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MADRID, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Although Tuesday will be remembered as the day that Costa Rican international goalkeeper Keylor Navas was presented as a new Real Madrid player, it is also significant as the day that the last players to return to pre-season training after the World Cup finals got back to work.
Some of the players, whose sides reached the last four of the World Cup, will be staying or in the case of Tony Kroos, starting life at their new clubs, while others such as Dani Alves and Angel Di Maria face a less certain future.
Tuesday morning saw Barcelona quartet of Leo Messi, Javier Mascherano, Neymar and Alves get back to training. Neymar still have to recover from the back injury he received in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, while Mascherano will be hoping new Barcelona coach Luis Enrique decides to push him into his preferred midfield role this season.
Mascherano has played as an emergency center-half in the past three years, but his recent displays in Brazil showed he is more effective in the middle of the park and Xavi Hernandez's physical decline could allow him to return to that role.
Alves could be on his way out as he enters the last year of his contract. Liverpool are thought to be interested in the Brazilian, whose defensive contributions have declined in recent seasons, making him the weakest link in the Barca back four.
The club are keen on signing another defender and whether or not Alves stays or goes will decide whether or not that player is a right back or another central defender.
And finally, but perhaps most importantly at Barca, everyone will be looking to see if Leo Messi can recapture the spark that seemed to desert him last season.
Over at Real Madrid Sami Khedira and Angel Di Maria also face uncertain futures with Di Maria being pointed towards the exit sign to help pay for the summer spending which has brought Kroos, James Rodriguez and Navas to the Santiago Bernabeu.
Real Madrid President Florentino Perez was pictured dining with Di Maria's agent Jorge Mendes on Monday in what many see as part of negotiations to shift the Argentinean winger, who has two years left on his contract to either Paris Saint Germain or Manchester United.
Di Maria was one of Madrid's best players in the second half of last season and his sale can be seen as a political move, although Perez and Mendes also no-doubt discussed the incorporation of Monaco striker Radamel Falcao over the summer.
Khedira is now in the last year of his contract and is another who could move as the World Cup winner has attracted interest from England. His departure could leave Real Madrid short of defensive midfield options, as Aiser Illaramendi struggled to adapt last season and Xabi Alonso is slowing down, but Perez does not always let tactical issues get in the way of business and the club would rather sell now than see Khedira leave for nothing next summer.
It all promises an interesting few weeks until the end of August and of course there is one player who may or may not return to training: Luis Suarez, the Barca striker will find out on Friday if the Court of Arbitration for Sport will reduce the four month ban from all football-related activity he was given for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini during the World Cup.
Xinhua is China's state-run news agency.
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