At long, long last – Real Madrid have returned to the football pitch. Zidane surprised everyone with the inclusion of 19-year-old Rodrygo Goes. The Brazilian earned the starting nod on the right wing. Valverde and Mendy were the notable exclusions with Zidane again trusting the “old guard”. The starting XI proved their motivation as the first half was a joy to watch. Madrid’s best attacking play all finished with a goal. Toni Kroos, Sergio Ramos, and Marcelo each managed to get on the score-sheet and allow Madrid to play in cruise control for the remainder of the match. The second half did not provide the same spectacle, but Madrid finished out the game with a 3-1 victory. Full match ratings below:
Thibaut Courtois—6: A passenger in the first half, Courtois came up with some big saves in the second. Edu Exposito brought out the best of the Belgian with a shot outside the box headed straight for the upper ninety, until Courtois laid a big paw to the ball. Though, his distribution left a lot to be desired. Of his 13 long balls, only 3 were accurate.
Dani Carvajal—6.5: The full back only played 45 minutes, but was solid in his return. Managed to get a crucial toe-poke intervention on one of the few Eibar opportunities in the first half.
Raphael Varane—7: The Frenchman won all of his aerial duels, managed 6 clearances, 2 interceptions, and had one tackle to win his only ground duel of the game.
Sergio Ramos—8.5: Sergio played an hour before being replaced by Militao. A rock in the heart of the defense. The Andalusian born defender timed his interceptions to perfection. Managed to go on a now routine attacking run 80-yards up the pitch to score Real Madrid’s second.
Marcelo—7.5: Finished the match off within 45 minutes after crushing a shot from around 15-yards out. One of the best versions of Marcelo seen this season. Tired in the 2nd half and struggled with the introduction of Pedro Leon, but left a strong impression in the first stanza.
Casemiro—6: A relatively easy day at the office for Casemiro, who never had to shift into 2nd gear. Managed 1 tackle, 2 interceptions, and 4 clearances.
Luka Modric—7: The Croatian rolled back the years in the first half looking fresher than he had over the past two seasons. Modric, and the team overall, took the foot of the gas in the second half and their play fizzled out.
Toni Kroos—8: Got the party started for Real Madrid with a sensational goal in the third minute. Did well to track back when Marcelo ventured forward.
Rodrygo Goes—6: A quiet performance from the Brazilian who was the surprise starter in the right wing position. Stuck to his defensive duties and tracked back well, but never managed to click with the rest of his teammates in the final third.
Eden Hazard—7.5: A fit and healthy Hazard will be crucial to Real Madrid in the final 11 matches. Today, the Belgian was able to pop up in more dangerous attacking positions, specifically the half space between the fullback and center back which allowed him to have an influence in all three goals. Unselfishly laid the ball off to Sergio Ramos in a 2 v 1 against Eibar Keeper, Dmitrovic.
Karim Benzema—7: The Frenchman was at center of all Madrid’s best play. His ability to retain possession and ward off defenders is invaluable for Madrid as the progress up the pitch. Completed all 3 of his dribbles and contributed with 2 key passes.
Ferland Mendy—5.5: Was forced to play right back due to a Dani Carvajal injury and very much looked like a left footed player playing right back. Was clumsy on the ball and failed to fully settle into the match until the final ten minutes.
Eder Militao—6: Played 30 minutes after replacing Sergio Ramos and slotted into the backline seamlessly.
Gareth Bale—4: No shots, no dribbles completed, no take-on’s, and only 14 touches with a 63% pass accuracy from his mere seven passes. It was not an encouraging display from Gareth Bale.
Vinicius JR—5.5: Put in the effort and looked to expose the Eibar defense with his blazing speed, but nothing came off for the Brazilian and was forced to put in more defensive work than he would have liked.
Fede Valverde—N/A: Played the final 7 minutes after replacing Luka Modric.