Real Madrid get their 2020/21 season underway this weekend, but are they really the real deal, and can they win back-to-back La Liga titles?
Even though I tipped tipped Real Madrid to win the 2020/21 La Liga title just last week, I still feel they are far from dead certs.
Can Real Madrid win back-to-back La Liga titles?
The bookmakers certainly think so. In the latest football betting, they have Madrid as odds on favourites, at 5/6.
The current shenanigans at the Camp Nou, certainly place Los Blancos in a better position than their Catalan rivals - at the moment. But is that going to be the case all season?
Barcelona may well continue to self destruct, but equally, they may well get their act together. And after all, it wasn't all that long ago that Barca were flying high in La Liga.
It wouldn't take much for the power to shift again.
There's still plenty wrong at Real Madrid
Real Madrid get their La Liga campaign under way this weekend. They travel to Real Sociedad on Sunday night.
I imagine it will be a routine 3 points for Zidane's men. But what about further down the line?
Yes, the Gareth Bale soap opera may be about to finally end. But there are still other issues that need addressing in the Spanish capital.
And if these issues don't get ironed out early on, things may come unstuck later in the campaign.
What is Madrid’s identity under Zinedine Zidane?
We’re used to seeing Real Madrid play flamboyant expansive football. But this style of play was nowhere is sight in the run in to their 2019/20 La Liga title.
Madrid ground out a series of 1-0 wins, playing dull defensive football. Is that how Zidane plans to play this coming season?
If he does, what will the fans and Madrid media think about that?
Zidane may well get away with that dull style - again - if Madrid are winning, but it won’t be tolerated for too long if results don't go the right way.
The Madrid press and public expect a certain style of exciting football from their team. They like to be entertained.
When the 2019 season resumed back in June, it was almost like a novelty. The Madrid fans were just happy to see the team back out on the pitch.
They were also prepared to do whatever it took to overhaul Barcelona, so they accepted the style of play in a horses-for-courses way.
Would they accept a whole season of that style of play? I'm not so sure they will.
An Ageing Squad
Despite getting rid of 31 year old Gareth Bale, the Real Madrid squad is still knocking on a bit.
It could be that Zidane can get one more season out of his well experienced and battle hardened players.
But on the flip side, it could be a season too far for the likes of 34 year old Sergio Ramos, 30 year old Tony Kroos, 32 year old Marcelo, 32 year old Karim Benzema and 35 year old Luka Modric.
And you never know, whisper it........ they might just miss Gareth Bale!
Can Eden Hazard finally find his form?
Another problem for Madrid last season was the form of Eden Hazard.
The Belgian star has now had 12 months to get to grips with Spain though. So might the real Eden Hazard turn up this season?
If he does, that will be a real positive for Zidane and Real.
An on-form and flying Eden Hazard also kills two birds with one stone.
Not only is he one of the best players in Europe when on song. He would also give Zidane's side that much needed flair and style that would keep the Madrid fans happy, and maybe allow Zidane to get away with his more conservative style of football.
A style of play, which after all was a winning formula last season - and could possibly see Real Madrid win back-to-back titles!