Carlo Ancelotti was not messing about when naming his first XI of the new season. Despite not playing any preseason matches, Benzema, Valverde and Hazard all started. In fact, Carlo Ancelotti went with all the big names upfront: Bale, Hazard, and Benzema. All three combined on Madrid’s first goal. That goal would break the deadlock and ultimately lead to a more open game, where Madrid would go on and prove to be clinical in the final third.
Full match ratings below:
Thibaut Courtois—6.5: Only had to make three saves on the day, but missed out on a clean sheet after a poor back pass from Militao forced Courtois to foul Guidetti and give up a penalty kick.
Lucas Vazquez—6: Played with first-game rust in the opening minutes of the match, but gradually grew into the game and recorded 2 key passes, including a pre-assist on the opening goal with Hazard and Benzema.
Militao—4: A rough 10 minutes in the second half will mark Militao’s performance. The Brazilian played an awful back pass to Courtois which resulted in a penalty. After the mistake, he was caught on the ball while on the right flank and hoofed a number of passes out of the back, rather than finding a Real Madrid target.
Nacho—8.5: A game high of 6 interceptions, Ramos-esque tackles down the left flank to deny a dangerous Alaves counter, and of course well-taken goal off a set piece.
David Alaba—7.5: The Austrian is quickly becoming a fan favorite. So confident in defending and cutting out passing lanes, assured on the ball, and focused for 90 minutes. Nabbed a late assist to Vinicius JR. A few times was caught with space in behind him while pressing high, but otherwise another very strong performance.
Casemiro—6: Interesting to note Casemiro’s position both when the team is in possession and out of possession. He is now asked to press higher up the pitch when defending and form as a decoy when the team is possesion. Had a team high of 4 tackles, but a number of misplaced passes (12 in total).
Luka Modric—8.5: Luka Modric may age, but no one can catch up to him in terms of football quality. The Croatian was class once again, the engine of the midfield and the player that made the team tick. 2 key passes, 1 assist, 100 touches (team high), 3 completed dribbles (team high), and two interceptions.
Fede Valverde—7: Night and day difference between Fede’s first half and second half. The first was rather quiet and unimposing, but in the second it was the Fede we have all come to know and love. Crunching tackles, lung-busting runs, precise passes, and immense ball carrying. The Uruguayan set-up Benzema’s second goal with an incredible individual run driving through the midfield and covering up to 40 yards.
Gareth Bale—6.5: Another positive performance from Gareth Bale. Increased the team’s shot volume with three (3) outside the box opportunities and combined well with Benzema and Valverde. It was Bale’s initial cross that started the play for Benzema’s opening goal.
Eden Hazard—7: 3 key passes and 2 completed dribbles — it was a solid 66 minutes from the Belgian. Did not really take any players on 1 v 1 or show his former dynamism, but it was subtle touches, quick deceiving passes, and of course back heel flicks that made the difference tonight.
Karim Benzema—9: King Karim is back, picking up right where he left off. The captain and leader of the team scored the first and third goal of the night. The Frenchman is starting the title charge and the Pichichi charge right from the word, “go”.
Vinicius JR—8: Electric after coming on from the bench. This may be the perfect role for the Brazilian, coming on late in the match vs tired legs and with the game more open. His speed in transition was lethal and he created two good opportunities: one for Rodyrgo and one for himself just before the end of the match. He would be rewarded for his good work after cheating in a cross from David Alaba to score his first goal of the season.
Rodrygo Goes—6: Played on the right wing and had about half the touches as his counterpart, Vinicius JR. When he did get on the ball he was clean and tidy, with 100% pass accuracy.
Luka Jovic—N/A: Played the last five minutes of the match.
Isco—N/A: Played the last five minutes of the match.
Marco Asensio— N/A: Played the last five minutes of the match.