All eyes were on Carlo Ancelotti’s starting XI and which player would replace Karim Benzema ahead of the first league Clasico against Xavi’s in-form Barcelona side. Fede Valverde slotted in on the right wing and Rodrygo Goes was the man chosen to replace Benzema as a number nine. It was a make-shift line-up with the intent to press high, but it failed on every level. Real Madrid packed the midfield with numerical superiority, but always looked a man short, they were toothless in the attack, and Xavi’s men ran riot at the Bernabeu. It was a humiliating defeat for Los Blancos with nearly every player in a black shirt having an off night. Full match player ratings below:
✅ Our #ElClásico starting XI is here! pic.twitter.com/64xKP3IYfN— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) March 20, 2022
Thibaut Courtois—8.5: One of the few salvageable players from the loss. Came up big with more than one goal-denying save in this match. Without Thibaut, this game could have seen 6 or 7 goals, all for Barca. The Belgian made 6 saves, all from shots that came within his own 18 yard box.
Dani Carvajal—1: It has been a sad and rapid decline for Dani Carvajal. The academy graduate has not been at the level required to be a starting right back for Real Madrid and his struggles were showcased again tonight with Ferran Torres and Pedri playing with ease down Madrid’s right.
Eder Militao—1: The Brazilian’s worst performance in a Real Madrid shirt. Played erratic and out of control. Aubameyang beat him to the ball on Barcelona’s first goal and the Brazilian was then beaten to the ball by Araujo on the second goal via a corner kick. By the end of the match, he had looked like he had given up — not the attitude or application expected of a Real Madrid player.
David Alaba—3: Played a part in both of the first two goals conceded. Strangely, Militao and Alaba both opted to try reach Dembele’s cross with their foot rather than their head. The Austrian played better in the second half as a left back, managing 1 key pass and an actual shot on target for Madrid.
Nacho—1: A night to forget for the stand in captain. Dembele burned the make-shift fullback on the opening goal and had his way with the defender for most of the evening. Nacho offered virtually nothing in the attack, instead played the ball out of bounds on more than one occasion.
Casemiro—4: Struggled with the movement of Barcelona’s midfield and was consistently dragged out of position by De Jong. Still managed a few strong tackles and ended the match with 2 key passes — more to note than many of his teammates.
Toni Kroos—2: Replaced at halftime after contributing very little to this match. Madrid’s lackluster press left Kroos and the other midfielders on different wave lengths with huge holes for Barcelona to exploit.
Luka Modric—3: Asked to play as false nine in the first half and totally wasted all of Modric’s talents. Was running around trying to press Barcelona, but it was a feeble attempt given his teammates failed to press as a unit.
Fede Valverde—5: Ancelotti had the Uruguayan man-marking Pedri for large stretches of the match, but the man-marking role took the midfield out of shape and gave Barcelona opportunities to take advantage of the open space between the lines. Worked hard and managed 3 completed dribbles alongside his 4 of 5 ground duels won. Alongside Courtois, was a salvageable performance.
Vinicius Junior—2: Was bested by Araujo, who could match him for pace. Dribbled, but often dribbled into pressure. Had the moment to bring Madrid back into the match, but instead of keeping his composure opted for the theatricals and dove before being touched by Ter Stegen. The angles at which the Brazilian pressed made the press useless as Barcelona players still had every channel open to play a pass — as evidenced by the build up to the third goal where Ter Stegen easily plays the ball back to Araujo.
Rodrygo—2: Played over an hour but only had 8 passes and 24 touches, less than Thibaut Courtois.
Eduardo Camavinga—5: Came on to try and change the tide of the match at half-time, but instead things only got worse as Carlo opted for another experimental formation. Camavinga gradually got on the ball and started to push things forward near the end of the match, but Barcelona had already begun to take their foot off the pedal.
Mariano Diaz—4: Ran hard, as he always does, but the highest level requires more than just effort.
Lucas Vazquez—3: Let Ferran Torres slip through mere seconds after coming on the pitch. Clattered Gavi after being beaten by the 17-year-old by just one touch.
Marco Asensio—4: Managed one nice touch to draw a foul from Dani Alves, but otherwise saw little of the ball and made little impact. Had one driving run with the ball at his feet, but dribbled into a crowd of Barcelona players a sparked a transition attack for the visitors.