Well, Bilbao is a side playing some horrific football as of late, but there's plenty of talent there so it's hard to say that Madrid beat up on a bunch of scrubs. Even with the opposition being a reeling one this was still an impressive showing. Grades range from 1 to 10, 1 being Heskey and 10 being Johann Cruyff on a beautiful fall day in 1972 Amsterdam (or something, I don't know).
Iker Casillas: 8. Excellent save to deny Muniain and another to deny Ibai Gomez header in the 57th, got a bit fiery and looked to pick a fight in the 78th minute when he was kicked by an Athletic player which was nice to see from the captain.
Daniel Carvajal: 8. Super bright start, incredibly active and clearly made Bale's job much easier. When Dani is in full-on bulldog mode, it's hard to find a more complete RB in the world.
Pepe: 7. Solid stuff from Pepe on his return, got beat a couple times but nothing of note which is a good thing. A quiet game is a good game for a CB.
Sergio Ramos: 7. Picked up a soft yellow at 27th minute, subbed for Varane at HT as he picked up a calf injury. Good thing the international break is here in order for him to rest.
Marcelo: 8. All over the place early with some great attacking but so-so defense. As the game progressed, he became more lethal in attack as Bilbao clearly stopped targeting him on offense. Fantastic contribution from the Brazilian today.
Toni Kroos: 6. Looked apprehensive, lost the ball a couple times and not much of a presence, taken of for Illarra on the 73rd. This isn't criticism and he didn't have a bad game by any means but he wasn't required to do much against a pretty tame opponent and remained in the peripheral while the big guns stole the show.
Luka Modric: 7. Very good rebound game for Luka as he struggled midweek. Controlled the pace of the game and chipped in an assist for Benz on the corner, plus he added in some solid defense when the ball was lost. Seems like every other time he takes a corner someone for Madrid scores.
James Rodriguez: 6. Bungled a clear look at 37th minute, good defensive effort but struggled around the edge of the box in his control. His first touch let him down several times but his effort when the ball was lost has to be commended. Good to see this side of his game develop and it's even better to see him contributing in other ways when the goals and assists aren't coming.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 10. Immediately got on the scoreboard with a goal on the two minute mark, almost had a couple more in the first half as well, Excellent effort on second goal and unselfish pass to Benz for his second while getting his hat trick in the 88th (though his elbow maybe played a bit of a part there). The man is simply unstoppable at this point.
Gareth Bale: 8. Provided the assist to CR at 2:00, excellent aggression at goal early. Started off hugging line far upfield but then began dropping deeper in a 4-4-2 without the ball. One area where he showed improvement was in lots of effort and involvement. Contributed a second assist to CR in the 54th minute and unlucky not to score but much better involvement and attacks.
Karim Benzema: 9. Great off-ball movement from Benzema from the get-go but should've scored in 18th minute. Good defense and activity to bother Athletic's keeper and back line and finally headed in a goal in the 40th minute. Added a beautiful pass to Bale setting up CR for his second goal and picked up a second of his own in the 68th minute, subbed off in the 79th. Received some high praise from CR after the game.
Raphael Varane: 7. Looked calm and assured when he came on at halftime, not much to do today which was nice.
Asier Illarramendi: 6. Came on in the 73rd minute and didn't have much to do. He did complete 95 percent of his passes though.
Isco: 6. Came on in the 79th, also didn't have much to do as the game was already decided but he did have a couple fancy tricks for the crowd late which they absolutely loved given that they roared every time he touched the ball.
Maybe these grades are too generous given Bilbao's poor form, but it's encouraging to see so much good off-ball movement on offense with so few chances surrendered on defense. This is important as the first Clasico is rapidly approaching and Barca look to be in excellent form.
What are your grades? Let us know in the comments section below!