Opening night at the Bernabeu for Lopetegui and the boys and they did not disappoint. It is clear that the team is still adapting to the new style and their roles, but confidence continues to grow and this looks like a squad that will be fun to watch:
Keylor Navas—8: Made a few superb reflex stops and was aggressive off his line. Debatable whether he could have done more on Higuain’s early goal, but the ball did dip right under his dive. Overall a great performance and a message sent after Courtois arrival.
Dani Carvajal—8: Massively improved in the last two games. His touch has been first class, bringing down cross field long balls with ease and driving forward into attack. Delivered a beautiful cross for Benzema to head home within 90 seconds of the match starting.
Sergio Ramos—8: Kept Higuain in his back pocket all evening. Sprayed some beautiful long balls to switch the play.
Varane—7.5: Looks like he has been playing under Lopetegui for years. Pressed very high to when possession and lock Milan within their half. Got a solid 60 minutes under his belt after returning as World Champion.
Marcelo—7: Has not lost a beat. Was his usual-self gliding up the pitch and supplementing the attack with his Brazilian flair.
Casemiro—6: First game back for Casemiro and still finding his role under Lopetegui. Kroos comes deep to get in the ball and dictate the tempo while Casemiro has to hedge forward in a RCM role, making him obsolete in Madrid’s build up. Defensively, he tracked back well and had a few good tackles, but will be interesting to see how his role develops.
Kroos—8: The German will be one of, if not the most, important player in Lopetegui’s system. Everything goes through him and his pin-point precision passing was a joy to behold.
Isco—6.5: A solid game from Isco, where he operated in the center of midfield in front of both Casemiro and Kroos, hedging to the left to combine with Marcelo and Asensio.
Marco Asensio—7: Another energetic and dynamic performance from Marco. He operated mostly down the left, but switched flanks with Gareth Bale on a couple of occasions.
Gareth Bale—8: Grabbed a poacher’s goal on a corner kick as the ball opportunistically fell to his right foot. His third goal in as many games and the Welsh-man looks to be hitting top gear entering the season.
Karim Benzema—8: Scored the first goal within 90 seconds. Started the play with a quick one-two combination with Asensio and then found the cross from Carvajal—placing the header in the net. His off the ball movement, pressing, and finishing has looked good in pre-season.
Nacho—7: Played at both left back and center back and as per usual put in a solid shift.
Dani Ceballos—8: One of the best players this pre-season. Game after game he has shown his quality. There is no need for another midfielder, let Dani eat up those minutes left by Kovacic.
Marcos Llorente—7: Looks to be growing in confidence with each game. Operated at both defensive midfield and center back. Was tidy in possession and snuffed most of Milan’s counters.
Sergio Reguilon—6.5: Came in for Varane around the hour mark. Not as involved as most of his other games, but kept Milan off the score-board.
Lucas Vazquez—6: Quiet performance from Lucas on the right flank. Played the final 15 minutes and didn’t have the chance to make a big impact.
Borja Mayoral—7: Grabbed a goal off of a Donnarumma’s save from Luka Modric’s shot.
Luka Modric—8: Even in a 15 minute cameo Luka Modric showed his class. Was brought on to a standing ovation and nearly nabbed a goal.
Vinicius Junior—8: Every time the Brazilian touches the ball, the crowd breathes in with excitement. He brought flair and typical Brazilian samba skills to the end of the game. A role has an impact substitution could be on the cards for young VJ.
Fede Valverde—7: Played as the holding midfielder and had a few well time slide tackles to disposes the opposition. Calm and composed in possession—another one of the surprise packages of the preseason.
Sergio Lopez—6: Had the final 15 minutes at right back and did not have much action to contend with while on the pitch.
Andriy Lunin—6: Did not have any action, but one back pass which he handled well and picked a pass out for Lucas V.