Real Madrid player ratings in Clásico against Barcelona
Benzema opens the scoring with a sexy flick. Vinicius causes Barça problems with his pace but disappoints with the final ball. Modric and Kroos dominate.
In what felt like a must-win for Real Madrid going into the game, Zinedine Zidane’s men delivered. A 2-1 victory over bitter rivals Barcelona and a place, possibly for less than 24-hours, at the summit of LaLiga. Here’s how we saw the individual performances.
Real Madrid player ratings vs Barcelona
Courtois: started the game by parrying an excellent firm cross from Alba on the left, Barcelona's main threat for much of the game. Just before the break, he was almost embarrassed by a Messi corner that nearly snuck in at the far post, and then he was lucky to get to a close range Barça shot that was disallowed for handball by the Argentinian. The big Belgian could do little to stop Mingueza's goal that brought Barça back into the match and he can count himself very lucky that Ilaix’s last gasp effort came back off the crossbar.
Real Madrid news:
Lucas Vázquez: instrumental in the opening goal, firing across the ball for Benzema to tuck home, the makeshift full-back was unlucky to be badly injured in the 43rd minute following a heavy challenge with Busquets. We’ll find out over the coming hours if he will be able to travel to Liverpool for the Champions League second leg on Wednesday. Generally he dealt well with the attacking runs from Alba but was caught out on a few occasions.
Militao: a very good first half showing from the Brazilian, closing down Dembelé and Messi's attempts to cut inside. He could have done better for Barcelona's goal, buying Griezmann's step over at the front post. He struggled more in the second half, as did many of those in white.
Nacho: like Militao, he was better in the first half, and under the lashing rain looked somewhat more vulnerable in the second half after Barcelona reduced the deficit and pressed for the equaliser. He’ll miss the next game against Getafe after a booking.
Mendy: was very good at closing down Dembelé on his flank in the first half, with the winger not being allowed to make his presence known. He offered much less in an attacking sense. When Marcelo was introduce he became the third central defender and Madrid contained Barcelona better.
Valverde: he was very important in Madrid's first goal, breaking the lines with his run inside to then set up Lucas for the assist. His deployment in midfield, and his constant cover on the right flank to stop Alba causing too many problems, was the foundation from which Madrid built an almost perfect first half. He went off in the 60th minute, making way for Asensio.
Casemiro: omnipresent in front of Madrid’s defensive unit when Barcelona brought the ball forward, allowing them possession but reducing space and therefore the danger. A second yellow late on saw him sent off and a nervy end for his remaining teammates. Along with Nacho, he’ll not be available for the game at Getafe.
Kroos: it was a great first half for the German, in which he showed that he doesn't need to have a lot of the ball to impress. Instead he made the most of what chances he did have to launch Madrid's counter-attacks. He also took the set-piece that doubled Los Blancos’ lead, with a couple of fortunate deflections off Dest and Alba. Made way in the 72th minute for Isco.
Modric: probably Madrid's best midfielder and the one whose legs lasted the longest in a second half, as the efforts against Liverpool showed. He created chances for Benzema and Vinicius on numerous occasions, and he worked superbly in the spaces left by Barcelona's early pressure. He had a tougher time in the second half, but still did enough to hurt the opposition when he could.
Benzema: a sublime opening goal as he flicked Lucas' low cross past Ter Stegen, and had a few impressive runs that threatened Barcelona’s backline. He likely would’ve had more goals to his name had attacking partner Vinicius done better with the final passes, but again showed his class and work-rate across the 72 minutes that he played, before Mariano’s fresh legs were brought on.
Vinicius: his pace was a constant danger for Barcelona on the counter-attack, and he drew useful fouls from Mingueza and Araújo. The first saw Benzema's direct free-kick go over but the second provided Kroos with the deflected goal. Possibly feeling the recent effort, and the sodden pitch, in his legs, he chose some poor final passes in the second half before being replaced with 20 minutes to go. Anfield likely on Zidane’s mind.