I’ve been sat here for half an hour pondering on how to construct this piece, and quite frankly still have little clue. Real Madrid have just been completely obliterated on their own turf by Ajax, dumping them out of the Champions League in the process. This game was unlike anything I have ever seen before as a Real Madrid fan. Let’s make one thing very clear before we go any further: it is not my, nor any other member of staff’s job to be the face of your aimless animosity. Whilst the majority of you are a joy to converse with, I’m more than aware that some are unable to filter their emotions. Reading this sentence will be your only warning. The player ratings from the game can be seen below.
Thibaut Courtois: — 5: You can split Thibaut’s performance half in half into the good and the bad. To start off with: he made some world class saves, and without him I couldn’t bear to think about what the scoreline would have been. I really am not sure he could have done much about three of the four goals scored. There was also plenty of bad. His distribution was deficient, as seen previously. The majority of the time he would just lump the ball long into, seemingly as if it was instructed. Despite his considerable height he was beaten by the lofted chip technique on more than one occasion, conceding the second goal in that fashion. A mixed night but many had worse.
Dani Carvajal: — 3: Dani certainly was not one to not give up trying, but he was simply just largely ineffective tonight. In attack he was invisible, and David Neres and company made it a night to forget.
Raphaël Varane: — 3.5: Two of the team’s best chances fell to Varane, who hit the bar very early on with a header - before volleying straight at the keeper some time later. Besides this he was again inadequate, and was unable to deal with the pressure all game long.
Nacho Fernández: — 2: The replacement of Sergio Ramos could not have been more distant from the captain, besides the red card! Nacho was unable to organise the defence as they were completely torn apart, and often made to look like amateurs. Eventually he just resorted to silly fouls which resulted in him seeing red just before the final whistle.
Sergio Reguilón: — 4: Probably one of Sergio’s worst games for the first team. There were still positives to take away for him. Although he came close to scoring, and provided a few contributions from the left, he was still pretty quiet offensively. That being said he did manage to claim an assist for the goal after nutmegging his man and finding Asensio. He still was unable to deal with the sharp Ajax attackers and was caught out during a couple of the goals. Still, one of the stronger players for Madrid.
Casemiro: — 2.5: You can usually always count on Casemiro to at the very least soak up the opposition’s play, but today he could not even do that. He was annihilated for the second goal by Tadic, and was nowhere to be seen during any of the other three. On the ball he was as invisible as he was off of it. He was eventually brought off for Fede Valverde.
Toni Kroos: — 3.5: A very slow performance from the German. His efforts on the ball proved to be unproductive, whilst off of the ball they were even worse. Whilst we can slate the defence and Casemiro for being unable to do their jobs, Kroos was dribbled past twice as much as any other player. His lethargic conduction certainly did not help with the proceedings.
Luka Modrić: — 4.5: It has to be said that Luka passed the eye-test on the ball. He carried it well and attempted to link up the play. His work rate was high as always, and he wasn’t one to drop his head. In-spite of this, he still had a below par showing. He was dispossessed before the first goal, allowing Ajax to spring onto the counter. It was also relatively easy for Ajax players to bypass him on the ball, and he had a hard time dealing with the attacking flare on show by the visitors.
Lucas Vázquez: — 4: He produced one top quality cross which saw Varane hit the bar, but could not muster up much else. He had to come off early due to injury, and was replaced by Gareth Bale. He was visibly emotional after realising he wouldn’t be able to continue, which was sad to see.
Vinícius Júnior: — 6: Another victim to the heavy schedule, Vinícius had to come off shortly after Vázquez with an injury of his own. Whilst he was on the pitch he provided nearly all of Real Madrid’s danger though. He engaged in multiple dribbles towards goal and came as close as the side netting to scoring. Did make a couple of mistakes, but the team looked far more reserved after his departure.
Karim Benzema: — 3: Didn’t really get involved, failing to link up with his fellow attackers they way he so often can. Had two great chances to score but fell over for a tap-in on one after winning the ball back, and shot wide after beating his man for the other. Besides that was scarcely seen.
Gareth Bale — 3.5: Came on for Vázquez pretty early on, but only made things worse for himself. A host of missed chances later, he looked to withstand some damage to his right ankle. He never really looked cohesive with his teammates.
Marco Asensio — 6: Another one of Madrid’s better players. Came on for Vinícius in the first half, and carried on the baton to become Madrid’s most dangerous player. Hit a couple of long ranged efforts wide, before scoring the team’s goal with a sneaky finish inside the area.
Fede Valverde: Came on for Casemiro right at the end when the game was dead. Despite the large amounts of added time, he couldn’t impose himself enough to earn a rating. Would have been nice to see him earlier.
I still don’t really know what to say about this one. It was such a weird game to watch, but now Madrid are out of all competitions, and they need to focus on maintaining a healthy spot in the top four and finish off the campaign a positively as possible. A lot is to happen in the summer, but until then there is not much that can be done. What would your player ratings for this one look like?