When the line-up was announced during the pre-match, it left an uninspiring feeling. The on-field performances only gave validations to those sensations. Despite the Kroos, Casemiro, and Modric midfield, long ago proving that it is no longer up to the task - Zidane persisted. The trio played without the help of Isco (out with an injury) or the dynamism of Fede Valverde (left on the bench). The royal white’s put forth one of their worst displays of the season and rightly loss to a Real Betis team who were without a win in their last five matches. Did Real Madrid think La Liga was won after El Clasico? There is still a long way to go and performances like tonight will only see them drop more points. Full match ratings below:
Tonight's starting XI to face @RealBetis_en!#RealBetisRealMadrid | #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/R6E2Ymo3zL— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) March 8, 2020
Thibaut Courtois—6.5: Probably one of the few performances that can be salvaged from this match. Made a great save early in the first half to deny Fekir from inside the box. Could questions be asked on Sidnei’s goal where the Brazilian smashed the ball past Courtois’ near post?
Eder Militao—4: Looked very uncomfortable as a right back. Lingered on the ball and lost possession 22 time (joint highest on the team with Lucas Vazquez). In one sequence, lost possesion and then was easily beaten by Fekir. Once Fekir went past the Brazilian, he made no effort to try and recover.
Raphael Varane—6.5: One of the few good performers vs Betis. As we have become so accustom to seeing, Varane acted like sweeper — recovering every loose ball and winning every foot race that came his way.
Sergio Ramos—3: A liability tonight. Needlessly dribbled the ball in his box instead of clearing the set-piece thus allowing Betis to steal the ball of his foot and find Sidnie who rocketed the ball into the back of the net.
Marcelo—4: Played 59 minutes before coming off with an injury, but provided very little on both sides of the ball.
Casemiro—4: This game felt like a flashback to the 2017/2018 La Liga season with a Kroos - Casemiro - Modric midfield with Casemiro floating between the lines acting as a “#10” or the most advanced midfield player. Needless to say Madrid lacked creativity and solutions in the final third and with Case operating as one of the most advanced players, it didn’t play to his or Madrid’s strengths.
Toni Kroos—4.5: Very quiet game from the German - without Isco to play off of in the left half space or Fede Valverde to find on the diagnol switch, the midfield maestro only had the direct line to Vinicus as his sole option.
Luka Modric—5: In all fairness to the Croatian, he worked tremendously hard — but should Luka Modric really be starting these games, should he even be starting the amount of games that he has this season? Modric is turning 35-years-old this summer and is at the point in his career, where he should be brought on in the final 20-30 minutes to control games, not try to run the show for 90 minutes.
Lucas Vazquez—3: The Spanish right winger is an impact player off the bench when you need to solidify a lead with a two-way winger. His game was too one-dimensional and offered little variation or solutions to Madrid’s attacking woes.
Karim Benzema—3: Scored a great penalty, but aside from that he has continued with his very poor run of form. The Frenchman has to take the majority of the blame for Betis’ game-winning goal, as play a square pass to his center-back in his own half, a school-boy mistake.
Vinicius JR—4.5: Seemed the most likely of the three attacking players to make something happen, but that’s not saying much. Had one good opportunity in the 15th minute after cutting inside on his right foot and nearly slipped his shot past the near post.
Ferland Mendy—6: Came in for an injured Marcelo in the 59th minute. Nearly scored the go-ahead goal for Madrid when he swung his right foot across the ball, only to see it beat Robles but denied by the crossbar.
Mariano—5.5: Stayed high and occupied the center-backs, while Benzema dropped deep to help the team build out. Got his head on a few lofted crosses, but unable to get enough power to challenge Robles.
Fede Valverde—N/A: Played the final 10 minutes, and only managed 7 touches.