In game that was supposed to be a tight affair, it was far from it. The men in white come through again with a 3-0 victory over cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals. This sets up an interesting reverse fixture.
This was the starting XI:
✅ #RMUCL#RealMadrid XI @Atleti.— Real Madrid C. F. (@realmadrid) May 2, 2017
¡VAMOS! #HalaMadrid #RMMovistar pic.twitter.com/WYDs13eFOT
According to WhoScored.com, the formation was a 4-1-2-1-2, which then morphed into a normal 4-3-3. Doesn’t matter which formation it was, whatever it was it worked beautifully.
Keylor Navas : 8.0
Shades of last season’s Keylor Navas tonight. Navas picked up his sixth clean sheet of the season across all competitions. His last man tackle in the first half was a thing of beauty. He wasn’t called on too much as he only had four saves on the night.
Dani Carvajal: 7.0
Up until his injury he was having a pretty decent night, though there were stretches where he didn’t look great and got beat a couple times. He would pick up his injury just as the first half was coming to a close. Nacho would replace him at the re-start. He won the aerials, but his passing was a bit dismal at 77%.
Sergio Ramos: 7.5
No yellows and no reds for the Captain tonight which is a great thing. Ramos kept a calm head all night and was solid in the back line. He completed 90% of his passes, won three aerials, and had five tackles. When Ramos has a good night, so does the rest of the defense.
Raphael Varane: 7.5
No signs of rust for the Frenchman tonight. Varane looking more like his old self out there. He completed 95% of his passes, had two clearances and picked up a tackle. All in all, alongside Ramos, they helped keep a desperately needed clean sheet.
He was a key part of the attack all night, giving the left side of Atletico’s defense fits. But this is what you expect from the best left back in the game today. He completed 86% of his passes and looked dangerous on the ball.
I was on the fence with this rating. I had him rated 7.5 at the half and almost kept it that way. But Casemiro had another Casemiro night (just without the yellow card and stupid fouls), doing yeoman's work. I’ve always said he does the dirty work, he’s the one that doesn’t play pretty football — and I’m okay with that — because he gets the job done. Not to mention he picked up an assist on Ronaldo’s first goal of the night.
Hopefully he can duplicate what he did tonight next week at the Vicente Calderón.
Toni Kroos: 7.5
The passing machine was in full effect tonight. He completed 100 of 104 passes on the night and he was near perfect in the attacking third (15 of 16). He didn’t take any shots on the night, though he did take eight corners. All in all a solid night from the German.
Luka Modric: 7.5
He was a pain in Atletico’s arse for most of the night and completed 78 out of 83 passes. Overall a solid effort for Luka. In the attacking third he completed 12 out of 14 passes and at times looked pretty dangerous when he wasn’t drawing a foul or two.
He was all over the place tonight, though his name won’t show up on the score sheet. Several times he went right at the defense — putting on the disco moves and earning his nickname of “Magic”. While it wasn’t his best match, he’s still in pretty good form and I don’t think that tonight will harm his chances of starting next week as well.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 10.0
A hat trick earns him a perfect rating on the night and MOTM (duh). He now has 10 goals in 11 matches and it’s a pretty good time for him to catch fire. He could carry this team all they way to Cardiff if he wanted to. He picked up goals in the 10th, 73rd and 86th minute. That last one sealed the deal and the Royal Whites will have a bit of a cushion going into next week's match at the Vicente Calderón.
Here are couple fun facts for you:
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored six (!) goals in four matches since going with the frosted tips hair pic.twitter.com/M2OGABzKwk— Ryan (@RyanRosenblatt) May 2, 2017
Ronaldo in UCL:— Real Live (@rmfcstuff) May 2, 2017
Most goals in group stage ✅
First to 50 knockout goals ✅
Most goals in single season ✅
First to 100 goals ✅
Karim Benzema: 6.5
I’m not totally sure of what to make of Big Benz’s night. There were times (a lot of them), where, to get a touch on the ball, he had to drift back to the midfield. It also didn’t help that most of Real Madrid’s attacks were down the left side of the pitch. He did collect four shots on goal, but other than that it was a bit lacklustre. I think he should have been subbed out before the 77th minute when he was replaced by Lucas Vazquez. Personally I thought it should have been Morata at that point.
He came on for Dani Carvajal at the start of the second half. While he’s no Carvajal, Nacho once again proves he can play anywhere along that back line and not have a drop in production.
Marco came on for Isco in the 68th minute. His fresh legs showed up the Atleti defense from time to time -- though it wasn’t his best outing. But he did make the most of his time out on the pitch and had flashes of being very dangerous in the late going.
Lucas Vazquez: 7.0
He came in for big Benz in the 77th minute. He completed 100% of his passes in his short time on the pitch, and like Asensio, at times looked just as dangerous.
Nothing like taking a 3-0 lead into the Vicente Calderón next Wednesday. If Los Blancos play like they did tonight, the road to Cardiff is very clear. As Kiyan said in his instant reaction, they have one foot in Cardiff already. No team has repeated as champions in the Champions League era. Never say never.