Real Madrid ran riot on familiar Champions League foes Juventus in a thrilling quarter-final clash at the Allianz Stadium on Tuesday night. Cristiano Ronaldo scored a double, his second goal being labelled as the greatest goal Europe’s premier competition has seen in some time, while Marcelo added another late on to set-up a comfortable return leg for Zinedine Zidane’s men. Paulo Dybala’s red card midway through the second half only helped compound an already miserable night for the Turin side. Here’s how the players rated:
Keylor Navas 7: For a man who witnessed a lot of action directed towards his goal, Navas didn’t actually have much to do. Most of Juventus’ barrage ended when it came to the final third of the pitch. Anytime the Costa Rican GK was called into action, he was up to the task, denying Gonzalo Higuain with a fantastic save from point-blank range in the first half.
Dani Carvajal 6.5: The right-back’s poor season looked to have continued in the biggest game of the campaign during the opening half. While offering a presence going forward, there was a lack of end product, with his crosses rarely reaching a team-mate. Defensively, he found himself over-run by the attacking tandem of Alex Sandro & Kwadwo Asamoah. But, the second period seen a much improved Carvajal, with the likes of Casemiro offering increased protection to combat Juventus’ pressure. Also, he gets a bump in his score for assisting one of the greatest goals ever scored.
Sergio Ramos 7: The captain played a perfect leadership role, throwing his body into anything and everything he could during a thrilling first-half. The second period saw a calmer Real defense shut out Juve’s attempted attacks, which led to less work for all involved. A silly yellow card on the hour mark sees him ruled out for the return leg in Madrid; that now looks like a blessing considering the final score.
Raphael Varane 7: Got caught out by a couple of high balls in the first half, which brought out about a few nervy moments but he recovered well and helped shore up the backline in the second half. Varane can always be relied on to make up any ground the opposition gains on him with sublimely-timed sliding tackles, as was the case again tonight. Higuain shouldn’t be looking forward to having to duel withthe French centre-back again next week.
Marcelo 7.5: A more comfortable defensive outing for Marcelo than his full-back counterpart endured on the right-hand side, which allowed him the freedom he needed to attack. His overlapping runs always offer a chance to stretch the defence, and on the 72nd minute he got his reward after playing a neat one-two with Ronaldo to tap-in a third goal for Real.
Luka Modric 7: You can’t help but feel sorry for Modric. Having missed out on the all-important second leg tie in Paris a month ago, the Croatian midfielder recovered in time for this vital clash. The only problem was that Zidane placed him on the right-hand side of a 4-4-2 formation which severely limited Modric’s impact. The energy he burned to assist with Carvajal defensively, though you can’t fault his effort, meant he had little to offer going forward before being subbed for Matteo Kovacic after 81 minutes. Hopefully he returns to his more natural, central position in future.
Casemiro 7: It was a typical Casemiro performance, where he contained the Juve attack, mostly in the second half than the opening period, and tried to become a creative force from deep. But, he struggled immensely with the Bianconeri’s high-press, and his attempts to pass out of trouble from his own-half led to much panic in Real’s backline. Zizou must have set him straight during the half-time team talk as those problems were non-existant after the break.
Toni Kroos 8: What a relief to have the ever-calm, ever-creative Toni Kroos back for the bigger matches. His presence soothes his teammates, and his ability to control these high-paced contests is always impressive. He was constantly picking the ball up from deep and looking to play it forward, garnering a 95% passing accuracy with 98 passes, per whoscored.com. Unlucky not to score after smashing a first-half effort off of Gigi Buffon’s crossbar. Sat deeper in the second-half as Madrid soaked up Juve’s pressure.
Isco 7.5: The in-form Spaniard was probably the liveliest player on the pitch until the 4th minute where his dazzling movement set up Ronaldo’s opener. After that, Juve ran rampant and Madrid struggled to get their creative players involved. Despite that, Isco’s confidence remained intact as he continuously took players on before being substituted late in the second-half. An all-round good showing, which included a perfect passing percentage of 100% from his 54 attempts.
Karim Benzema 6: It may seem harsh to offer a player devoid of much service such a low score, but there’s no denying the invisibility of Benzema tonight. When his playmaking and creativity is lacking, there’s really nothing else he offers. Struggled against the physicality of Giorgio Chiellini, and only tried beating him with his pace once throughout the contest. A disappointing performance that was cut short when Lucas Vasquez came on in his place before the hour-mark.
Cristiano Ronaldo 9.5: Save the best until last. We all know what’s coming when a massive Champions League game comes around, yet we’re still surprised when Ronaldo’s magic occurs. It only took him three minutes to get his name on the score sheet as his attacking instinct seen him move in front of Chiellini to toe-poke home a crucial away goal. Commentators didn’t mention his name much from that moment on, until the 62nd minute, when his magnificent acrobatic effort left Buffon, and the rest of the Allianz Stadium, stunned. It was the best goal I’ve ever seen live, and I still can’t believe it happened. Simply sensational. He topped off his night by providing the assist for Marcelo’s goal before somehow missing from point-blank range in injury-time when it was easier to score. Appreciate him while he’s here people!
Lucas Vasquez 7: For a player that only appeared to offer some energy and fresh legs as Juve continued to attack, Vasquez played quite the part during his outing. His saved attempt led to Ronaldo’s extraordinary finish, and he was felled in the penalty box shortly afterwards but the referee refused to point to the spot. His speed makes him a constant threat, while his determination to impress his admirable. Should have had an assist as well.
Marco Asensio 6: Asensio didn’t have too much to do, coming on for Isco after 75 minutes when Real already held a comfotable cushion. But, he didn’t make 3 mistakes and allow Juve to comeback so we’ll give him a nice, solid 6 for reliability. You’re welcome, Marco.
Matteo Kovacic: n/a