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Player Ratings: Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona; 2020/21 LaLiga

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Perseverance saves Real Madrid as they win third consecutive Clásico for the first time in 43 years

Real Madrid v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

The biggest game of the season, the biggest Clásico in years. Real Madrid were under immense pressure playing bitter rivals Barcelona at the Alfredo Di Stefano and with a bit of luck and perseverance, they were able to grind out a win and go top of the table.

See full player ratings below.

Thibaut Courtois — 8: Couldn’t do much about Mingueza’s goal. Made a save on Jordi Alba’s cross into the box to prevent an equalizer and saved another Barcelona attempt late on. Also saved Messi’s free kick in the 90th minute. Will be thanking the woodwork, too.

Lucas Vazquez — 7.5: Fans will be anxiously waiting for scan results after Vazquez came off with an injury to his knee. But for the 43 minutes he played, he was instrumental in helping Madrid take a 2-0 lead. Influential in both defence and offence. Finished with an assist, one shot, one key pass and two tackles.

Éder Militão — 7.5: Had a lot of pressure on him in this match, but stood strong to stifle any waves of attack from Barça. Paired well with Nacho again which is a promising sign. Finished with one shot and two tackles.

Nacho — 8: Veteran performance. Cautioned for a last-ditch tackle on Messi and misses the next match (cause for concern given the thin defence) but the move was needed. Teamed up well with Militão at the back as well. Finished with one dribbled and one tackle.

Ferland Mendy — 6.5: Two-sided performance. Worked well with Vini Jr. down the left but had a few close calls. Very luck not to get a penalty called against him not once, but twice and caught on his heels for Mingueza’s goal. Given a lower rating for the gambling. Finished with one dribble and two tackles.

Casemiro — 7: Extremely physical tonight, which was needed to break up Barça’s spells of possession. All over the pitch and put his body on the line for Real Madrid. But, two quick yellows saw him sent off in the 90th minute and that will have implications for the next league match. Finished with very low 69% pass completion rate, two aerials and four tackles.

Fede Valverde — 8: A surprise starter from Zinedine Zidane but proved his worth in the first half. Influential in both goals and marked Jordi Alba exceptionally well. Speed was also a crucial factor in transition and had a cracker of a shot hit off the post. Finished with two shots, one dribble, one key pass and two aerials.

Toni Kroos — 8.5: As always, the midfield magician for Madrid and walks away man of the match. Free-kick deflected into the net to score Madrid’s second goal and almost scored another but misplaced his header. Finished with 93% pass completion, three shots, one key pass and two tackles.

Luka Modric — 8: Dropped into a defensive role very often, which gave Madrid an extra man at the back any time Barça pushed forward. Kept the engine running over 90 minutes. Finished with one shot, two dribbles and one tackle.

Vini Jr — 7.25: After a strong appearance against Liverpool, Vini earns the start again and had bright cameos throughout the match but still some questionable decision making. Showed defensive improvements, though and stretched Barça’s defence well. Finished with very low 63% pass completion, three dribbles, three tackles and three key passes.

Karim Benzema — 8: Did you see Benzema’s opener? You did? Well go watch it again, and again and again because that was pure class. He’s truly in the form of his life. Finished with one goal, three shots, one key pass and 93% pass completion rate.

Substitutes

Alvaro Odriozola — 6.5: Handed a massive test today coming in for Vazquez right before the break. Had a strong cameo and didn’t look shaky. Tried to put in a few crosses into the box but was sometimes caught out of position defending. Finished with three tackles but only 15 passes.

Marco Asensio — 6: A surprise drop from the starting XI but came in for Valverde at the hour mark. Madrid’s game plan changed in the second half becoming more defensive as Barça pushed forward so Asensio didn’t add much. Had just six passes in the 30 minutes he was on, though, two were key passes.

Isco — 6.5: The most active substitute in terms of searching for Madrid’s third goal but couldn’t get in on the action just like Asensio. Helped keep Barça at bay in the dying moments alongside Modric. Finished with only four passes but two shots and one tackle.

Marcelo — 7: Came on for Vini Junior after 72 minutes and was the leader on the pitch. Very vocal with his teammates and used his experience to help grind out the victory. Nice cameo from his as well. Finished with one shot and one tackle.

Mariano Diaz — 6: Handed 15 minutes from Zidane after coming on for Benzema. Also limited in attack because of Madrid’s game plan in the second. Looked eager at times but would have liked a bit more to try and seal the victory. Finished with two aerials and one tackle.