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Three stats from Real Madrid 4-2 Almería

Benzema’s goals, Ceballos’ steel and Vini’s anger

Real Madrid CF v UD Almeria - LaLiga Santander Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images

Real Madrid recorded their second 4-2 in a week as this time they ran out the victors, bouncing back from defeat at Girona by overcoming Almería in a comfortable evening at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.

A rapid hat-trick from Karim Benzema in the first half meant that the result was almost already settled before Lázaro Vinicius pulled one back on the stroke of half-time. In the second half, Rodrygo Goes made it four and Lucas Robertson gave Almería a slither of hope which amounted to nothing.

Here are three stats which help us to understand the game.

236: LaLiga goals for Karim Benzema, putting him 4th in the all-time ranking

Karim Benzema continues to set records and extend his legacy at Real Madrid, and this time he closed even further in on the podium of LaLiga’s best ever goalscorers. With his first goal, he levelled with Hugo Sánchez as LaLiga’s fourth-highest ever goalscorer on 234 goals, and only 12 minutes later he was ahead and stood alone in fourth place.

The next target is Telmo Zarra, who is only 17 goals ahead of him on 253, and is the highest ranking Spaniard in the list. Beyond him are some seemingly unattainable targets, Cristiano Ronaldo on 311, and Lionel Messi on 417. 17 goals seems a reasonable target for a man who took his tally for this season in LaLiga to 17 with this hat-trick.

Additionally, four of his last six goals have now all been assisted by Brazilians, three by Vinícius Júnior and one by Rodrygo Goes, with two penalties, since Luka Modrić assisted his previous strike before that against Barcelona at Camp Nou in the Copa del Rey semi-final.

Benzema has been in impressive form of late and nobody has scored more than his six goals in five LaLiga games since the March international break, with two hat-tricks against Valladolid and Almería, both coming at the Bernabéu.

10: Duels won by Dani Ceballos

This was a complete display and all of the Real Madrid midfield performed well in their audition for a place in the line-up against Osasuna in next weekend’s Copa del Rey final with Luka Modrić ruled out by injury. The pick of the bunch was Dani Ceballos, who produced a rounded performance.

Ceballos won 10 duels, completing eight recoveries of possession and winning two tackles, and Almería found it difficult to get past him. That led to more of Almería’s attacking play looking to go down the left where Toni Kroos sat deeper and did not rob possession in such a high position so as to pose as much risk.

Offensively, he also registered more completed dribbles than anybody else with four, and more fouls won than any other player, again with four. Linking up well with Benzema and Rodrygo, he also got in on the act himself from deep as he registered two shots from outside the box, both of which ended up on target.

He was calm, composed and tidy in possession, with 93% completion rate of his passing. That included 12 passes into the final third and three long balls, showing the importance of his influence of developing play and progressing Real Madrid into the offensive third. He took that role by the reigns.

Real Madrid CF v UD Almeria - LaLiga Santander Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

6: Of Vinícius’ 10 yellow cards this season have been for dissent

Vinícius Júnior collected his 10th yellow card of the season in LaLiga after 37 minutes against Almería, meaning he will now serve a suspension and miss the game against Real Sociedad on Tuesday night. As he went off with a few minutes to spare, the rest could do the winger some good to have a full week to prepare for the Copa del Rey final against Osasuna next weekend.

However, it was unsurprisingly another needless booking as Guillermo Cuadra Fernández showed the Brazilian a yellow card for dissent. Houboulang Mendes pulled him back as he ran past, with the referee awarding a free-kick, but Vini lost his cool claiming that the Almería man should be shown a booking. It was his sixth yellow card of the campaign for dissent, with only four shown for fouls he committed.

Before this season, Vinícius had only been shown 13 yellow cards in 6,885 minutes, averaging one every 530 minutes, compared to his 2022/23 stats in LaLiga of 10 cards in 2,624 minutes, one every 262 minutes, more than twice as frequently. It’s a stark change which has been reflected in his on-field behaviour.

The change in his discipline should be a concern for Real Madrid given his importance to the team. Ancelotti has selected him for virtually every available minute this season, resting him as little as possible, and he could have missed a crucial fixture. With a substantial points difference with Barcelona, the title may have been long forgotten about and Vini’s absence in San Sebastián may not matter, but next season could be different.

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