Nacho challenges Ramos for a starting berth

Nacho quietly gains ground

It still isn’t clear just how good Nacho is, and we’re yet to fully grasp it despite the fact he’s already 26. However, it's hard to recall too many mistakes, despite the one he made yesterday that could have cost his team dearly. Nacho plays where he is asked to play and is rarely below par. Against Sporting Gijón he started on the left and afforded his team width, defensive solidity and sent in a peach of a cross with his left peg which curled beautifully onto Ronaldo’s head for Madrid’s second.

Pushing for a place

The Portuguese striker admitted that he owed much of that goal to Nacho and the Spaniard is no longer just there to make up the numbers; he is now staking his claim for a starting place and Sergio Ramos currently has a fight on his hands. Despite his slip – positioned in the centre alongside Pepe to make way for Marcelo, he mistimed his tack to concede the penalty that Cop subsequently missed – Nacho is one of those unsung heroes who is becoming a key member of the Madrid squad.