Barcelona and Real Madrid finished a game at 0-0 for the first time in 17 years. Despite the lack of goals, there was no lack of drama. Goal line clearances from Pique and Sergio Ramos for each team as well as two controversial non-penalty calls. Both of which should have been ruled in favor of Real Madrid. In terms of strong opportunities, Fede Valverde was connected perfectly with two volleys to test Ter Stegen’s net while Messi fluffed a good chance with a rare poor touch. Real Madrid were the better side in the first half, but failed to capitalize on their control. Barcelona had more space to operate in the second forty-five, likely due to their extra day of rest, and thus created more opportunities. Ultimately a draw may be a fair result, but Real Madrid will come away knowing they have passed all their major tests since the Mallorca loss. Full match player ratings below:
Thibaut Courtois—7: Faced two shots on target and dealt with them well. Was quicker and cleaner with his feet and found his target (Benzema and Bale) when distributing long.
Dani Carvajal—7.5: Tasked with virtually man-marking Antione Greizmann and organized the right flank well with Gareth Bale. If Greizmann dropped deep and central, Dani would follow, while Bale stuck to his man-marking role on Jordi Alba. Worked tirelessly to get involved in the attack and produced 2 key passes on the night.
Raphael Varane—9: Immense. The French defender produced one of his best performances of the season. It’s never an easy task to mark Luis Suarez, but Varane nullified the Uruguayan’s impact and stopped any and all counter attacks.
Sergio Ramos—8.5: Like his CB partner, put his body on the line for the sake of the team. Made two crucial interventions, including a goal-line save and goal-preventing sliding tackle on Luis Suarez within the 18 yard box.
Ferland Mendy—6.5: Early on, struggled to navigate the tactical side of the match. He was often caught in two minds – whether to press Sergi Roberto or hold and cover the space Messi occupied. As the match wore on, Ramos and Casemiro did a better job of shepherding the Frenchman through the game and his quality started to come out. Still lacking precision on his final ball or the final cross.
Casemiro—9: The best defensive midfielder in the world right now, once again performed when the team needed him. Had a team high of 5 tackles including a crucial heel tackle on Lionel Messi in the final 15 minutes of the match.
Toni Kroos—8: A team high of 3 key passes, 76 total passes (again team high) with 95% pass accuracy. Kroos was the metronome to the Real Madrid midfield and his press resistance was crucial in helping the team build out from the back.
Fede Valverde—8: Each and every game we come to see just how pivotal Fede Valverde is to this Real Madrid team. He broke lines with his ball carrying ability, was composed in possession, and produced two venomous volleys which nearly found the back of the net. The Uruguayan relished the opportunity of his first clasico.
Isco—7.5: The diminutive playmaker was often valve that allowed Real Madrid to breathe when breaking through Barca’s first lines of pressure. He had a team high of 3 completed dribbles and did a good job of pulling off vertical passes in the final third.
Gareth Bale—7: Gareth had a big role against Barcelona; he had to man-mark Jordi Alba and then on the offensive side of the ball had to get up the field quick enough to provide an outlet on the counter and exploit the space Jordi left behind. He had some nice touches and some good whipped in crosses within the first half. Finished the match with 2 shots and 2 key passes.
Karim Benzema—7.5: If you watched Benzema closely, he did a tremendous job in holding up the ball and anticipating the pressure or attempted tackles from Lenglet and Pique. His technique and ball control is second to none.
Rodrygo—6: Played the final 11 minutes and only had 9 touches – not much time to make an impact. Looked confident on the ball and not out of place for an 18-year-old in his first clasico.
Luka Modric—6: Came on with Rodyrgo in the final 11 minutes of the match, kept the midfield ticking with 18 passes at 95% completion rate.