At long last, Real Madrid returned to La Liga action following the World Cup break. Despite making a run to the Quarter finals of the World Cup, Eder Militao and Vinicius Junior both started but the center back was a late scratch due to injury. Karim Benzema is back to full fitness and also earned a starting nod.
It was a long hard fought battle, but Ancelotti’s men managed to eek out a result away at Valladolid. Full match player ratings below:
Thibaut Courtois—9: Without the Belgian, Real Madrid may have lost or drawn the match. Courtois came up with two massive saves: one from a Sergio Leon header off a Valladolid corner kick and the other from a long distance Aguado shot.
Dani Carvajal—4.5: Aside from an important slide tackle to deny a shot, Carvajal’s performance was subdued. Looked labored getting into the attack and gave away a lazy foul, which resulted in a dangerous free kick for Valladolid just outside the Madrid box.
Toni Rudiger—8: Defended like a monster against Sergio Leon, who tried to match him physically but failed. It was Rudiger’s header that deflected off of Javi Sanchez’s hand to earn the penalty late in the game.
David Alaba—7: Played a typical Alaba game, solid defensively and important building out of the back and pushing forward to provide overloads in midfield or on the left wing. Ivan Sanchez and Sergio Leon rarely provided a threat against the Austrian, Did have a needless tackle on the box against Sergio Leon, which fortunately was not called for a penalty kick.
Ferland Mendy—6.5: Had a few one-two combinations that were encouraging on the offensive front. Kept Ivan Sanchez quiet and finished the game with 3 completed tackles.
Toni Kroos—6: Phenomenal in possession and was the go-to-guy for the team when trying to find an opening in the Valladolid defense. Defensively struggled in transition as he was asked to play in the anchor role.
Dani Ceballos—6: A better first half than second half. Many of his flicks and deft touches came off in the first half, and he was one of the midfielders making late arriving runs into the box. Set Marco Asensio up with a red-carpet pass across the six yard box, but the Mallorcan failed to convert.
Fede Valverde—5.5: Started in the center of midfield, but often interchanged with Marco Asensio on the right. Never got into this match and too often passed the baton to Toni Kroos to try and find an opening.
Marco Asensio—6: Like Ceballos, was better in the first half than the second half. Tried to find an opening with back heels in the box and in-swinging crosses, but nothing materialized. Missed a great opportunity early in the first half after Ceballos played a ball across the six yard box, looking for a one touch finish that Valladolid denied.
Vinicius Junior—7: What a battle between Vini and Fresnada. The Valladolid full back did as good job as any La Liga player defending the Brazilian this season, but that does not mean he won’t have chances or still create opportunities. It was Vini’s caressed shot that Masip could only parry and fell to Benzema who blasted his shot over the goal from six yards out. It was also Vini who created something out of nothing just mere seconds after Thibaut Courtois’ incredible save in the 67th minute, but the Brazilian chip went well over the goal.
Karim Benzema—6: Scored two goals, but probably should have had four in total. Missed a .54 xG opportunity in the 16th minute and the rust was still there — seemed a step slow on certain combination plays.
Lucas Vazquez—7: Was an upgrade over Carvajal in this match and acted more as a right winger rather than a fullback, allowing Rodrygo to drift centrally.
Eduardo Camavinga—8.5: Another fantastic super-sub performance. Drove the team forward with his on ball carries and managed an assist late in the game for Benzema.
Rodrygo—6.5: Popped up in central channels, looking to combine as often as possible. Had a well timed flick to Benzema off a Valverde driven ball, but the Frenchman was late to react.
Luka Modric—N/A: Entered in the 88th minute for Vinicius Junior. Missed a good opportunity late in the game with a ball cutback to him near the penalty spot in the box.
Tchouameni—N/A: Entered in the 87th minute for Fede Valverde.