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Real Madrid vs Sevilla - CdR 1st Leg Player Ratings

The squad turned out one of the best games of the season

Real Madrid v Sevilla - Copa del Rey: Round of 16 First Leg Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Player ratings in a game like this can be a challenge. When Real Madrid put in arguably one of the top 3 best performances of the season, missing so many starters, with such a solid collective team effort, don't you kind of just want to give everyone 10's and walk away?

Nah, because then there would be nothing for ya'll to comment about.

Kiko Casilla - 9.5
A very solid performance from our towering back-up. Aside from a few key saves, and his effectiveness playing the "sweeper-keeper" role, I was most impressed by two things - His crazy-accurate distribution, and his presence/command of the area. For someone who hasn't played much, he looked awfully comfortable between the stick.

Dani Carvajal - 8.5
Dani put in a very, very solid performance. He's been a little up and down on occasion this season, but today was pretty much all up. He combined well with Modric, James, occasionally Asensio, made some great runs up the flank, and demonstrated great patience in build up play in the final third. He got turned around a couple of time getting back, but that'll happen when you are one of the players consistently highest up the pitch.

Rafa Varane - 9
Stalwart is the word that comes to mind. Varane had a really solid performance including a few jaunty runs pretty high up. I think that Varane's performance was one of those that might have stood out more if it wasn't so dang consistent. You almost get too used to how solid it was and forget it's greatness. Add a headed goal, and you can't ask for more from your center back.

Nacho - 9
This guy. What else can you say about a 4th choice CB who plays like a starter? Plus he's fast, and strong and showed as much as he completely snuffed out more than one attack down the right. The Nacho/Varane pairing was just about flawless today. I’d rave for another 500 words but you guys already know how I feel about Nacho.

Marcelo - 9
I think Marcello had one of his more complete games under Zidane. Because of the crazy high press for a good chunk of the first half, he wasn't caught too far upfield very often. When he was, it was after another blitzing run down the flank, some comprehensive passing and some sick foot skills. How about that long-ball, butter-soft turn around the 70th minute?

Tony Kroos - 9
The cyborg was again pulling strings in the midfield. While not as showy with mazy dribbles as the Croatian to his right, Kroos's orchestration and passing once again helped solidify the continuity for possession as well as counters. Plus, his defensive positioning continues to go largely unheralded. Even with a 4-1-4-1 largely deployed on defense, he is the first one back to help Casemiro and the first one to start things from deep.

Casemiro - 9
Speaking of Casemiro. Kiyan wrote it best in his Immediate Reaction when he typed, "there was no ‘good and bad’ with the Brazilian anchor tonight. Just a whole lot of good." His terrific pressing was spot-on all night as he came marauding up from the back, particularly in the slide tackle in the opposition third that fed the ball perfectly to James to open the scoring. He balanced his defensive acumen with some steady, controlled dribbles and a few great passes including a gorgeous outside-of-the-boot to Danilo late in the game.

Luka Modric - 9
Luka was everywhere once again. Whether linking up with, well everyone, providing key passes or dribbling his way through Sevilla's defense, our Lukita spearheaded much of the attack. Watching he and Kroos work their combined magic was once again breath-taking. What particularly pleased me, not that I was surprised, was the fluid combinations with James. Considering the two haven't had a ton of minutes together this season, it was delightful to watch in action.

James - 10
And speaking of James. MOTM for sure in my book. He's had his share of detractors of late, certainly not helping himself with post-Club World Cup comments, but given the chance to lead the team in offense in the absence of the BBC, boy oh boy did he take it. His opening curler of a golazo from outside the box, would be for 95% of the rest of the world, a stunner. But for James, it's just another typical shot on target. His work-rate was outstanding as well - constantly hounding in the high-press. And while he made a couple questionable decisions defensively, was in the right place in the right time just about all night. And how about that unbelievable slide-tackle on Sevilla's Mariano in the 70th minute just before he came off?

Asensio - 7
The only one I'm going to ding in the match was our young Marco. It wasn't that he had a poor game. His positioning was decent. His pressure in the high-press, especially initially, was solid, and he linked up with Marcelo in a better-than-average fashion. But the entire game his work-rate was bizarrely lackadaisical. On many an occasion he'd either lose the ball in a dribble or several errant passes, and would do the same little jump-hop in frustration and then lope back at his leisure. For someone still so young with much to prove, I was disappointed. Contrast that with Mariano who came on late and looked like he badly wanted a hattrick 3-0 up with just a few minutes to go or even Morata who ran his tail off all night, and Asensio should take some notes on how to put some youthful hustle in his step.

Morata - 8
And speaking of (I've definitely over-used that one tonight) Morata. I think the criticism that Morata got for his efforts is ironically the same sort that Benzema gets when he does nothing but exquisite link up play all night, or when Cristiano doesn't score a hattrick but takes 2 and 3 defenders with him the whole game. Morata flat-out hustled every minute he played. He was instrumental in stretching the Sevilla back line and creating space for calculated build up. He was point-man in the high-press. He had some great runs, was pretty solid on the ball, now if only that boy could finish…

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