Diego Lopez: B. There was nothing he could do on the two penalties but he maybe could've made a better effort on the first Messi goal. This isn't on him.
Marcelo: C+. Didn't offer anything in attack and his defense was leaky at best. Ended up on his rear a few times and generally just gave up too much space to the Barca attackers. His saving grace usually is that his offense makes up for any deficiencies on defense but he offered nothing going forward.
Sergio Ramos: D. Got burned a number of times and didn't even bother to close down on Messi as he assisted Iniesta for the first goal. Barca attackers were getting behind him and this was evidenced on the Neymar "penalty" awarded in the second half (I'll come to this later). Too many body parts flailing from him and his sending off changed the complexity of the game.
Pepe: B-. The guy tried his best to corral Barca's attackers after they were burning Madrid's fullbacks, but there was only so much he could do. Had a number of good tackles but once again got drawn into drama as he and Cesc got into a tussle. I like Pepe and he's been Madrid's best defender but he's taking the play-acting up a serious notch since the first leg against Atleti in the CDR, it needs to stop right away. That being said, Busquets stepped on his face while he was down and RM better report that.
Daniel Carvajal: D (I'm being generous). I think Carva has been Madrid's best signing from this past off-season but something about Barca is his kryptonite. Completely left Iniesta wide open on the first goal and was involved in the penalty awarded to Iniesta which won the game for Barca. Offensively did nothing as well. I'm not saying that Arbeloa would've done better but Dani has to figure out his stuff against bigger opponents as this will not cut it.
Xabi Alonso: D. Did the Red Beard even play today? Where were the diagonals, the crunching tackles, the control of the midfield, the rallying the troops we've come to expect from the maestro? Instead, one of the two culprits in the Iniesta PK which won Barca the three points. He's been hitting a slump as of late but even his slumps are more or less manageable, but today, in a game where Madrid needed his best, he was invisible.
Luka Modric: C-. Marginally better than Xabi but once again had his brilliant creative talents neutralized. No key passes and just kind of a blah performance. Had a chance at goal off of a rebound but skied it into row Z. Disappointing stuff.
Angel di Maria: B+. El fideo may have covered every single part of the pitch in the first half as he unleashed a blitzkrieg on Barcelona in a ridiculous 20 minute span. Assisted both of Benz's goals and was exactly what Madrid needed as a response to Iniesta's opening. Cooled off in the second half as he was going at a completely unsustainable phase but you can't really fault him too much. He completely tore apart Barca in the first 45.
Gareth Bale: C+. Invisible in the first 45, showed up in the second 45. Had an insanely explosive run through Barca's defense in the second half which was essentially his biggest highlight. Lost the ball way too many times and struggled to establish himself. At least he tracked back on defense to help a struggling Carvajal. Very good first season but no impact in the Clasicos.
Cristiano Ronaldo: D. Great, scored off of a PK, did nothing else. Sorry, I'm not going to pull any punches today. Took shots from distance and absolutely killed a Madrid counterattack when the men in white had a numbers advantage. His "defense" was nothing to speak of and his name was never called for long stretches of time. His "PK" was outside of the box and I think he's lucky that he has that goal to his name because outside of Carvajal and maybe Xabi it was CR who was my biggest disappointment. Messi plain outclassed him today for all 90+ minutes (I hate to say it). Time to get the team on your back and win out the rest of the way if you want all the plaudits and to be considered the best player in the world because CR sure as hell wasn't that player today.
Karim Benzema: A-. Yes, he missed at least three very good looks on goal but Benz absolutely ravaged Barca's back line along with ADM once Iniesta opened up the scoring. Had it not been for Pique's excellent clearance Benz would have had three goals to his name by half time. His runs and pressing were also on display and he was showing no signs of any kind of injury. A damn shame he had to be taken off after Madrid went down to 10 men.
Undiano Mallenco: F. Let's be honest, the foul on CR wasn't a penalty kick and maaaaaaybe you can make a case for the Iniesta one. Fine, I can live with that. However, when Neymar gets minimal contact on his leg and replays show that he stubbed his own toe into the ground more than anything and you STILL call it a penalty kick PLUS a red card, you deserve to lose your job. This man alone single-handedly changed the entire complexion of the game and quite possibly the season for three clubs and proved that there was very good reason from both clubs to moan and groan about him being selected as the referee for this game. Three out of the seven goals were directly due to this man and all three were questionable. Shame on you, Mallenco.
The crowd: F. Great, you lit some flairs and greeted the team bus. Wonderful. Aside from the two goals in the five minute span where were you the rest of the 87 minutes? I thought the fans were turning a corner starting with the Atleti game in the CDR but this was as mild as I've ever seen and heard them during a Clasico.
I'm pretty salty right now and might personally re-evaluate these grades tomorrow once I cool off, but really only two players out of the entire Madrid squad impressed me today and that's incredibly disappointing when they're this far into the season and against their eternal rival. Life goes on and the season isn't over by any means, but this was a game ripe for the taking at the 2-1 scoreline and Madrid wilted. Such a damn shame.
Let's hear your thoughts.
- Real Madrid Vs Barcelona, Liga BBVA 2013-2014: Player Ratings
- Real Madrid Vs FC Barcelona, Liga BBVA 2013-2014: Undiano Mallenco Keeps Liga BBVA Alive
- Real Madrid Vs Barcelona, Liga BBVA 2013-2014: Official Lineups
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- Real Madrid Vs FC Barcelona, Liga BBVA 2013-2014: Match Preview