Real Madrid and AC Milan travelled to Austria for a preseason friendly in front of 30,000 fans at the Worthersee Stadium. Carlo Ancelotti welcomed back internationals like Luka Modric, Casemiro, Eder Militao, Vinicius JR, Gareth Bale, Thibaut Courtois, and David Alaba. Not only was it a chance for Real Madrid fans to see some fresh faces, but it was an opportunity for Brahim Diaz, on loan at AC Milan, to face his parent club. Ancelotti unsurprisingly opted for a 4-3-3 formation. Perhaps the surprise came with the personnel as Marcelo, Isco and Bale all earned starting births. The latter two names, Isco and Bale, were among the best performers on the day. The Welshman would miss a penalty, but it was his first touch and powerful run that earned the spot kick. Ultimately, the match would end scoreless but the first half brought plenty of entertainment. Full match player ratings below:
Thibaut Courtois—7: Despite a few dangerous opportunities for AC Milan early in the match, including a Theo Hernandez shot off the post, Courtois faced 0 shots on target from Milan. Came off his line well to intercept crosses, which earned applause from David Alaba.
Lucas Vazquez—6: Played at right back with Carvajal in his final recovery phase and Odriozola out with COVID. Struggled with the pace and ability of Rafael Leao when isolated 1 v 1 on the wing, but astutely used tactical fouls to slow the Portuguese down in transition. Utilized the underlap to great effect, often providing a passing option for a teammate under pressure.
Nacho—7: Played at right center back alongside David Alaba to his left. Composed in possession and strong in the tackle. Showed incredible recovery speed to track down a free running Davide Calabria and then produced a well-timed slide tackle, winning the ball with his heel.
David Alaba—8.5: What a debut — the Austrian showed no nerves and was the leader of the backline from the first minute. Played with an intensity that few others matched. Began the game with a last minute toe-poke to deny an AC Milan goal-scoring opportunity which also spared Marcelo’s blushes. Will without a doubt be one of the first name’s on Carlo Ancelotti’s team sheet.
Marcelo—5: A few sloppy passes between he and Rodrygo to start the match, but gradually the left back grew into the game.
Casemiro—6.5: The defensive midfielder managed well under AC Milan’s press with quick one touch passes or a switch of play to relieve the team. Will be interesting to see how Ancelotti uses the Brazilian when Real Madrid are building out from the back against low block defensive teams.
Luka Modric—7: The class that the Croatian exudes at nearly 36-years-old is a sight to behold with each passing game.
Isco—7.5: Played the most minutes of any midfielder, coming off around the 80th minute, and worked tirelessly all game long. The former Malaga man has come back in his best shape for years. Early signs point to Isco being an important player again under Carlo Ancelotti. Isco, Bale, and Alaba were the stand out performers vs AC Milan.
Rodrygo—6.5: Another start on the left wing, Rodrygo was a nuisance for Davide Calabria to deal with down the wing. The Brazilian constantly went at the Italian right back, sometimes to great success and other times getting caught on the ball. Had one poor touch with Real Madrid on a counter attack; had he brought the ball down or played an accurate first time pass — one of Bale, Isco, or Jovic would have been through on goal.
Gareth Bale—7: It was a fun battle watching Theo and Bale duel. The Welshman showed shades of his former self and was slipped through by Luka Jovic on a 1 v 1 with AC Milan goalkeeper, Mike Maignan. The French GK brought Bale down and a penalty kick was rewarded. Bale stepped up to the spot kick, but it was a penalty to forget — hit far too weak.
Luka Jovic—6.5: A far more encouraging performance from the Serbian. Produced some good skill in tight spaces, switched the field of play as a pivot for Real Madrid to play off of, and cut off passing lanes to Sandro Tonali in the AC Milan midfield. His best moment came near the end of the half when his playmaking skills were showcased. Jovic turned Romangoli and slipped a threaded through ball to Gareth Bale on the run who was taken down by Mike Maignan for the penalty.
Antonio Blanco—6: Replaced Casemiro after the first half and slotted in without any problems. Keeps it simple and midfield with quick short passes to the more creative players in front of him. Tracks midfield runs well and closes down angles with a tactical intelligence beyond his years.
Miguel Gutierrez—6: Made an immediate impact down the left with Vinicius JR. Faked out two opponents with one play and brought positive energy down the flank. Did dribble into trouble for the second match running, leading to a near-goal moment from Brahim Diaz. Later in the match played as an interior central midfielder and showcased a lovely first touch in central areas. Was not phased by the change in position.
Vinicius JR—5.5: Showed some breathe-taking speed to reach a pass that he had no right connecting with, but failed to really leave his mark in a lackluster second half.
Eder Militao—6: Had a few wayward passes playing out of the back while under pressure, but for the most part had little defensive action besides mopping up a few counter attacks.
Mariano—4: Ran and ran, the work ethic and drive are never in question with Mariano, but failed to link up well with his teammates or create any dangerous opportunities.
Martin Odegaard—4: Poor performance from a player that needs to make every minute count.
Sergio Arribas—5.5: Would like to have seen him get on the ball more, but as always looked a efficient technician when on the ball. At his best when moving between the lines and weaving through players in transition.
Marvin Park—4.5: Looked uncomfortable at right back whenever pressured. Put Militao in some tough spots with lobbed back passes.
Victor Chust—N/A: Came on for the last few minutes of the match.