Euphoria. Real Madrid have won their first Clasico at the Bernabeu in La Liga since the 2014/2015 season. The biggest surprise in the line-ups was the decision from Zidane to sit the defensively reliable Mendy, and trust Marcelo, who up to that point had not rediscovered his best level. The Brazilian rolled back the years tonight and put in his best performance in the last two seasons. Nearly every Real Madrid player put in a good shift, which converted into a vital three points for Real Madrid. Full match ratings below:
✅ Our #ElClásico starting XI!#HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/N7HSSuvF7t— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) March 1, 2020
Thibaut Courtois—9: What a season the Belgian has had this year and he continued his inspired form in the biggest match of the season. In the first half alone, made three massive saves inside the box to stop both Arthur Melo and Messi from what looked like certain goals.
Dani Carvajal—9: Took all of the criticism from Wednesday’s match and channeled it into one of his best ever Real Madrid performances. He was sensational tonight. Near-perfect in possession and timed all of his moments to pressure to near-perfection as well. Formed a solid partnership with Fede Valverde down the right flank to solidify Madrid’s defensive stability on their right channel. Made two huge blocks in the first half to prevent dangerous goal-scoring opportunities. Had a team high of 4 tackles.
Raphael Varane—7.5: His comfort in possession, even in advanced positions where most center-backs would be uncomfortable, is among the many things that makes Varane elite. His comfort and composure on the ball allowed the team to build out of the back.
Sergio Ramos—7.5: Aggressive and assertive in defense — the captain was huge in the heart of defense.
Marcelo—8.5: The Brazilian, who has so often been the liability this season, put in one of his best performances of the season. Rolled back the years to make a goal denying tackle on Lionel Messi and celebrated it like a goal, exeduing pure Madrisimo.
Casemiro—8.5: A tactical and disciplined performance from the Brazilian. Made a couple crucial tackles to prevent a Barcelona goal-scoring chance, including a last-minute, well-timed, heel tackle in the box on Lionel Messi. In fact, he dominated Lionel Messi, making countless hard yet clean crunching tackles on the Argentine.
Toni Kroos—7.5: His moment of brilliance came via an assist to Vinicius JR on Madrid’s first goal. Patiently waited for the Brazilian’s run and then threaded his pass into the path of the on-running winger. One criticism would be around his shooting on the night. The German had three shots from outside the box, but did not get a single shot on target.
Fede Valverde—8: What a player Real Madrid have unearthed. The Uruguayan put his motor the ultimate test with a pseudo RW role. Defensively, on the right flank, he was tasked with man-marking Alba and tracking his runs. On the weak side, Fede was asked to tuck-inside and cover Frenkie De Jong. At some points he was a RWB, at others a RCM, and others a RW. Combined well with Carvajal and swung in some dangerous crosses.
Isco—9: Is Isco Real Madrid’s most in-form player in 2020? Drifted between the lines and proved to be at his press-resistance best. Curled in a near-perfect shot from outside the box which Ter Stegen somehow managed to tip-over the bar. Then after the hour mark, Isco, of all players on the pitch, wins a header in the box, only to see it cleared off the line by Pique.
Vinicius JR—8: The work rate is there, the raw and lethal speed is there, but the decision-making and overall final end product was still lacking for the 19-year-old for most of the night. But, his moment eventually arrived. After being threaded through by Kroos the Brazilian clinically finished to put Madrid into the driver seat and give them their first La Liga Clasico win since 2015/2016.
Karim Benzema—7: Karim played his role well, he formed triangle patterns and attacking outlets in transitions all throughout the night.
Luka Modric—6: Came on to try and bring tranquility to a chaotic match. Nearly helped Vinicius score a second late in the game.
Lucas Vazquez—6: Completed all his passed with 100% accuracy and fulfilled the Fede role for the final five minutes.
Mariano—9: Less than 2 minutes to play, but that didn’t matter to Mariano. The canterano took his opportunity with both hands and sentenced Barcelona to the sword with his second goal.