Real Madrid player ratings in 4-0 Man City defeat: Courtois, Modric, Benzema...
Real Madrid had Thibaut Courtois to thank that they didn’t suffer a heavier thrashing in Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final at the Etihad Stadium.
Courtois was by some distance Real Madrid’s best player at the Etihad Stadium. Before Bernardo Silva gave Manchester City the lead midway through the first half, the goalkeeper kept out two Erling Haaland chances that looked certain to find the back of the net. The Belgian was helpless to prevent City’s first two goals.
Carvajal was given a torrid evening by Jack Grealish, who had the beating of the right-back in the first half in particular. Booked after the break for a foul on Grealish, the Spaniard was unrecognisable from the player we’ve seen perform so well over the past couple of months. He contributed next to nothing going forward.
After Antonio Rüdiger’s successful man-marking job on Haaland in the first leg, Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti sprang a surprise by restoring Militão to the line-up at the German’s expense. The Brazilian brought the ball out well and his aerial game was good, but he was to blame for City’s third: in his efforts to clear Kevin de Bruyne’s cross, he diverted the ball into his own goal.
Threw himself in front of the ball to block a first-half Manuel Akanji shot that looked net-bound. The Austrian was quick into the tackle as he did his best to cut out City attacks in central areas. He came close to scoring with a long-range free-kick, but goalkeeper Ederson Moraes produced a fine save to tip his dipping effort over the bar.
Camavinga wasn’t 100% fit, and it showed. Bernardo Silva quickly became aware that the Frenchman wasn’t firing on all cylinders, and ran the left-back ragged. With Rodri pressing Madrid’s midfielders so effectively, Camavinga tried to help Los Blancos bring the ball out, but he was guilty of losses of possession that could have led to City goals. Booked in the 75th minute.
Madrid looked to Valverde to knit the visiting midfield together, by helping Toni Kroos with the build-up play and, at the same time, trying to keep De Bruyne in check. It was a tall order for the Uruguayan and, like his midfield colleagues, he was simply blown away from the get-go.
Kroos came closest to scoring for Madrid, walloping a drive against the crossbar 10 minutes before half time. That would have been the equaliser. Given the asphyxiating off-the-ball pressure exerted by City, Kroos found himself pushed very deep. He spent the evening trying to drag his team further forward, before being replaced by Marco Asensio.
Modric was the first Madrid player taken off, making way for Rüdiger just after the hour mark. City overwhelmed the Croat throughout. He tried to breathe life into the midfield when Madrid finally got a look-in on the ball around half an hour in, but gave away possession time and time again.
Rodrygo ran himself into the ground at the Etihad, but to little effect. One fine through ball almost released Karim Benzema in behind the City defence, but the Frenchman could not latch on to the pass quickly enough. Such was the hosts’ dominance that, at times, the Brazilian found himself playing as an extra central midfielder to try to stem the tide.
Still bothered by an ankle issue that has dogged him since September, Benzema was anonymous. The 35-year-old scarcely contributed a thing to Los Merengues’ attack. Despite that, Ancelotti did not replace the striker.
Vinícius had Madrid’s first moment of danger, half an hour in, but was outpaced by City defender Kyle Walker. The winger gave Camavinga precious little assistance when it came to stopping Silva - and Madrid felt his unwillingness to track back all too keenly. Of Madrid’s players, it was Vinícius who showed the most attacking persistence. It was also the Brazilian who gave the ball away in the lead-up to City’s fourth goal…
Rüdiger’s introduction after 62 minutes brought with it a tactical change: Alaba moved to left-back, with Camavinga pushing forward into the midfield. That gave the away side’s game a little more dynamism. The German was tasked with marking Haaland from the moment he came on.
Asensio came on for Kroos with 20 minutes to go in Manchester.
Ceballos was one of three substitutions made by Ancelotti with 10 minutes remaining. He attempted to give Madrid greater control and, as always, played with the opposition danger area firmly in his sights.
Introduced in place of Camavinga, Tchouaméni was insipid.
Vázquez came on for Carvajal, as Madrid’s starting right-back was on a yellow card.