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Real Madrid 2 - 1 Malaga, 2016/17 La Liga: Player Ratings

Real Madrid secured an important win holding on to their advantage in the league.

Real Madrid CF v Malaga CF - La Liga Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Navas - 8/10

The Costa Rican played an excellent game making important saves throughout the match (especially the second half) — the best likely the diving save in the 64th minute. His passing and clearances were again fairly accurate.

Marcelo - N/A

The Brazilian began relatively well but his day was cut short due to an injury in the 25th minute. He was replaced by Isco.

Ramos - 9/10

The Captain, along with his defensive team, was solid but had a few shaky moments that could’ve been handled a little better on the defensive end. His contributions on the other end of the pitch were of much greater significance however as he scored the team’s only two goals. The second goal ended up being the match winner. Ramos’ aerial ability is a vital asset for the team that has provided tremendous returns over the years and especially in recent seasons. He was undoubtedly the man of the match for the two key goals and an otherwise good performance.

Varane - 7/10

The French defender had a good match overall providing the level of coverage and support that was needed. One aspect of Varane’s game that has been reemerging in force lately are his firm line breaking ground passes. It isn’t to the degree of his magical spell in 2012/13 but at a higher frequency than for the last few seasons. An example was his ball to Vazquez in the 15th minute leading to Benzema’s chance.

He remained disciplined for the rest of the match but was caught out on occasion. Specifically, he was the main culprit for letting Juankar get a shot. The Malaga fullback dribbled past Varane before unleashing the vicious shot that created the goal.

Nacho - 6/10

Made a third consecutive start in the league and put in another assured and composed display this time as a full back as opposed to central defense. He made very few mistakes in defense but was a stark contrast, going forward, to the offensively influential Carvajal (and similarly Danilo). He did not add depth and complexity to the right wing as his positioning was fairly reserved and static. He continued in the same fashion (defensively good but little offensive support) for the rest of the game. That being said, he could have made a better effort to close down Añor before the latter scored for Malaga.

Casemiro 7/10

The midfield stalwart was less effective than in the previous two games but still adequately added solidity to our defensive shape and recovery play. He made valuable interceptions and tackles while intelligently tracking dangerous and evolving runs and movements. However, his at times “casual” on-the-ball disposition resulted in noticeably unnecessary dispossessions that disrupted possession and control. Furthermore, he failed to close down quickly on Castro giving the Malaga player space and time to shoot the ball — which came off the post.

Kroos - 8/10

He returned to his standard excellence in this match — after a couple of subpar showings — working in tandem with Modric as is typical to coordinate the team’s play. Increased his impressive assists tally with another two fantastic deliveries to Ramos. In addition, his performance was sprinkled with incisive penetrative passes, such as the pass to Ronaldo in the first half, highlighting the vertical side to his style that has become more and more visibly evident recently.

Modric - 7/10

Like Casemiro, the Croatian maestro was not at the exceptional heights he hit in his previous two matches this year. Not to suggest he was poor or bad by any means but match conditions (combined with his individual performance) constrained him somewhat. He had a great volleyed effort saved in the second half before coming off for Kovačić.

Ronaldo - 5/10

This performance goes into the collection of matches where it is impossible to believe Ronaldo finished without getting a goal. The Portuguese was at the end of an incredible number of chances that he was unable to put away partly because of good goalkeeping, misfortune, and in some cases bad finishing. Notable misses include the one-on-one in the first half after Kroos played him in and the shot at Kameni after the latter made a mess of a back pass.

On other fronts, Ronaldo did well in terms of supporting attacking play by stretching the Malaga defense and playing some dangerous balls into the box such as his deep cross in the 10th minute. However, despite a definite improvement from the last two matches, he was still a little off-key given the lost balls at the start of the match and the misplayed passes (significant not for volume but how key the passes would’ve been) throughout.

Benzema - 5/10

Benzema had an inconsistent game as he has for the last several matches as he as a result of his sheer class and quality was able to impact play and support the team well but like Ronaldo a little bit off with his passing, touch, and finishing. He was on the receiving end of some golden opportunities that he couldn’t put away including Vázquez’s crosses in the 11th and 15th minutes.

Vázquez - 7/10

The archetypal utility man was at his versatile best during the match. He started the match on the right wing troubling the Malaga defense with direct purposeful runs and dribbles that led to good shots and tempting crosses. He wasn’t as effective as he could’ve been in the final third as he didn’t look to diversify his actions and failed on several occasions to spot players situated in optimal positions to advance play. However, he was still able to do very well to create great chances himself (like his beautiful control and shot in the 24th minute) and for others (e.g. his cross to Benzema in the 11th minute).

Moved to a more defensive position upon Marcelo’s departure. He did well except for a few instances. Although not really to blame, he could have tracked the wide Malaga player better for the play preceding the conceded goal in the 63rd minute.


Isco - 6/10

Replaced Marcelo in the 25th minute and immediately changed the complexion of Real Madrid’s approach. Added more intricacy to our play and improved combination and possession play but was not able to fully imprint his influence in the match.

Kovačić - N/A

Came in for Modric at the 78th minute and integrated well into the match.

Morata - N/A

Substituted Benzema with 8 minutes of regular time left and managed to get at the end of a freekick cross in the 92nd minute.

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