The Corona-virus pandemic and resulting lock-down could not have affected these two clubs any differently. Real Sociedad were having a fantastic season, sitting in the top four whilst patiently waiting for the Copa del Rey final, a tournament in which they knocked Real Madrid out along the way. Since that cup defeat at home, Madrid looked shoddy - dropping points and defeats in unexpected fixtures to put them behind in every competition. After the three month break, everything changed. Real Madrid have used that time to recharge and have been playing some of their best football of the season. Sociedad on the other hand look lost, and their immaculate system has gone out of the window amidst all of the rotations and changes. No wins since the return of football for them has lost them their place in the top four, and most of their players including Madrid’s own Martin Ødegaard looked spaced out. Still, with Madrid needing a win to go back to the top of the table after their good run - this was going to be a test for them. Goals from Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema were enough to earn the three points in a 2-1 win. Find out how the players fared below.
Thibaut Courtois — 6.5: Another fine game from the big Belgian. Looked like he was going to be afforded a clean-sheet after a dubious decision to disallow Junazaj’s second half ‘goal’ - but a Merino effort in off of the bar from very closed range wasn’t going to be stopped. Until that string of chances from the hosts he was not required much elsewhere.
Dani Carvajal — 6: Looked a little one dimensional at times on the right, but still contributed a fair amount in offensive areas. Dealt with Sociedad’s second half pressure well.
Sergio Ramos — 8: Scored yet another penalty to give Real Madrid the lead. Was a rock at the back and Sociedad never looked like scoring when he was on the pitch. Hobbled off not long after his goal after clocking in a few too many miles over the past few games.
Raphaël Varane — 7: His pace kept Isak quiet in the dangerous areas and stopped through balls from Ødegaard and co. causing any damage. Had to step up after Sergio’s departure and managed to do enough.
Marcelo — 6: Didn’t have quite the impact that he managed in the first game back against Eibar. Looked his usual self when surging forward, and wasn’t really punished for any lack of discipline by a weary Sociedad side.
Casemiro — 6.5: His presence was as important as ever, and he went straight in to a number of duels with the opposition. One of those did result in a yellow card however, meaning he won’t be around for the next game!
Toni Kroos — 7: It is a delight to have a player like Kroos on your side during these weird pre-season vibe fixtures. He cleaned up and controlled play throughout, resisting any attempts at a press from the opposition whilst making them work twice as hard.
Fede Valverde — 7: Fede provided a bit of spark in the midfield today, often picking the ball up in dangerous areas and making things happen. He recorded the assist for Benzema’s goal, providing the cross for the Frenchman to take down with his......
James Rodríguez— 6: I saw James taking a big hit for being in the line-up before the game, but in truth he wasn’t that bad. He did not however have a particularly productive game, serving as a middle man to keep the ball moving well over the course of the game.
Vinícius Júnior — 9: I’ve been watching Vinícius since his very first games with the club at Castilla, and he hasn’t produced many performances in a Madrid shirt better than this. His dribbling was so lethal today all game long, and Sociedad just couldn't stop him. The run for the first goal was incredible, and although it wasn’t really a credible penalty shout at all - the fact he managed to carry the ball to that position in the first place took a lot of skill. His pace was on show more than I have seen previously, with the added bonus of it being purposeful. His positioning to give himself a yard made him a completely free man once it was time to fully turn the burners on. His finishing after a couple of those superb runs was still questionable, but besides that the Brazilian was easily the best player on the pitch. I hope he can keep this kind of performance going!
Karim Benzema — 7: The Frenchman’s goal may have been the least controversial of the day, but it was not without its hecklers. The striker took the ball down around his shoulder before cutting back and finishing across the keeper to keep his scoring form ticking.
Éder Militão — 6: The first change to be made after Ramos had to come off with injury. Éder looked fine once coming in and had to deal with the strongest efforts Real Sociedad put forward.
Mariano Díaz — 4: I didn’t like Mariano’s cameo in this game. It is hard to tell how prepared players are coming into these games with the added context, but normally this man would be as ready as can be to eat up the few chances given to him. Although he controlled the ball nicely and created space to shoot at one point, his end shot could not have been higher. Still, I want this man to play a lot more during this final stretch, and I think he will.
Marco Asensio: Marco came on at the same time as Mariano, but did not do enough to get a rating. This is better than doing enough to earn a bad rating though...
Luka Modrić: Came on with a few minutes to go at the end to pass time over. Did the job, but no rating.
Ferland Mendy: Same principle. Came on with just minutes left to play. No rating.
After the Madrid goals, and the disallowed Sociedad goal - I actually felt quite awkward watching the game play out. However, come the end I believe Madrid deserved the win with their play - and they won’t be complaining either-way. Madrid next play in two days time against Mallorca back at the Alfredo Di Stéfano. Yet more Castilla graduates will be returning home for the third game in a row... How did you rate each player? And what did you think about the game?