Under Santiago Solari, Real Madrid played some of their best football all season in the opening 45 minutes of the match. The timing of the defensive pressing high up the pitch, the intranet ball movement and dominance in control and possession, and the individual performances of guys like Marcos Llorente, Dani Carvajal, Lucas Vazquez, Sergio Ramos, and Thibaut Courtois were a joy to behold. Full ratings below:
Thibaut Courtois—8.5: Has been given a lot of flack from the Madrid fan base, some of it fair and other times unwarranted, but tonight he showed why he is such a highly rate goalkeeper. Made two incredible 1v1 saves, both were later called offside, but irregardless they cemented the security he brought in the back and the Bernabeu erupted into applause.
Dani Carvajal—9: What composure from Dani to earn Madrid the first goal. One deft touch beat Gaya, all inside the box, then an outside of the boot cross searching for Reguilón, deflected off of Wass for an own goal. All night long Carvajal was a monster. He showed the form we had been longing for since the 16/17 season.
Raphael Varane—6: A solid outing for Varane, but unlike some of his other teammates wasn’t spectacular . Still regaining his form after injury and post World Cup fatigue.
Sergio Ramos—8.5: One of his best performances so far this season. He snuffed out every attack in the first half and his aggressive and well timed tackles help the team maintain a high press during key moments of the match.
Sergio Reguilón—8: Every single time he plays, he performs. Back up left back position has been a sore spot for Madrid in recent years, but the void most certainly looks to be filled. The battle between he and Soler was incredibly entertaining with Regui usually the winner.
Marcos Llorente—9: Once again brilliant from start to finish. Arguably man of the match for the second game running. Casemiro will have his work cut out, to get back into this team. Completed a team high 83 passes with a 95% passing accuracy. Had 1 key pass and 11 long balls, 10 of which were accurate and found their target. Coupled with his defensive tactical nous cutting down passing lanes and curtailing the momentum of ball carriers pursuing counters—3 tackles, 1 interception, and 1 clearance. Marcos did it all.
Dani Ceballos—8: Replaced the injured Kroos and did not miss a beat. The midfield was at their absolute best tonight, especially in the first half. 81 touches and 95% passing accuracy for his 62 passes.
Luka Modric—8: Very actively involved and looked close to the Modric of old. He was the leader of a young midfield that pressed and played Valencia off the park in the first 45.
Lucas Vazquez—9: His good form continues, both defensively and offensively he was superb. Another man of the match contender with Carvajal and Llorente. He had 2 key passes, a goal, and a team high of 4 tackles. The Lucas Vazquez form of Zidane’s first half season in the winter of 2016 to the final in Milan is re-emerging—can he make it last?
Karim Benzema—7: Nearly scored an absolute cracker of a goal in the 2nd minute after a gorgeous cross from Gareth Bale. Tonight, it was his off the ball defensive work that was a joy to behold. Had 3 tackles as a striker, each of them winning possession for Madrid and starting an attack.
Gareth Bale—6.5: Operating on the left wing again, looked up for it in the beginning of the match. Had a pretty solid first half and his score would have been higher, but really faded in the second half and was substituted to jeers by the Santiago Bernabeu.
Marco Asensio—6.5: Came on full of energy and speed, quite simply looked hungry and confident. Had some nice touches and a few good moments but his match will he remembered for the huge opportunity he missed after Marcos Llorente laid the ball across the goal and put it on a plate for Asensio.
Fede Valverde—6.5: Another performance for the massively talented young Uruguayan. Was brought on for a tiring Modric to add some physicality, energy, and a box to box presence. Laid perfectly timed ball to ignite Marcos Llorente’s counter attack run which led to Asensio’s miss and overall looked good.
Isco—7: The third and final substitution in about the 80th minute. Despite the limited minutes, Isco looked very good operating in the center of midfield. Had a few important dribbling sequences and nearly scored himself.