For the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final, Real Madrid hosted Chelsea at the Alfredo Di Stefano and held on for a 1-1 draw. Playing in an unusual 3-5-2 formation, Zinedine Zidane’s men were exploited by the Blues early on but a wonder-goal from Karim Benzema kept Madrid from blushing.
See full player ratings below.
Thibaut Courtois — 7.5: Will be upset that Chelsea walk away with an away goal in their pocket. Got a hand to the ball at Pulisic’s feet but had to be careful to not bring him down. Made a strong save early on in the match. Finished with a 90% pass completion rate, four saves, and two claims.
Eder Militão — 8: Had difficulty with his positioning in the first half but was the most physical defender. Nowhere near the play leading up to Chelsea’s goal. Looked determined to win balls and was visibly angry when things didn’t pan out (nice to see the passion). Finished with a 91% pass completion rate, two dribbles, two aerials won, seven tackles, one key pass, and technically assisted Benzema’s goal.
Raphael Varane — 7: Looked a bit shaky at the back and very unlucky to have Pulisic’s shot deflect off him and into the net. Sometimes had trouble keeping pace with the Chelsea players but overall had a decent performance. Should have done better with his header attempt (Ramos was visibly frustrated). Finished with one shot, 95% pass completion, one dribble, one aerial won, and one tackle.
Nacho — 6.5: Not the best performance from Nacho given what we have seen in recent weeks. Looked better when the team changed into a 4-3-3 in the second half. Finished with one shot and three aerials won.
Dani Carvajal — 6.5: Still appears to be easing back to full fitness which is predicted but not the best for Zidane’s side. Couldn’t find space along the wing often and had trouble with his passing. Finished with two tackles. Substituted after 77 minutes.
Luka Modric — 6.75: Was very quiet in the first half with Kroos nowhere near him but formation adjustment in the second half helped Modric get into the game. Was not as influential on the pitch as he can be given how often Chelsea pressured and looked slow. Finished with just one key pass.
Casemiro — 7.5: Wasn’t afraid to get physical with the Chelsea players which was good. A regular workhorse Casemiro performance seeing him pop up on the pitch when you need him to. Finished with three aerial duels, two key passes, and three tackles.
Toni Kroos — 8.5: Makes his return to the pitch and didn’t miss a beat. Was forced to drop back into the left-back position at times and that limited his output but still was on point for Madrid throughout the 90 minutes. Finished with two shots, 92% pass completion, three aerials won, two key passes, and four tackles.
Marcelo — 6: Was surprised to see Marcelo start given he can be hit or miss for Madrid and have to say it was the latter tonight. Had trouble positioning himself (not sure what position it was supposed to be, really), couldn’t find ways out of Chelsea’s press and lacked the speed to help the center-backs handle speedy attackers. Finished with a low 79% pass completion rate, one shot, and two tackles. Substituted after 77 minutes.
Vini Jr. — 6.5: The new formation meant a lot would be expected of Vini Junior up top to create more play with Benzema but he didn’t really hit the mark. Really need him to start performing at his best again, we know he can do it. Finished with one dribble and two key passes. Substituted after 66 minutes.
Karim Benzema — 8: Grande Karim. Who else would be the one to save Madrid? The formation left Benzema less involved than usual but he scored an absolute stellar goal to save Zidane’s men from blushing. He is now the joint-fourth highest UCL scorer in history (71 goals, tied with Raul). Finished with four shots, one key pass and one dribble. Subbed after 92 minutes.
Eden Hazard — 6: Made a cameo against his former club but didn’t have much to offer for Madrid. Made one or two decent plays but nothing came out of them, unfortunately. Will like to see him more involved on the weekend before the second leg. Will be key to a big performance at Stamford Bridge next week.
Alvaro Odriozola— 6: Came on for Carvajal in a straight swap but didn’t help Madrid open up along the wings. Could have used his speed to help the team push forward but couldn’t find a way through. Just two passes in the 15 minutes he had but finished with two tackles.
Marco Asensio — 6: Another substitute who wasn’t able to make a difference. Sometimes played on the same wing as Hazard which was a bit confusing. Need him to find his form again as soon as possible.
Rodrygo — N/A: Not enough time on the pitch.