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Real Madrid vs. Sporting Gijón: Player Ratings

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A straight-forward affair was expected as Gijón found themselves in 18th place, having lost 8 of their last 10 games going in. However, it should be noted that the Zidane era continues with hunger and cohesiveness under his watchful eye.

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A ruthless game from Real Madrid.

Though Zidane's tenure so far has not seen the toughest of opposition, the team is responding to Zizou's methods and ideas. At 5-1, Madrid still kept their foot on the gas pedal.

Los Blancos predominately played a 4-3-3 going forward, 4-4-2 in defense, and an exchanging 2-5-3 with ball-possession in the opponent's half. At this point, Zidane's method of coaching exhibits lots of fluidity and interchanging versus the rigidness and pragmatism we saw under ex-manager Rafa Benitez.

Here are my ratings:

Keylor Navas 8/10

Putting Saint Iker's legacy aside, Casillas had a fall from grace during his last seasons with Madrid. His strengths began to deteriorate as he lost his claim as the world's best. The break-up was extremely difficult, but Navas' presence and performances in goal have made it hard to miss him.

The Costa Rican should be applauded and highly regarded, as he was brave and assured throughout. Exemplified by a 23' minute acrobatic save, his attentiveness brings much more assurance to Madrid's - at times doubtful - defensive line. A great eight.

Marcelo 7/10

Decent performance overall. Despite not being as influential as he normally is, much of that comes down to a rampant Carvajal and Bale on the other end. He was caught out of position on certain occasions, albeit Sporting did not take advantage as much as they could have.

Pepe 7/10

With Sergio Ramos out, Pepe was given the starting role with Varane. Controlled, his maturation over the past couple of seasons cannot be under-valued and was mostly dependable when called upon.

Raphael Varane 7/10

Paired alongside Pepe, he also did not have much to do like Pepe and Navas but was very reliable when action arose. It will be interesting to see how the Frenchman fares against tougher opposition alongside Sergio Ramos.

Dani Carvajal 8/10

His convincing outing at right back and link up with Bale caused the first half devastation onto Sporting. The Spanish international had a hand in nearly every goal, highlighting his bettered-confidence compared to teammate Danilo. Solid performance.

Isco 8/10

Disco-Isco provided the much needed support for Kroos and Modric, whilst also providing that link between mid-field and B-B-C. His 8/10 rating is warranted for his low-key, yet important role he played throughout.

At times playing a playmaker, a center midfielder, and a false ten, the former Malaga player is thriving under Zidane. Rumors linking him away from the Bernabeu do not make much sense now, and it will be interesting to see how James Rodriguez responds to Isco's prominence as the season progresses.

Luca Modric 8/10

At times this season, Modric has been culpable of turning the ball to opposition for keeping ball possession for too long, but in this game he was not guilty. He won the ball back many times and efficiently controlled the midfield with Toni Kroos and the support of Isco. Excellent performance from the Croatian.

Toni Kroos 8/10

Controlling the midfield up to par with Modric, the German was pure quality against Gijon. His subtle yet commanding character is reminiscent of Xabi Alonso in his prime, as the former Bayern player continues to be molded into one of the best deep laying player makers. Isco being available in the midfield also eased Kroos' responsibilities and allowed the German to press opponents, deliver long balls, and showcase his complexity and depth as a mid-fielder.

Gareth Bale 9/10

The man of the moment. Match sharp and conveying his positional awareness, Bale continued his great form against Sporting. Scoring the first, pressing the second, assisting the third, he was on fire with Carvajal which prompted the first half onslaught. Also aiding in defense, with Ronaldo and Benzema becoming the outlet players, Bale had a total performance and deservedly earns a 9 with Ronaldo.

His high rating is based off of his impressive performance in the first half. Hopefully, an apparent calf strain is nothing serious. It is also nice to see his taking free-kicks again, as many know his unique ability of striking a dead ball.

Karim Benzema 8/10

The games where Benzema is static and waiting for the ball causes Madrid to be predictable and congested in the attacking third. However, when the Frenchman drops to receive the ball, his stamp on the game is much more notable.

His movement off the ball opens up space for poacher teammate Ronaldo and integrates Marcelo, Carvajal, and Bale into the game. A complete performance from the number nine, was taken off due to an apparent injury woe. Deservedly earned an 8.

Cristiano Ronaldo 9/10

Though Ronaldo has lost quickness and balance to adjust for quick tricks on the run, many are aware of CR7's contributions. Not as influential in the build-up play, his untouchable starting position in the starting eleven draws mixed reactions from fans and pundits.

However, the Portuguese's conversion into a poacher needs no more affirmation. A powerful left footed half-volley on the turn highlighted his nose for goal. Another left-footed finishes further proves the x-factor he brings, and one can only hope he continues to mark goals against the European and domestic giants, and not only versus the lowly teams.

SUBS:

Jese 6/10

The Spaniard came in for Bale due to an apparent calf aggravation. Not as adventurous as the Welshman, the talented youth-product could use more game time to boost his confidence as he provided very little despite having more time to shine compared to his fellow subs.

James Rodriguez 7/10

In the 60th minute, Isco was made way to give James a chance to prove what he brings to the table. Playing in false ten once Benzema made way for Kovacic, the Colombian struggled to make a real impact on the game.

He seemed enthusiastic to get involved, but the rise of Bale's form and Isco's bettered-suited style for Zidane has seen the 24-year-old's presence in Madrid dwindle.

Mateo Kovacic 7/10

The young Croatian is a very promising gem. Armed with great acceleration, Kovacic did well when he came in for Benzema to link play in the midfield.

Regardless of his lack of influence on the scoreboard, getting game time under his belt will help with his development, as Madrid are not known for their nurturing of youth talent.