Player Ratings: Real Madrid vs Villarreal

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

In a thrilling match loaded with spectacular goals, Real Madrid earned a well-deserved 4-2 victory. We take a quick look at each player's performance.

STARTERS:

Diego López (GK): B Madrid's keeper was the victim of two unstoppable golazos this evening, one from open play and one from a brilliantly-taken free kick. Other than those unlucky concessions, he was solid between the posts.

Carvajal (RB): A- Carvajal continued to demonstrate his incredible speed, stamina and versatility in a wonderful performance featuring clever link-up play with Bale, Modric and Benzema on top of great defense. He nearly scored a goal but the ball went a few inches wide.

Pepe (CB): B+ Pepe's good form continued tonight as he picked out Gareth Bale with an insightful long-ball and worked hard on defense. Still, he was lucky not to have been scored on after losing his his man in the box in the first half. The Villarreal player ended up firing his shot into the stands.

Ramos (CB): B- Sergio looked shaky tonight and failed to cover Mario's devastating drive into the top corner. In a night wherein he captained his side, Ramos looked somewhat subdued with Pepe taking on the role of organizer and vocal leader. Overall, it was not a bad performance from Ramos, but also nothing to write home about.

Marcelo (LB): N/A the Brazilian suffered a back injury at the fifteen minute mark that took him out of the game. He did not get a chance to influence the match.

Illaramendi (DM): B- While Illara worked hard to press his opponents and regain possession, he seemed unsure of himself with the ball at his feet, often misplacing passes to his teammates.

Modric (CM): A in what's becoming commonplace, Luka Modric delivered a clinic on how to dominate the midfield. His footwork was dazzling and his combination of body feints and composure ensured he got the ball into very dangerous areas when feeding the likes of Gareth Bale, Benzema and Carvajal.

Di María (CM): A- after a shaky start in which he skied a shot into the bleachers and missed a few passes, Angel got into the game and created danger with devastating runs down the middle and stinging shots on goal. Just as in the Atlético Madrid match, Di María found Jesé with a perfect through ball for Madrid's third goal. His defensive sacrifice was on full-display tonight as he covered for Arbeloa and Jese on several occasions. He seems to be thriving in this new midfield position.

Bale (RW): A- the Welshman got off to an unbelievable start after winning the ball in a dangerous area and chipping Villarreal's keeper to open the scoring. His fantastic first half continued as he toyed with his marker and put in a perfect cross to Karim Benzema for Madrid's second. However, in the second half his influence on the team's play greatly diminished as he struggled to overcome frequent double-teams. Still, Bale deserves a lot of credit for delivering a cool finish and an assist after coming back from injury.

Jesé (LW): A Big Flow is clutch. With a slick Ronaldo Fenomeno-esque goal he made it 3-1. After Villarreal jumped back in the game with a Gio Dos Santos free kick, Big Flow orchestrated a counterattack and assisted Karim Benzema for the striker's second goal of the night. Jesé continues to score against major opposition and inspire confidence on behalf of both coach and fans alike.

Benzema (ST): A the Frenchman scored a fantastic brace, the first a difficult toe poke from a tight angle and the second a perfectly-placed shot to the bottom corner to cap off a brilliant counterattack.

SUBSTITUTES:

Coentrão (LB): B- in an unfortunate though not new situation for Real Madrid, Fabio picked up an injury after coming on for an injured Marcelo. His 30 minutes on the pitch were quiet until both he and Sergio Ramos were caught sleeping during Villareal's cracking first goal.

Arbeloa (LB): B+ the right-back took to guarding the left flank after both Marcelo and Fabio succumbed to injury. The Spanish international had a solid game.

Xabi Alonso (CM): B+ the midfield maestro came on for Di María and gave his side a little more defensive support. He broke down Villareal's passing lanes and made smart, safe decisions with the ball at his feet.

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