Based on form this looked like it might've been a close one. Based on talent, it's a massive gulf between the two sides. Real Madrid took care of business but there were still a number of nervy moments, especially in the second half. here's our take on how the players did.
Iker Casillas, 8: It's hard to blame Iker for the conceded goal as both Marcelo and Sergio could've done more to prevent it. Had a superb save late in the second half when Varane misjudged a ball and left Iker one-on-one with the attacker. While it's hard to completely atone for some poor moments this season, games like today could go a long way in restoring his, and the fanbase's, confidence.
Nacho, 7: Boy, I loved what I saw from Nacho. He made several excellent runs into the attacking third, for which he was rewarded with a deflection leading to a goal. Defensively, he was strong as well. For someone who's a backup and hasn't played much, this was an impressive showing.
Sergio Ramos, 6: Not a bad game, but not outstanding either. Got beat on the Basel goal due to the oppositions speed, not to mention that his angle could've been better. That being said, he did make a couple of runs into the midfield to break up attack and was generally solid.
Pepe, 7: Strong game for Pepe. His clearances were solid, his passing crisp. The entire defense took it down a notch in the second half but part of that was likely due to being up by such a large margin. This could be improved but on an individual level it was encouraging from the Portuguese.
Marcelo, 6: Statistically, Marcelo was solid as he completed 94 percent of his passes. His crosses weren't fantastic but he made threatening runs a number of times, thus opening opportunities for other attackers. Defensively he wasn't amazing, but he didn't commit at glaring errors either. Caught a bit flat-footed on the Basel goal but it was also a good team attack from the visitors.
Toni Kroos, 7: A solid, if unspectacular, day at the office for Kroos. He did his part by compelting a fantastic 94 percent of his passes, including 11/13 long balls. Watching him switch the field is a joy. His defense was tested a fewtimes and he's clearly not a DM, but against an opponent like Basel this wasn't highlighted too much.
Luka Modric, 7: The outside of the boot pass to Bale was something for the highlight reel and he was very good in the final third as he was regularly finding attackers in tight spots. That being said, he committed a couple of errors which, against a better side, could've led to goals conceded. Has to take better care of the ball in Madrid's third of the pitch.
James Rodriguez, 9: Much better from the young signing compared to other games. He was making incisive pass after incisive pass and was generally very good when carrying the ball. Was in the perfect place at the perfect time to collect the rebound from a Benzema shot to slot it home. Probably the best game in a Madrid jersey for Rodriguez.
Cristiano Ronaldo, 8: Did well to find himself right in front of goal on Bale's assist and was constantly finding himself in advantageous positions in the final third. However, he held the ball a little bit too long a couple times when he should've passed to teammates in better spots and only one out of eight shots was on target. That being said, even a less-than-amazing game for him led to a goal. Well done.
Gareth Bale, 9: Garebear had a strong game, statistically-speaking. He only had two shots on target but one was a sumptuous goal, while he also picked up an assist on a fine pass to Cristiano Ronaldo. Didn't do much defensively but at least his offensive runs were strong.
Karim Benzema, 8: Of All the starters, Benz had the least amount of touches, even less than Iker. While some of this is on him and making himself available, the lack of service he's been getting this season is a bit worrying. Had a powerful shot blocked (which led to the James goal) but converted with a thunderbolt in the second half for the fifth Madrid goal.
Raphael Varane, 4: Good to see Rafa get some minutes, but his bungling of an aerial ball led to a dangerous shot from Basel and the only reason the scoreline wasn't closer was due to Iker seriously bailing out the young defender. Aerial balls continue to plague him.
Asier Illarramendi, 6: Got a decent run of minutes but the crowd might be wondering why he hasn't gotten more. Didn't have much to do but played pretty well in limited minutes. Hopefully he won a little bit of Carlo's confidence today.
Chicharito, 5: Came on late for Benzema, didn't have much of a chance to prove himself as he only got three touches as the game was well in hand for Madrid.
Overall, 7: The offensive explosion in the first half was impressive as Madrid was constantly buzzing around Basel's box and the off-ball movement was crisp. Basel didn't have a chance to exploit Madrid in the air and the defense, apart from one play, was solid. The second half saw a big dropoff in energy, again, and Basel were finding numerous opportunities through Madrid's defense as there were large gaps between Madrid's lines. While they only scored the one goal, it is a bit concerning thinking about what a superior opponent could do to this midfield and (sometimes) unorganized defense. That being said, this team desperately needed a victory no matter the score so overall it was a good day.
How would you grade the team today? Let us know below.
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