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FIFA 17: Real Madrid Career Mode guide

After a second Champions League title in three years, Real Madrid are back. Here's our Career Mode guide on the Spanish giants.
Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo. Two players that any football manager would give anything to have in their side. Fortunately for Zinedine Zidane, he has both of them at his disposal at Real Madrid, and you can too, should you pick the Champions League holders on FIFA 17 Career Mode. With no real weak-link in the starting line-up, Los Blancos have one of the best sides in the world, and with them you have the chance to lift three chances in your first season in charge. They may have won two Champions League titles in the past three seasons, but no La Liga triumphs in over four years needs to change.
 
How you should line up
It’s a side that picks itself, with your only decision being how attacking you want to be. Keylor Navas is in goal behind the defence of Dani Carvajal, Pepe, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo. If you are feeling attacking, you can line-up with your strongest midfield of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez. Casemiro is Zinedine Zidane’s more defensive choice, and against the big sides it may be worth putting him in for Rodriguez. Up front, you can’t look further from Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and of course Cristiano Ronaldo. On the bench, you should have Kiko Casilla, Raphael Varane, Danilo, Casemiro, Isco, Lucas Vazquez and Alvaro Morata.
 
The Transfer Market
Starting transfer budget: £85 million

Starting wage budget: £538,000

Who should go
It’s a fantastic squad at your disposal, and it’s more identifying the players you don’t need than the ones who aren’t good enough. Holding midfielder Lucas Silva was brought in last year Cheap FIFA 17 Coins looked set to be the next wonderkid to come out of Brazil. But the 23-year-old has been limited to just nine appearances since the move, and was loaned out to Marseille last season. He is yet to get on the pitch this season, and a January exit looks to be on the cards. With a starting overall of 74 and a potential of 76, it’s time to bite the bullet on him and let him leave the club. You should be able to get £7 million for him.

Fabio Coentrao competed with Marcelo for the left back spot for a couple of seasons, but since 2013, he has been second fiddle to the Brazilian. The Portuguese was loaned out to Monaco last season, and it was a real surprise that he didn’t leave in the summer. With Danilo and Nacho Fernandez also able to play on the left side of defence, there is no need for the 28-year-old, who has maxed out his potential at 79. His selling price should be around £3 million.

As for the lesser names, Philipp Lienhart, Alvara Tejero and Nikos Vergos all have potentials of 77 or lower, and don’t look set to make the grade at the Santiago Bernabeu. You’ll be looking to receive the best part of £2 million for all three of them.

 
What the team needs
With those sales, you will receive just short of £12 million, taking the Real Madrid transfer budget to beyond £95 million. A faultless performance in a pre-season tournament will take you comfortably beyond the £100 million mark. Giving you the opportunity to sign one top player.

Karim Benzema is by no means a bad striker, as his rating of 87 shows. But in comparison to the rest of the Real Madrid side, he could do with replacing. He is currently out of the Real Madrid side with Zidane opting to play Cristiano Ronaldo as a striker, and has also faced competition from Alvaro Morata. So if you want to add to the fire power of Ronaldo and Gareth Bale up front, you will be looking for a striker or a winger. The most suitable fit would be Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski who is rated 90. The Polish striker has 91-rated finishing, 89 positioning and 88 reactions, but could cost up to £80 million and his wages will set you back £151,000.

Alternatives:

-       Sergio Aguero – Manchester City, Age 29, OVR 89, POT 89, Cost: £70 million, Wage: £151,000

-       Eden Hazard – Chelsea, Age 25, OVR 88, POT 90, Cost: £70 million, Wage: £108,000

-       Marco Reus – Borussia Dortmund, Age 27, OVR 88, POT 88, Cost: £65 million, Wage: £122,000

-       Thomas Muller – Bayern Munich, Age 26, OVR 87, POT 88, Cost: £70 million, Wage: £122,000

Looking at Los Blancos' starting line-up, Dani Carvajal is the weakest man in the line-up, but with a starting rating of 83 and a potential of 86, there are only three players with higher potentials (Phillip Lahm, Serge Aurier and Hector Bellerin) so there isn’t much point in replacing him. The next weakest player is goalkeeper Keylor Navas, and with a maxed-out rating of 85, there are some better options. It comes to a showdown of three keepers, Manuel Neuer, David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois. Neuer is the highest rated with 92, Courtois has the highest potential with 93, and De Gea is in the middle with a rating of 90 but potential of 92. All three are going to cost you around the £70 million mark, with the Premier League pair De Gea and Courtois’ wages costing £122,000, whereas Neuer will cost you £173,000 per week.

