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Real Madrid - Valerenga: Initial reactions (0-0)

A dull match between Real Madrid and Valerenga.

Martin Rose/Getty Images

Real Madrid defended well -- Valerenga were not much of a threat after all -- but lacked the creativity and the firepower needed to beat this Norwegian team. It's definitely not encouraging to see Benítez's team struggling so much on offense, as Madrid will need to improve a lot if they don't want to collect some draws when La Liga starts. Still, no drama should be made about this game considering that Madrid were without Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo upfront.

1- Carvajal deserves to start at right-back. Danilo shows flashes of brilliance, but Carvajal is playing way better so far. Danilo still needs to get used to play with his new teammates and he is too shy with the ball on his feet, something that was not one of his traits while he was playing for FC Porto.

2- Marco Asensio could be useful this very same season. Real Madrid's best scoring chance came off Asensio's boots after the former Mallorca player dribbled past some Valerenga defenders and gave the ball to Mayoral, who missed with the goalkeeper in front of him. It seems clear that Madrid have enough depth upfront, and Asensio would not get enough minutes to develop as a player. Still, he's done more than enough to be ahead of Cheryshev and Vázquez in the rotation.

3- Illarra has been decent when given the chance. The Basque midfielder should probably be on his way out as he's not ready to step his game up against elite opposition. However, he could be useful if the stays with the team, especially with Benítez's rotation policy. Illarra is ready to play against lesser teams at home, as he's showing this pre-season.

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