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novak_djokovic Novak Djokovic Novak Djokovic
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roger_federer Roger Federer Roger Federer
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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Real Madrid: Player-by-player verdicts from Galatasaray win

Toni Kroos and Thibaut Courtois starred for Real Madrid as Los Blancos beat Galatasaray 1-0 in a must-win Champions League game on Tuesday.

Real Madrid: Player-by-player verdicts from Galatasaray win
GOKHAN KILICER AFP

Thibaut Courtois:

Finally, the Courtois the fans had been waiting for. He came to the rescue with three fine saves in the first half, most notably two to deny Florin Andone as Madrid struggled to settle defensively. The Belgian came away limping slightly after a mistimed challenge, but did what is expected of a Madrid goalkeeper: he made sure of the points. A morale-boosting night for him.

Dani Carvajal:

Jittery and sloppier than usual, Carvajal struggled to strike up an understanding with Rodrygo Goes on the right flank. An evening on which the Spaniard did not have his usual impact.

Sergio Ramos:

Led Real Madrid to victory at the Ali Sami Yen. He was sensible and strong in the challenge, and for the most part dealt with Andone, who is a real handful. When Ramos plays well and brings his leadership to bear on the game, the effect he has on the team is striking.

Raphael Varane:

A solid display from Raphael Varane, who ably assisted Ramos in dealing with Galatasaray's aerial balls in search of Ryan Babel and Steven Nzonzi. Rose to the task of what was a tough away assignment.

Marcelo:

In the first-choice XI in Istanbul after second-string duty at the weekend, Marcelo was the weak link in Madrid's backline. He remains sloppy defensively, and is not fully justifying his place in the line-up.

Casemiro:

Casemiro did what he could to cut out Galatasaray's play between the lines. He worked hard to block the Turks' lines of passing to Andone and Babel, and also offered aerial protection to the Madrid defence.

Toni Kroos:

Celebrated his 100th Champions League appearance with a goal that serves as a lifeline to under-pressure boss Zinedine Zidane. The German is back to his best, and looks in particularly good physical nick. That's great news for Madrid and their coach.

Goalscorer Kroos' return to top form is excellent news for Madrid.

Fede Valverde:

Runs, runs and runs a bit more. Valverde just doesn't tire. He is the lungs at the heart of the Madrid midfield and is growing more influential with each passing day. Alongside Casemiro, indeed, he is becoming a must-pick.

Eden Hazard:

Hazard continues to fall short of expectations. The Belgian remains goal-shy, and even failed to find an empty net in the second half, firing against the crossbar after rounding keeper Fernando Muslera. He showed some signs of despondency, and is a worry for Madrid.

Karim Benzema:

Madrid's director of operations in attack, Benzema produced a committed display in which he did everything except score. The Frenchman looks more and more at home as one of the team's leaders.

Rodrygo Goes:

Making his Champions League debut, Rodrygo gave a safety-first performance. He fulfilled his defensive duties so assiduously that it detracted from his attacking influence, but he can nevertheless be satisfied with a job well done. He has overtaken Vinicius Junior in the pecking order.

Substitutes:

Vinicius Junior:

Vinicius came on for Hazard in the 79th minute and was his usual hit-and-miss presence in attack. Imprecise, slightly overexcited and unable to take advantage of the few openings he got. Very much a work in progress for Zidane.

James Rodríguez:

Introduced at the same time as Vinicius, James was tasked with helping Madrid to find a crucial second goal, but was unsuccessful in his mission.

Luka Jovic:

In the 10 minutes or so that he was on the field, Jovic was unable to contribute much. However, as Madrid sought to take the sting out of the game's closing moments with ball at feet, the striker did use his considerable frame to hold it up effectively.