5 Real Madrid Players with a Point to Prove in the 2014/15 Season
We're just two games in, and Real Madrid are already playing catch-up this season.
With Angel Di Maria and Xabi Alonso moving on, it's not even like Carlo Ancelotti is left with an especially big squad to rotate things—just an expensive one.
It means some of the current players will have to reassess their own performances after the defeat at Anoeta.
Fortunately for Los Blancos, there are plenty of players in their squad with a point to prove over the next 10 months.
Here are five of them.
There's no player in the Real Madrid dressing room with a bigger point to prove than Iker Casillas.
Despite being a club legend, his reputation is in danger of losing its gloss if he continues to look so nervous every week.
Against Real Sociedad, he was glued to his line as 22 crosses poured in—Squawka statistics revealed he made just one punch and no claims.
After battling with Diego Lopez for the last 18 months, he now has Keylor Navas breathing down his neck for a starting berth.
Carlo Ancelotti has stuck by Casillas for the club's first five competitive games. The goalkeeper needs to prove himself worthy of keeping Navas out of the side and staying at the Bernabeu.
On the Friday night that Real Madrid lost the Spanish Super Cup to Atletico Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti said that Sami Khedira had been given permission to leave the club.
"I am not interested in where he goes," the Italian added, as reported by ESPN journalist Dermot Corrigan.
However, as reported by Sport, the German midfielder was happy to stay put by the Sunday.
Khedira, who won the World Cup with his country this summer, now needs to prove himself worthy of winning his starting place back in Ancelotti's side.
Luka Modric and Toni Kroos look like the preferred deeper duo at the moment, but there's no reason why Khedira can't dislodge them.
He's got one year left on his contract and needs to make sure he makes the most of it—even if he does plan to walk away for free next summer.
It wasn't the first season Asier Illarramendi hoped for in the Spanish capital. Signed by Real Madrid for close to £30 million, the midfielder arrived highly rated from Real Sociedad.
However, despite making more than 40 appearances for Los Blancos last term, he was largely used from the bench and as a bit-part player.
With attributes not dissimilar to Xabi Alonso—along with the same boyhood club—he must now seize the chance handed to him by Alonso's move to Bayern Munich.
At 24, he should be more than capable of holding down a place in Carlo Ancelotti's midfield.
That is, of course, if he is still at the club on Tuesday morning. Marca (via Football Espana) have suggested Athletic Club could sign Illarramendi on loan.
Like Asier Illarramendi, Isco arrived last summer with the world supposedly at his feet.
With Dani Carvajal also joining the duo at Real Madrid, the three young Spaniards were tipped to be the face of a new, patriotic Madrid side.
However, despite a good start, the former Malaga and Valencia attacking midfielder has fallen foul of Carlo Ancelotti's starting line-up on a regular basis.
He was in the side for the Real Sociedad defeat on Sunday night and offered very little.
If he doesn't prove a hit this season, Florentino Perez may be tempted to move Isco on next summer.
Still just 22, with bags of talent, he would command a decent fee.
The arrivals of James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos have effectively ended the Real Madrid careers of Angel Di Maria and Xabi Alonso this summer.
Despite the obvious credentials of the new boys, they will both have plenty to prove this summer after Carlo Ancelotti's men clinched the Copa del Rey and the Champions League last season and also came close to winning the league.
Due to the nature of the fee on his head, more pressure will naturally be heaped on James.
Signed on the back of his World Cup performances for Colombia for north of £60 million, the 23-year-old is expected to hit the levels of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
However, forgetting this summer's tournament in Brazil, he'd done little to merit such a heavy price tag. He had been impressive for both Porto and Monaco, but perhaps not quite that impressive.
It's now up to James to justify the money Florentino Perez has spent on him.