Ancelotti announced prior to the match that he would be sticking with the 4-3-3 formation moving forward. This meant that the Italian wanted a natural winger on the right side of the pitch to balance out the team. Thus a front three of Vinicius - Rodyrgo - Benzema started the match, a three that many fans have been calling for in matches prior. That trident did not disappoint. Vinicius scored two brilliant goals and assisted another, Rodyrgo drifted centrally and scored with his weaker foot, while Benzema provided an assist (and was involved in nearly every goal) and scored the fifth of the game to keep the hype around his Balon d’Or campaign high. It was a feel-good win before El Clasico, with Ancelotti likely to repeat the same lineup. Full match player ratings below:
Thibaut Courtois—8: Was not made to work too hard in this match, but came up with a couple of brilliant saves to preserve his clean sheet.
Lucas Vazquez—7.5: This was the Lucas Vazquez at right back we had grown to know and love last season. With the team easing off the press, Vazquez was less exposed at fullback and was able to focus on his offensive contributions.
Eder Militao—8: Strong performance with calculated step-up interventions. A few clumsy moments with the ball at his feet, but a rock defensively.
David Alaba—8: Continues to impress, especially with his distribution from the back. The Austrain had more passes and a higher pass completion rate than even Toni Kroos. Developed a good synergy with Ferland Mendy.
Ferland Mendy—8.5: What a difference it makes with Ferland Mendy in the Real Madrid team. The left back immediately raises the team’s level. After 5 months out, did not miss a beat.
Casemiro—8: 21 days of rest and no longer having to press in the opposition’s box meant Casemiro was back to his best — breaking up counter-attacks and slowing Shaktar down in transition. With Kroos back in the side, Casemiro was not relied upon as much for his on-ball passing, allowing him to focus on his defensive duties.
Luka Modric—8: A magician. The Croatian continues to defy his age and produce scintillating performances. His pass to Vinicius JR on the second goal of the game was Guti-esque.
Toni Kroos—8: Just like Mendy, Kroos immediately raises the level of this team. He was everything to the team’s build up and dictated the pace of play.
Rodrygo Goes—8: Was given an opportunity to start the match and the Brazilian took his opportunity with both hands. Was a constant threat down the right and displayed some brilliant skill in 1 v 1 scenarios. Scored a goal, coming in from the right and drifting centrally with a late arriving run after a Vinicius cut-back. This may be the start of a run in the team for young Rodyrgo.
Vinicius JR—9: What a player. Each of the two goals he scored was a work of art. The first, an intelligent run and deft chip to beat the keeper. The second, a collection of brilliant individual skill moments with Vinicius beating three defenders inside the box before smashing the ball in the back of the net with his left foot.
Karim Benzema—8: Had a hand in nearly every goal Real Madrid scored and got one himself late in the game to finish the match off at 5-0.
Marcelo—7: A solid cameo from Marcelo who provided rest for Mendy. Played most of his 20 minutes in the final third, connecting with Vinicius and Benzema.
Camavinga—7: Had a couple of good moments, including a body fake down the left flank that left his marker trailing.
Fede Valverde—6: Entered the match for Luka Modric and kept things rolling with the scoreline already at 4-0.
Marco Asensio—7: Played on the right wing, replacing Rodyrgo, and served a few good crosses and was active in transition, running at a retreating Shaktar backline.
Jesus Vallejo—N/A: Played the final 5 minutes of the match to make his season debut.