Alternatives:

-       Hugo Lloris – Tottenham Hotspur, Age 29, OVR 88, POT 88, Cost: £50 million, Wage: £101,000

-       Petr Cech – Arsenal, Age 35, OVR 88, POT 88, Cost: £38 million, Wage: £72,000

-       Samir Handanovic – Inter Milan, Age 31, OVR 87, POT 87, Cost: £45 million, Wage: £86,000

-       Bernd Leno – Bayer Leverkusen, Age 24, OVR 86, POT 89, Cost: £45 million, Wage: £86,000
 
Loans
With such a high standard at Real Madrid, only a handful of players still have some growing to do before they can get regular game time in the Spanish capital. Mariano, Martin Odegaard, Sergio Diaz, Aleix Febas, Enzo Fernandez and Acharaf all have potentials of 79 or higher, so would benefit enormously from a season away on loan. If you do choose to keep hold of one or two of them for the year, make sure they receive plenty of training so that their overall rating improves faster.

Contracts
There are only two players whose contracts are running out and they are centre back Pepe and left midfielder Enzo Fernandez. With a rating of 88, you will want to keep hold of the Portuguese Pepe, but at the age of 33 and with Raphael Varane hot FIFA 17 Coins on his heels, you will only need to keep him for another season or two. As for Fernandez, his potential of 80 should intice you enough to keep him around, and could be a valuable squad player in a couple of seasons time.

Fabio Coentrao and Nikos Vergos also have contracts expiring but with both players not in your plans, you may as well sell them rather than take up space and wages in your squad. Ruben Yanez is in a similar bracket, and the third-choice goalkeeper has no need to stay at the club beyond the first season.

 
Managerial Objectives
With no La Liga title for four years, that is Real Madrid’s top priority. You will be expected to deliver the domestic title, as well as the Copa del Rey, and bring back the ‘Champions Cup’ trophy within a couple of seasons.

On pitch matters aside, you will also be asked to improve the brand exposure of the club, which can be achieved by selling a certain number of shirts. Bringing in big names, as well as delivering some trophies for the fans, will go a long way into accomplishing this. Youth development isn’t paramount at Real, but you may be required to bring on players through the youth academy or sign some young players to maintain the long-term development of the club. Being one of the richest clubs in the world, there are no financial restrictions from the board, so you will be entitled to spend freely.

 
Zidane has laid the platform, now return to the top
It seemed written in the stars that former star Zinedine Zidane should return to manage the club and lead them to Champions League glory, and the Frenchman has made a great start to his first full season in charge of Real Madrid. But with Real being so far behind Barcelona for so long, they need to establish themselves as the best team in Spain once again. Four seasons without a league title is not good enough, and they have only won one domestic cup in that time as well. The recent Champions League successes in 2014 and 2016 were fantastic, but let’s not forget that Los Galacticos had to wait 12 years to lift the biggest trophy in club football. With no weak link in the side, Real have to capitalise on this, and that gives you an excellent opportunity in taking them over in FIFA 17’s Career Mode.

The league title must be your number one goal, and as long as you don’t suffer defeats to rivals Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, that should be achieved, given the lack of serious quality in the bottom half of La Liga. You should be able to rest the big names for European action, and that’s why a run to the semi-finals should be your minimum target. As for the Spanish Cup, see how you go. If you can get through the first few rounds, and are sitting pretty in the league and ‘Champions Cup’ you could have a go at the treble. It is something that has never be delivered to the Bernabeu, but with that squad, claiming three trophies is a realistic possibility.

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