who is on loan in Germany, are too young to drive them forward. They need experience to do it. It is difficult because the English teams have got better and strengthened while Bayern Munich have Leroy Sane and Douglas Costa and are moving forward. 

“The Spanish teams haven’t been able to do the same.”

BT Sport Monthly Pass lets customers watch all UEFA Champions League fixtures for the next 30 days for a simple fee of £25 with no contract. For more info visit

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