Thibaut Courtois not guaranteed to be first choice, warns Julen Lopetegui

Lynette Rowe
August 18, 2018

Given Real Madrid's dominance in recent years and with Julien Lopetegui replacing Zinedine Zidane in the summer, pressure is already mounting on the new manager after the loss to their bitter rivals.

Barcelona have brought in midfielders Arturo Vidal and Arthur, defender Clement Lenglet, and winger Malcom, and will look to give more of a leading role to Philippe Coutinho as the playmaker for Messi and Luis Suarez.

"It's true they have won a lot but we have to focus on the season without thinking about what has happened in the last few years", added Lopetegui.

With the Frenchman in charge, "Los Blancos" never conceded more than three goals in a single match. "We can't look to the past, rather we have to look forward and work hard towards it".

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The club are clearly looking at signing for the future by bringing in Brazilian teenagers Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo, as well as 20-year-old Álvaro Odriozola from Real Sociedad. Gareth Bale will be expected to become more of a star man in Ronaldo's absence.

Madrid's new manager Julen Lopetegui may have dared to dream that he was about to lift his first trophy for the club, and lay to rest a freaky summer that saw him sacked as Spain manager just 2 days before the start of the World Cup - for taking the Real Madrid job, but failing to inform the Spanish FA.

Recently, Chelsea sold Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid, and it is not yet sure if the Blues would want to lose another player this month.

With Real entering an uncertain period, could Atletico seize the moment and become Barcelona's most risky challengers? Lopetegui will need to quickly show he can live up to the standards set by Zidane in the Champions League while also making Real contenders in La Liga - they have won the title just twice in the last decade.

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