A victory at last. I almost forgot what it feels like to win a game in La Liga. And I must say, it’s a nice feeling, even though the performance was far from optimal. Zidane rotated his squad to rest some of the key players for upcoming Champions League game against Dortmund.
Keylor Navas — 7: Keylor had a solid game overall. He wasn’t at fault for the conceded goa,l and good 1-v-1 goalkeeping kept Real Madrid in the lead.
Dani Carvajal — 6: Carvajal’s form is starting to be worrying. He looks like a shadow of himself, and with Danilo gone, and Achraf not being truly ready, he is set to play pretty much every single minute for the foreseeable future. Since Marcelo is out for the next few weeks, Dani has to raise his game to offer the output we know he can.
Raphael Varane — 6: Varane had a strange game. At one moment he makes an absolutely brilliant interception, but a few minutes later he makes a rookie mistake. His biggest mistake in this match was the conceded goal. He was caught completely flat-footed and he allowed Manu Garcia to fire a bullet header, which Navas couldn’t save.
Sergio Ramos — 6: Sergio could have spared us of the nerve-wrecking ending to the game, if he converted his chance, which was served to him on a golden platter. There are some chances which fans call a sure goal and this was one of them. He had an open net three meters away from the goal. This has to be converted. Otherwise, it was a decent game from Ramos coupled with his usual mistakes.
Nacho — 7: Probably the best defender today, but even he committed a couple of rookie mistakes. His defending on Alaves’ goal was comical and a defender of his qualities should handle that situation much better. Going forward, Nacho provided good outlets and he even went on a few good dribbling and dangerous runs.
Casemiro — 7: A solid game from the Brazilian as he was once again asked to plug all the gaps in Real Madrid’s defense. And as usual, Madrid’s defense was leaky as a cauldron. It’s worrying how many gaps and overall ground Casemiro is asked to cover.
Ceballos — 8.5: First start, two goals. A worthy man of the match performance from Dani Ceballos. It took him a while to settle and gain confidence, but once he did, he took over the match alongside with Isco. The first goal was a good example of what Dani can do. Very strong in individual duels, brilliant technique, and composure to choose the best option. Copa del Rey will start soon and I expect Ceballos to get more minutes in the coming weeks.
Isco — 7: Very slow start to the game from Isco, but once he woke up (around the 20-25 minute mark), he once again showed his importance to this team. Together with Ceballos, they handled the build-up play. However, they weren’t as synchronized as Luka and Toni and it wasn’t as smooth as we wanted it to be.
Asensio — 7: Asensio continuous to get regular minutes and it warms my heart. He is such a joyful player and his understanding with Ceballos is superb, as we saw during the U21 EURO. This duo can very well be the spine of the team for the upcoming decade.
Lucas Vazquez — 6.5: Lucas can sometimes be a frustrating player. He is a brilliant dribbler and 1-v-1 player, but his decision-making can make you wonder at times. Sometimes, it’s better to look up and pass instead of dribbling through three, four players. He did create couple of good chances, but when he got himself into a superb chance, he failed to hit the target. It wasn’t an easy position, but I would expect a better finish from a former center forward.
Cristiano Ronaldo — 7: Ronaldo was surprisingly involved a lot in build-up and his movement and passing created a lot of space for his teammates. His flick to Asensio for the first goal was truly marvellous. Overall, it was a good game from Cristiano, but it’s evident that he needs a bit more game time to hit his optimal form.
Marcos Llorente — 6.5: Marcos Llorente is like a unicorn. He is rarely seen. There were games where he could have featured, but Zidane opted against it. There are still a lot of minutes to be played, but it makes you wonder what plans Zidane has for him. I guess Marcos will have to nail his performances in the Copa del Rey to get a serious chance in La Liga or Champions League.
Borja Mayoral — N/A: Borja was subbed on the pitch in 91st minute.
Man of the Match: Dani Ceballos