An early goal by Cristiano Ronaldo paved the way for Real Madrid, who earned the three points against an Athletic Bilbao side in desperate need of help to turn things around. While it wasn't a brilliant display by Real Madrid, Ancelotti surely saw some positive signs from his pupils right before they return to national duty in this upcoming FIFA break.
For instance, two of the main things Real Madrid needed to improve were visibly better against Athletic. One of them is Marcelo's offensive contribution. The Brazilian left back has never been a lock on defense, but he used to provide a good number of valuable assets for Real Madrid's ofensive line, like dribbles, crosses and a very good chemistry with Cristiano Ronaldo. Marcelo did not start the season properly, but tonight he proved he can still be a decisive player on Real Madrid's offensive equation.
The other point Ancelotti needed to address was James and Bale's defensive commitment. Both players are known for their attacking traits but Kroos and Modric were left alone helpless too often because Bale and James weren't working too hard when Real Madrid turned the ball over.
In the end, this was a comfortable match for Ancelotti's men after Cristiano Ronaldo notched up the opening goal just two minutes after the kick-off. The Portuguese player can't be stopped, and the fans are surely wondering why the Clasico can't be played next week. With Ronaldo's current form, Real Madrid are very hard to beat. The rest of the first half was played safely by Real Madrid, but Karim Benzema was able to increase the lead off a corner-kick on the 40th minute. The Frenchman was brilliant against Ludogorets and he kept this momentum going with another successful game. He even managed to get a brace thanks to a magnificent assist by Cristiano Ronaldo on Real's fourth goal, and it was the Portuguese astro the one player who put the 3-0 up in the scoreboard off a quick counterattack driven by Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo.
It's true that Athletic Bilbao are in such a bad streak that it would be reasonable to question Real Madrid's efficiency against the Basque team. But it could also be argued that, at last, Real Madrid kept a clean sheet and managed not to struggle in defense. However, there's still one thing that made this match far from perfect for Real, and that is Bale's form. The Welshman is trying his very best, and he could have scored a couple of goals, but Gorka Iraizoz played well against him and prevented Bale from getting a confidence boost.
The match ended with Cristiano Ronaldo completing a hat-trick off a very lucky bounce in Bilbao's six-yard box. He's such an exceptional player that the fans see this kind of performances as just "his usual stuff". Make sure you enjoy every match played by Cristiano Ronaldo under a white shirt.